Robots and screw theory: Applications of kinematics and statics to robotics. (English) Zbl 1070.68138

New York, NY: Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-856245-4/hbk). xvii, 458 p. (2004).
With this book the authors want to show that screw theory, as taught and used in mechanical engineering, is also a useful tool for solving kinematic problems in robotics. Indeed, screw theory belongs to the blossoming areas of robot kinematics. It is based on an observation by Chasles that any motion on a rigid body can be expressed as a rotation around a line together with a translation along this line. This view leads to relatively simple descriptions of motions, thus helping to solve the inverse kinematic problem: given start and target positions of a robot arm, how can its joints be moved to perform the desired motion (disregarding possible collisions with the environment)?
In order to prove their point, the authors have carefully analyzed numerous real robot devices, and computed the kinematic solutions. This work, and a wealth of 300 solved exercises, belong to the main merits of the book. It is certainly of great value to students of mechanical engineering. Readers with a background in computer science or mathematics will find a language different from their own, and probably miss a certain precision in the presentation. Important concepts are introduced by applying them, rather than by strict definition. Groups of motions are never mentioned. Still, the book can be a valuable reference for people working in robotics.
Reviewer: Rolf Klein (Bonn)


68T40 Artificial intelligence for robotics
68-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to computer science
70B15 Kinematics of mechanisms and robots
70C20 Statics