Motion guides for assisted manipulation

Kevin M. Lynch*, Caizhen Liu, Allan Sørensen, Songho Kim, Michael Peshkin, J. Edward Colgate, Tanya Tickel, David Hannon, Kerry Shiels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This paper explores the use of passive guides to assist a human in manipulating heavy loads. A guide acts as a frictionless rail which confines the load to a one-dimensional curve in its configuration space. In this paper we formulate the problem of designing guides to effectively assist the human, and we apply the formulation to two types of materials handling tasks: pushing a heavy cart and single-arm reaching motions. Guides may be implemented by fixed rails or programmable constraint machines. Initial experiments with humans suggest the potential benefits of guided manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-43
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002


  • Constrained motor control
  • Ergonomics
  • Human-robot cooperation
  • Optimal motion guides
  • Programmable constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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