Nonholonomic haptic display

Ed Colgate*, Michael Peshkin, Witaya Wannasuphoprasit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Conventional approaches to haptic interface rely on high gain servos to implement virtual constraints. The role of the servo is to reduce the apparent degrees of freedom in such a way as to effectively constrain a human operator's motion. A significant drawback of this approach, however, is that the operator must interact directly with a high power system that is not inherently passive, and which may become unstable. In this paper, we present a novel approach to haptic display which allows virtual constraints to be implemented in a manner that is completely passive and therefore intrinsically safe. The key idea is to begin with a device having zero or one degree of freedom, and to use feedback control to increase the apparent degrees of freedom as necessary. This becomes possible with the use of nonholonomic joints, which have fewer degrees of freedom than generalized coordinates. The design and feedback control of several 'programmable constraint machines' (PCMs) of this type are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-544
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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