The Motion of a Pushed, Sliding Workpiece

Michael A. Peshkin*, Arthur C. Sanderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


It occurs frequently in robotic applications that a robot manipulates a workpiece which is free to slide on a work surface. Because the pressure distribution supporting the workpiece on the work surface cannot in general be known, the motion of the workpiece cannot be calculated uniquely. Yet despite this indeterminacy, several researchers have shown that sliding motions can be employed to accurately align workpieces without visual or other feedback. Here we find the locus of centers of rotation of a workpiece for all possible pressure distributions. The results allow a quantitative understanding of open-loop robot motions which guarantee the alignment of a workpiece. Several sample problems are solved using the results, including the distance that a flat “fence” or robot finger must push a polygonal workpiece to assure that a facet of the workpiece comes into alignment with the fence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-598
Number of pages30
JournalIEEE Journal on Robotics and Automation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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