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Finding the Shoulder and Elbow Angles

Next the shoulder and elbow angles must be computed. These are computed from the perspective looking at the forearm plane along the shoulder axis. This is illustrated in Figure 4.


:  Idealized Robot Arm Viewed From the Side

In this figure, the length of the RoboArm ``upper'' arm is and the length of the forearm is . Consider two circles, one of radius around the origin and one of radius around the point . The equations for these two circles are

Solving for u

and multiplying out

Now substituting for u in gives an equation only in v. Choosing the positive square root in substituting for u identifies the point on of height v in the right half of the plane and the negative choice in the left half of the plane. While the actual solution could be either, the value of v will be the same regardless. This substitution gives

A little algebra yields

where , which can be solved by the quadratic formula. The positive square root is always chosen in solving the quadratic formula for v, because choosing the lower height may lead to a negative height for the elbow (this does not make sense physically) and because there is more downward movement than upward on the elbow.

Now that the vertical position of the elbow is established, the angles at which the shoulder and elbow need to be set can be found. Using the same reasoning as for in the previous subsection,

Note that u may be positive or negative, which would be consistent with being positive or negative. One of the easiest ways to decide which is to determine if the distance between and is equal to with u positive. If it is then u must be positive, if not it must be negative and so must .

The angle between the forearm and the horizontal is given by

But on the RoboArm, the elbow angle is specified with respect to a plane perpendicular to the upper arm. So adjusting to get the actual elbow angle

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Brian L. Stuart