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Hardcover | $35.00 Short | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262013895 | 216 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 156 b&w illus., 2 tables| March 2010

"“University Presses in Space” showcases a special sampling of the many works that university presses have published about space and space exploration."

Essential Info

The Configuration Space Method for Kinematic Design of Mechanisms


This book presents the configuration space method for computer-aided design of mechanisms with changing part contacts. Configuration space is a complete and compact geometric representation of part motions and part interactions that supports the core mechanism design tasks of analysis, synthesis, and tolerancing. It is the first general algorithmic treatment of the kinematics of higher pairs with changing contacts. It will help designers detect and correct design flaws and unexpected kinematic behaviors, as demonstrated in the book's four case studies taken from industry.

After presenting the configuration space framework and algorithms for mechanism kinematics, the authors describe algorithms for kinematic analysis, tolerancing, and synthesis based on configuration spaces. The case studies follow, illustrating the application of the configuration space method to the analysis and design of automotive, micro-mechanical, and optical mechanisms. Appendixes offer a catalog of higher-pair mechanisms and a description of HIPAIR, an open source C++ mechanical design system that implements some of the configuration space methods described in the book, including configuration space visualization and kinematic simulation. HIPAIR comes with an interactive graphical user interface and many sample mechanism input files.

The Configuration Space Method for Kinematic Design of Mechanisms will be a valuable resource for students, researchers, and engineers in mechanical engineering, computer science, and robotics.

About the Authors

Elisha Sacks is Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University.

Leo Joskowicz is Professor at the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


"This monograph explains, in lucid terms and for the first time, kinematic design for higher-pair mechanisms. Such mechanisms abound, yet they are not amenable to the classical kinematic approach that does so well with lower-pair mechanisms. Where the Sacks-Joskowicz approach excels, in particular, is in tolerance analysis. Of particular value are the appendixes, which present an extensive catalogue of higher-pair mechanisms and explain how to use the authors' analysis and design software, bringing this unique technology within reach of the reader."
Christoph M. Hoffmann, Computer Science Department, Purdue University

"The elegance of configuration space is well known, especially in path planning problems. Amazingly, configuration space is also an effective technique for the analysis and design of kinematic mechanisms. It was Sacks and Joskowicz who developed the technique, and their book is essential for anyone interested in either the methods or the applications."
Matthew T. Mason, Director, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

"This innovative book lays an excellent foundation for applying configuration space techniques to mechanical devices. The authors' innovative approach brings the mathematics of robotic path planning to the challenge of mechanism design and analysis, including the important issues of tolerances in shape and assembly. An excellent introduction for beginners and experienced researchers alike."
J. Michael McCarthy, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine