RESEARCH PAPERS: Mechanisms Papers

The Stewart Platform of General Geometry Has 40 Configurations

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Raghavan

Power Systems Research Department, General Motors Research Laboratories, 30500 Mound Road, Warren, MI 48090–9055

J. Mech. Des 115(2), 277-282 (Jun 01, 1993) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2919188 History: Received May 01, 1991; Online June 02, 2008


The Stewart platform is a six-degree-of-freedom, in-parallel linkage. It is used in automotive and flight simulators, positioning tables for assembly and robotic applications, and various other applications requiring linkages with high structural stiffness. It consists of a base link, a coupler link, and six adjustable-length legs supporting the coupler link. Each leg consists of a prismatic joint with ball-joint connections to the base and coupler, respectively. The forward kinematics problem for the Stewart platform may be stated as follows: given the values of the six prismatic joint displacement inputs to the linkage, compute the position and orientation of the coupler link. This problem may be set up as a system of nonlinear multivariate polynomial equations. We solve this problem using a numerical technique known as polynomial continuation. We show that for Stewart platforms of general geometry (i.e., platforms in which the linkage parameters are arbitrary complex numbers) this problem has 40 distinct solutions.

Copyright © 1993 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Geometry
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