Submitted to IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, 1998.
This paper addresses the problem of grasping and manipulating a polygonal object with three disc-shaped robots capable of translating in arbitrary directions in the plane. The main novelty of the proposed approach is that it does not assume that contact is maintained during the execution of the grasping/manipulation task. Nor does it rely on detailed (and a priori unverifiable) models of friction or contact dynamics. Instead, the range of possible object motions for a given position of the robots is characterized in configuration space. This allows the construction of manipulation plans guaranteed to succeed under the weaker assumption that jamming does not occur during the task execution.