The Jacobian

# Introduction

Forward kinematic equations are functions used to relate joint variables to end-effector positions and orientations with respect to a fixed coordinate system. The Jacobian matrix linearly relates joint velocities to end-effector velocities and can be useful in several aspects of robotics: planning and execution of smooth paths, determination of singular configurations, derivation of dynamic equations of motion, and transformation of forces and torques from the end effector to the manipulator joints.

# Jacobian Derivation

The relationship between the end-effector velocities and joint velocities can be described with a linear equation:

(1)
\begin{align} $\xi = J\dot q$ \end{align}

Where, $\xi$ is the body velocity vector; $\dot q$ is the joint velocity vector; and $J$ is the Jacobian matrix. For an n-link serial manipulator, the following expressions apply:

(2)
\begin{align} $\nu_{n}^{0} = J_{\nu}\dot q$ \end{align}
(3)
\begin{align} $\omega_{n}^{0} = J_{\omega}\dot q$ \end{align}

Where, $\nu_{n}^{0}$ is the linear velocity of the end effector, and $\omega_{n}^{0}$ is the angular velocity of the end effector. By separating the Jacobian matrix, and body velocity vector, $\xi$ and $J$ are now defined as:

(4)
\begin{align} \xi = \left[ \begin{array}{c}\nu_{n}^{0}\\\omega_{n}^{0}\end{array}\right] \end{align}

and

(5)
\begin{align} J = \left[ \begin{array}{c} J_{\nu}\\ J_{\omega}\end{array}\right] \end{align}

Now the $i^{th}$ column of the Jacobian will be derived for a prismatic and revolute joint. Note that the derivation is not detailed, but the end result will be very useful.

## Prismatic Joint

If the $i^{th}$ joint is a prismatic joint, the motion of frame $i$ relative to frame $i-1$ is in pure translation, therefore,

(6)
\begin{align} \omega_{i}^{i-1} = 0 \end{align}

This makes the $i^{th}$ column of $J_{\omega}$ equal to zero.

(7)
\begin{align} J_{\omega_i} = \left[ \begin{array}{ccc} 0 & 0 & 0 \end{array}\right]^{T} \end{align}

The linear velocity of the end effector ($\nu_{n}^{0}$) is defined as the time derivative of position with respect to a base frame ($\dot o_{n}^0$). Using the chain rule, it can be shown that:

(8)
\begin{align} \dot o_{n}^0 = \displaystyle\sum_{i=0}^n \frac{\partial o_{n}^0}{\partial q_{i}}\dot q_{i} \end{align}

From the previous equation, it can be concluded that:

(9)
\begin{align} J_{\omega_i} = \frac{\partial o_{n}^0}{\partial q_{i}} \end{align}

If the DH convention is followed, and the $i^{th}$ joint is prismatic, pure translation parallel to the $z_{i-1}$ axis with magnitude $d_i$ can occur. Thus, for a prismatic joint, the following holds true.

(10)
\begin{align} \dot o_{n}^0 = \dot d_{i}z_{i-1}^{0} = \dot q_{i} z_{i-1}^{0} \end{align}

Finally, if the $i^{th}$ joint is a prismatic, the following can be concluded:

(11)
\begin{align} J_{i} = \left[\begin{array}{c} z_{i-1} \\ 0 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

## Revolute Joint

If the $i^{th}$ joint is a revolute, the angular velocity of frame $i$ relative to frame $i-1$ can be defined as

(12)
\begin{align} \omega_{i}^{i-1} = \dot q_{i} z_{i-1} \end{align}

Therefore,

(13)
\begin{align} J_{\omega_i} = z_{i-1} \end{align}

The linear velocity of the end effector caused by angular rotation at joint $i$ can be described by

(14)
\begin{align} \nu_i = \omega_i \times r_i \end{align}

in which $r$ is the vector from the point of rotation to the end effector. Reffering to Figure 1,

(15)
$$r_i = o_{n} - o_{i-1}$$
(16)
\begin{align} \omega_i = \dot\theta_i z_{i-1} \end{align}

For joint $i$, it can now be concluded that

(17)
\begin{align} \nu_i = \dot\theta_i (z_{i-1} \times (o_{n} - o_{i-1})) \end{align}

and

(18)
\begin{align} J_{\nu_i} = z_{i-1} \times (o_{n} - o_{i-1}) \end{align}

Figure 1: Arbitrary $n$-link serial robot

Finally, for revolute joint $i$, equation 13 and 18 can be put into equation 5 to get

(19)
\begin{align} J_i = \left[ \begin{array}{c} z_{i-1} \times (o_{n} - o_{i-1}) \\ z_{i-1} \end{array} \right] \end{align}

## Total Jacobian

For a $n$-link serial manipulator, the Jacobian is the combination of $J_1$ to $J_n$ vectors as shown

(20)
\begin{align} J = \left[J_1 ... J_n \right] \end{align}

Where $J_i$ is defined in equations 11 and 19 according to joint type.

# Singularities

The Jacobian can be used to find singular configurations of a manipulator. When a manipulator is in singular configuration, certain directions of motion are unattainable, or a degree or degrees of freedom are lost. Knowing that the $6 \times n$ Jacobian defines a mapping between the joint velocity vector and the end-effector velocity vector (Equation 1), all possible end effector velocities are linear combinations of the columns of the Jacobian matrix.

(21)
\begin{align} \xi = J_{1}\dot q_{1} + J_{2}\dot q_{2} ... J_{n}\dot q_{n} \end{align}

In order for the end effector to achieve arbitrary velocity ($\xi \in \mathbb{R}^{6}$), the Jacobian must have 6 linearly independent columns (or rows); meaning, the rank of the Jacobian must equal 6. Note that rank $J \leq min(6,n)$, and for a 6 DOF serial robot, rank $J \leq 6$. Therefore, if the Jacobian of a 6 degree of freedom robot has a rank of less than 6, a degree or degrees of freedom are lost; this is a singular configuration.

## Decoupling of Singularities

The Jacobian matrix for a 6 DOF is square; therefore, if the determinant of the Jacobian is zero, the manipulator is in a singular configuration. Now, consider the case with 3-DOF arm and a 3-DOF spherical wrist. The Jacobian matrix of such a robot can be decoupled to find arm singularities and wrist singularities. The proof begins by partitioning the Jacobian into $3 \times 3$ blocks.

(22)
\begin{align} J = \left[\begin{array}{cc} J_P\ & J_O \end{array} \right] = \left[\begin{array}{cc} J_{11}& J_{12} \\ J_{21}& J_{22} \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Since the final three joints are always revolute

(23)
\begin{align} J_{12} = \left[ \begin{array}{ccc} z_{3} \times (o_{6} - o_{3}) & z_{4} \times (o_{6} - o_{4}) & z_{5} \times (o_{6} - o_{5}) \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Because the three wrist axes intersect at a common point, a common coordinate frame ($o$) can be chosen such that $o_3= o_4= o_5= o_6=o$. This means

(24)
\begin{align} J_{12} = 0_{3 \times 3} \end{align}

In this special case, the Jacobian matrix becomes:

(25)
\begin{align} J = \left[\begin{array}{cc} J_P\ & J_O \end{array} \right] = \left[\begin{array}{cc} J_{11}& 0 \\ J_{21}& J_{22} \end{array} \right] \end{align}

With determinate

(26)
$$det J = det J_{11} det J_{22}$$

Now, it can be concluded that robot is in a singular configuration if $det J_{11}= 0$ or $det J_{22}= 0$ . Through this decoupling process, arm singularities are found if $det J_{11}= 0$ and wrist singularities are found if $det J_{22}= 0$ .

# Inverse Velocity

Referring to Equation 1, the inverse velocity problem involves finding the joint velocities ($\dot q$) that produce a desired end-effector velocity ($\xi$). When the Jacobian is square and nonsingular, the inverse problem can be solved as follows:

(27)
\begin{align} \dot q = J^{-1}\xi \end{align}

The inverse velocity solution for a robot not having exactly 6 DOF involves a more complicated approach and will not be shown on this page.

# Example

In this example, it is assumed that the forward kinematic equations have been found. Refer to "Forward Kinematic Problem" for the derivation of the following equations.

(28)
\begin{align} T _{\rm 1}^{0} = \left[ { \begin{array}{cccc} c _{\rm 1} & 0 & s _{\rm 1} & 0\\ s _{\rm 1} & 0 & -c _{\rm 1} & 0\\ 0 & 1 & 0 & d _{\rm 1}\\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1\\ \end{array} } \right] \end{align}
(29)
\begin{align} T _{\rm 2}^{0}= \left[ { \begin{array}{cccc} c _{\rm 1} & 0 & s _{\rm 1} & s _{\rm 1} d _{\rm 2}\\ s _{\rm 1} & 0 & -c _{\rm 1} & -c _{\rm 1} d _{\rm 2}\\ 0 & 1 & 0 & d _{\rm 1}\\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1\\ \end{array} } \right] \end{align}
(30)
\begin{align} T _{\rm 3}^{0} = \left[ { \begin{array}{cccc} c _{\rm 1} c _{\rm 3} & -c _{\rm 1} s _{\rm 3} & s _{\rm 1} & s _{\rm 1} (d _{\rm 2} + d _{\rm 3})\\ s _{\rm 1} c _{\rm 3} & -s _{\rm 1} s _{\rm 3} & -c _{\rm 1} & -c _{\rm 1} (d _{\rm 2} + d _{\rm 3})\\ s _{\rm 3} & c _{\rm 3} & 0 & d _{\rm 1}\\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1\\ \end{array} } \right] \end{align}

Joint 1 is a revolute. Therefore, $J_1$ is defined by Equation 19. With $i=1$, $z_0$ is defined as the projection of the $z$ axis of frame 0 onto itself, and $o_0$ is the distance from the origin of frame 0 to origin of the base frame.

(31)
\begin{align} z_0 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0\\0\\1 \end{array} \right] \end{align}
(32)
\begin{align} o_0 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0\\0\\0 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

The distance from the base frame to the end effector ($o_n$) can be found in the last column of the transformation matrix $T_n^0$. In this example, $n=3$, and $o_n$ can be directly taken from the last column of $T_3^0$.

(33)
\begin{align} o_3 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1(d_2+d_3) \\ -c_1(d_2+d_3) \\ d_1 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Now, directly plug Equations 31-33 into Equation 19.

(34)
\begin{align} J_1 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} z_{0} \times (o_{3} - o_{0}) \\ z_{0} \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0\\0\\1 \end{array} \right] \times \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1(d_2+d_3) \\ -c_1(d_2+d_3) \\ d_1 \end{array} \right] \\ \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0\\0\\1 \end{array} \right] \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} c_1(d_2+d_3) \\ s_1(d_2+d_3) \\ 0 \\ 0 \\ 0 \\ 1 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Joint 2 is prismatic, and $J_2$ is determined by Equation 11. Now $i=2$, and $z_1$ represents the projection of $z_1$ onto $z_0$ which can be found in the third column of $T_1^0$.

(35)
\begin{align} z_1 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1\\-c_1\\0 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Thus,

(36)
\begin{align} J_2 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} z_{0} \\ 0 \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1\\-c_1\\0 \end{array} \right] \\ \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0\\0\\0 \end{array} \right] \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1\\-c_1\\0 \\0\\0\\0\end{array} \right] \end{align}

Joint 3 is a prismatic. In a similar manner as $J_1$, $J_3$ can be calculated.

(37)
\begin{align} J_3 = \left[ \begin{array}{c} z_{2} \times (o_{3} - o_{2}) \\ z_{2} \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1\\-c_1\\0 \end{array} \right] \times \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1(d_3) \\ -c_1(d_3) \\ d_1 \end{array} \right] \\ \left[ \begin{array}{c} s_1\\-c_1\\0 \end{array} \right] \end{array} \right] = \left[ \begin{array}{c} 0 \\ 0 \\ 2c_1s_1(d_3) \\ s_1 \\ -c_1 \\ 0 \end{array} \right] \end{align}

Using the Equation 20, the total Jacobian can be determined.

(38)
\begin{align} J = \left[J_1 ... J_n \right]= \left[ \begin{array}{ccc} c_1(d_2+d_3) & s_1 & 0 \\ s_1(d_2+d_3) & -c_1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 2c_1s_1(d_3) \\ 0 & 0 & s_1 \\ 0 & 0 & -c_1 \\ 1 & 0 & 0 \end{array} \right] \end{align}
Bibliography
1. Spong, Hutchinson, and Vidyasagar, Robot Modeling and Control
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page revision: 10, last edited: 13 Apr 2010 02:22