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How to Plan Your Manipulator Movement


Welcome to the world of manipulator movement planning! In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of planning manipulator movement using MATLAB's Inverse Kinematic Designer app. Understanding joint angles and end effector positions is crucial in this realm, and the app simplifies the process by solving for joint angles with user-set constraints. Let's delve into the nuts and bolts of planning seamless manipulator movements.

Setting Up the Scene

Before diving into manipulator movement planning, it's essential to set up the scene in the app. You can choose a robot model from the available list or import a custom robot using the URDF file. Once the robot model is selected, you can use options like rotate 3D and scroll to zoom in and out, creating a comprehensive scene. Additionally, the app allows you to create collision boxes or utilize saved ones in the workspace, providing a realistic environment for movement planning.

Configuring Robot Arm for Precise Movements

Once the scene is set, the next step involves configuring the robot arm for precise manipulator movements. This includes using post arguments for box position, setting constraints for precise movement, and adjusting rotation angles to ensure accurate positioning. Checking for collisions is paramount to guarantee safe movements, and users can tailor the forearm link to avoid extending beyond the feeder base. With options to adjust parameters such as Y Max and Z Max, users can fine-tune the robot arm's movements according to their requirements.

Planning Manipulator Movement with Intermediate Positions

The planning of manipulator movement often involves incorporating intermediate positions for seamless path planning. By pulling the end effector off the feeder to create a gap, users can then check for collisions and save the configuration as pickup. Moving to an intermediate position not only eases path planning but also facilitates precise movement execution. Utilizing aiming and post constraints further enhances the precision of movement planning, allowing users to point the end effector at specific locations and enter desired locations directly, all while ensuring collision-free movements.

Simplified Manipulator Movement Planning with the App

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Inverse Kinematic Designer app is its ability to simplify manipulator movement planning. The app streamlines the process by performing the mathematical calculations of inverse kinematics, thereby allowing users to focus on the application of these movements rather than the complex mathematical intricacies. Furthermore, configurations and solver settings can be conveniently exported to the workspace, providing a seamless transition from planning to execution.


In conclusion, mastering manipulator movement planning is a fine art that requires precision, foresight, and the right tools. With the Inverse Kinematic Designer app, users can navigate this intricate domain with ease, utilizing features that simplify the planning process and enhance precision. By embracing the functionalities of the app, users can streamline their manipulator movement planning and focus on the practical applications, ultimately propelling their projects forward with precision and efficiency.

Watch this video to demonstration 

Learn how you can use the Inverse Kinematics Designer app in MATLAB® to plan your robot manipulator movement. Planning your robot’s movement with hardware can be challenging and time-consuming. This demonstration goes over how you can import a robot, set up the scene, set constraints for the IK solver, and export the waypoints for further planning, all in simulation. 

Related Resources:

- Collision objects:

- More examples:

- Path planning examples:

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