A Machine Learning Approach to Kinematic Synthesis of Defect-Free Planar Four-Bar Linkages

[+] Author and Article Information
Shrinath Deshpande

Computer-Aided Design and Innovation Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, 11794-2300

Anurag Purwar

Computer-Aided Design and Innovation Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, 11794-2300

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042325 History: Received March 29, 2018; Revised December 12, 2018


Synthesizing circuit-, branch-, or order- defects-free planar four-bar mechanism for the motion generation problem has proven to be a difficult problem. These defects render synthesized mechanisms useless to machine designers. Such defects arise from the artificial constraints of formulating the problem as a discrete precision position problem and limitations of the methods which ignore the continuity information in the input. In this paper, we bring together diverse fields of pattern recognition, machine learning, artificial neural network, and computational kinematics to present a novel approach that solves this problem both efficiently and effectively. At the heart of this approach lies an objective function which compares the motion as a whole thereby capturing designer's intent. In contrast to widely used structural error or loop-closure equation based error functions which convolute the optimization by considering shape, size, position, and orientation of the given task simultaneously, this objective function computes motion difference in a form, which is invariant to similarity transformations. We employ auto-encoder neural networks to create a compact and clustered database of invariant motions of known defect-free linkages, which serve as a good initial choice for further optimization. In spite of highly nonlinear parameters space, our approach discovers a wide pool of defect-free solutions very quickly. We show that by employing proven machine learning techniques, this work could have far-reaching consequences to creating a multitude of useful and creative conceptual design solutions for mechanism synthesis problems, which go beyond planar four-bar linkages.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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