A representation language for mechanical behavior

Leo Joskowicz*, Dorothy Neville

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Mechanism design automation support requires developing a representation language for describing mechanism behavior. The language is necessary to specify design requirements, to describe existing mechanisms, and to catalog them for design reuse. This paper presents a simple and expressive language for describing the behavior of fixed-axes mechanisms. The language symbolically captures the important aspects of the kinematics and simple dynamics. It uses predicates and algebraic relations to describe the configurations and motions of each part of the mechanism and the relationships between them. It allows both accurate and complete descriptions and partial, abstract, and underspecified descriptions. We show that the language is computationally viable by describing how to automatically derive behavioral descriptions stated in the language from the mechanism structure. To test its usefulness, we describe a design validation program that determines if a given mechanism structure can produce desired behaviors stated in the language.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Franz Amador and Dan Weld for many discussionsa nd helpful commentso n drafts of this paper.W e also thank Elisha Sacksa nd Brian Williams for many fruitful discussions.P art of this work was conductedw hile Dorothy Neville was a summeri ntern at IBM T. J. Watson ResearchC enter. She was also fundedi n part by National ScienceF oundationGrants IRI-8902010a nd IRI-8957302O, fficeo f Naval Research Grant 90-J-1904, and a grant from the Xerox Corporation.


  • Dynamics
  • Kinematics
  • Mechanism behavior
  • Mechanism classification and design
  • Model-based reasoning
  • Representation language


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