Reach envelope of human extremities

Jingzhou Yang, Yunqing Zhang, Liping Chen, Karim Abdel-Malek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Significant attention was given to obtain a better understanding of human joint ranges, measurement, and functionality, especially in conjunction with commands issued by the central nervous system. While researchers studied motor commands needed to drive a limb to follow a path trajectory, various computer algorithms were reported that provide adequate analysis of limb modeling and motion. This paper uses a rigorous mathematical formulation to model human limbs, understand their reach envelope, delineate barriers therein where a trajectory becomes difficult to control, and help visualize these barriers. Workspaces of a typical forearm with 9 degrees of freedom, a typical finger modeled as a 4-degree-of-freedom system, and a lower extremity with 4 degrees of freedom are discussed. The results show that by using the formulation, joint limits play an important role in distinguishing the barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalTsinghua Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Barriers
  • Biomechanics
  • Degree of freedom
  • Human extremities


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