State estimation and tracking of deforming planar elastic rods

Andy Borum, Dennis Matthews, Timothy Bretl

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, we address the problem of estimating the shape of a planar elastic rod (e.g., a thin flexible strip of metal) using images of the rod. This is done by treating configurations of the elastic rod as solutions of a geometric optimal control problem. The necessary conditions for optimality provide coordinates over which to perform inference, and the sufficient conditions provide the gradient of the shape of the rod with respect to these coordinates. This optimal control formulation allows for configurations of the rod to be represented as points in a finite-dimensional space without having to discretize the shape of the rod. We consider the estimation problem with and without fiducial markers attached to the rod. Results from both simulations and hardware experiments demonstrate the ability of our approach to track the shape of a deforming elastic rod.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6907459
Pages (from-to)4127-4132
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
StatePublished - Sep 22 2014
Event2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2014 - Hong Kong, China
Duration: May 31 2014Jun 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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