Degeneracy of velocity constraints in rigid body systems
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The equations governing the dynamics of rigid body systems with velocity constraints are singular at degenerate configurations in the constraint distribution. In this report, we describe the causes of singularities in the constraint distribution of interconnected rigid body systems with smooth configuration manifolds. A convention of defining primary velocity constraints in terms of orthogonal complements of one-dimensional subspaces is introduced. Using this convention, linear maps are defined and used to describe the space of allowable velocities of a rigid body. Through the definition of these maps, we present a condition for non-degeneracy of velocity constraints in terms of the one dimensional subspaces defining the primary velocity constraints. A method for defining the constraint subspace and distribution in terms of linear maps is presented. Using these maps, the constraint distribution is shown to be singular at configuration where there is an increase in its dimension.