I have a basic understanding of inverse kinematics, in that there's a workspace and a configuration space, and the point is to find a solution in configuration space that satisfies a workspace goal. Multiple solutions may exist in configuration space for redundant manipulators.

That said, I'm currently struggling with a problem where the workspace is a plane with blocks (cubes) placed on it, and I need to plan a path for moving a block in the workspace while avoiding collisions with other blocks. Importantly, the arm (manipulator) moving the block must not collide with other blocks as well. The latter situation could be possible in case blocks are stacked to form a tower.

I recognize that planning a path for block to avoid other obstacles is a simpler problem that may be solved with A* and the likes. However, I'm interested in solutions that also account for obstacle avoidance for the manipulator. For my part, I have looked at the existing research (mainly robotics journals), where Rapidly Exploring Random Trees (RRTs) and their variations seem to be discussed a lot. Before I spend too much time learning and implementing those approaches, I'd like to confirm if I am on the right path, or are there any approximate solutions to this with low runtime cost that I should look at? Thanks.

Note: I've made some omissions from the question in order to keep it simple, but I'd be happy to answer any questions asking clarification.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the kinds of inverse kinematics problems we typically solve in games are "turn head to look in direction" or "tweak blended gun-holding animation to keep hands attached to handles." The kind of problem you're solving sounds like one that a robotics engineer may be better equipped to help you solve. Have you considered asking on a Robotics or Mechanical Engineering StackExchange instead? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jan 20 '19 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory Thanks for your reply. I think you are right. I do realize it's not a very common scenario in games, but I guess I wanted to know if there's a simplification that's used as an alternative in games instead of a full fledged robotics approach lest that be an overkill. \$\endgroup\$ – oczkoisse Jan 20 '19 at 23:50

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