Active surfaces are introduced, defined, and modeled as a cooperating set of parallel manipulators. In this context, active surfaces may be viewed as a means of approximating complex shapes or as hyper-redundant in-parallel force manipulators for modal vibration control. Such surfaces may be employed to correct for support structure deformations or vibrations, as well as to achieve other shape dependent performance requirements. As a result of these features, active surfaces have applications in many types of intelligent structures, such as telescopes, communications antennas, bridges, and airfoils. The paper provides an overview of the kinematics of active surfaces. Additionally, it outlines the vibration control problem, and demonstrates how active surfaces can be employed as a modal force manipulator.

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