The location and orientation of a rigid body in space can be defined in terms of three noncollinear points in the body. As the rigid body is moved through space, the motion may be described by a series of rotations and translations. The sequence of displacements may be conveniently represented in matrix form by a series of displacement matrices that describe the motion of the body between successive positions. If the rotations and translations (and hence the displacement matrix) are known then succeeding positions of a rigid body may be easily calculated in terms of the initial position. Conversely, if successive positions of three points in the rigid body are known, it is possible to calculate the parameters of the corresponding rotation and translation. In this paper, a new solution is presented which provides explicit formulas for the rotation and translation of a rigid body in terms of the initial and final positions of three points fixed in the rigid body. The rotation matrix is determined directly whereupon appropriate rotation angles and other information can subsequently be calculated if desired.
A Linear Algebra Approach to the Analysis of Rigid Body Displacement From Initial and Final Position Data
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Laub, A. J., and Shiflett, G. R. (March 1, 1982). "A Linear Algebra Approach to the Analysis of Rigid Body Displacement From Initial and Final Position Data." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. March 1982; 49(1): 213–216. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3161978
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