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Rational rotation-minimizing frames - Recent advances and open problems

Abstract

Recent developments in the basic theory, algorithms, and applications for curves with rational rotation-minimizing frames (RRMF curves) are reviewed, and placed in the context of the current state-of-the-art by highlighting the many significant open problems that remain. The simplest non-trivial RRMF curves are the quintics, characterized by a scalar condition on the angular velocity of the Euler-Rodrigues frame (ERF). Two different classes of RRMF quintics can be identified. The first class of curves may be characterized by quadratic constraints on the quaternion coefficients of the generating polynomials; by the root structure of those polynomials; or by a certain polynomial divisibility condition. The second class has a strictly algebraic characterization, less well-suited to geometrical construction algorithms. The degree 7 RRMF curves offer more shape freedoms than the quintics, but only one of the four possible classes of these curves has been satisfactorily described. Generalizations of the adapted rotation-minimizing frames, for which the angular velocity has no component along the tangent, to directed and osculating frames (with analogous properties relative to the polar and binormal vectors) are also discussed. Finally, a selection of applications for rotation-minimizing frames are briefly reviewed - including construction of swept surfaces, rigid-body motion planning, 5-axis CNC machining, and camera orientation control.

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