Motivated by the hinge structure present in protein chains and other molecular conformations, we study the singularities of certain maps associated to body-and-hinge and panel-and-hinge chains. These are sequentially articulated systems where two consecutive rigid pieces are connected by a hinge, that is, a codimension two axis. The singularities, or critical points, correspond to a dimensional drop in the linear span of the axes, regarded as points on a Grassmann variety in its Pl¨ucker embedding. These results are valid in arbitrary dimension. The three dimensional case is also relevant in robotics.
Borcea, Ciprian and Streinu, Ileana, "Singularities of Hinge Structures" (2008). Computer Science: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.