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Matrix question

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Hey there. i have a question. i made a little robot arm program, pretty simple with a few joints and fingers and i wanna add some collision detection so that i could lift objects with it. so what i need is to get the object coordinates from the modelview matrix. obviously i know how to isolate the model matrix and get the matrix in2 a float array. my question is this: how do i convert the matrix data in2 a point in 3d space? i think that i have to multiply a vector by the matrix but is it 0,0,0,1 ? if so, will it not stay 0,0,0,1 anyway? i need your help guys...

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