Reconfiguration analysis of multimode single-loop spatial mechanisms using dual quaternions

Xianwen Kong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
238 Downloads (Pure)


Although kinematic analysis of conventional mechanisms is a well-documented fundamental issue in mechanisms and robotics, the emerging reconfigurable mechanisms and robots pose new challenges in kinematics. One of the challenges is the reconfiguration analysis of multi-mode mechanisms, which refers to finding all the motion modes and the transition configurations of the multi-mode mechanisms. Recent advances in mathematics, especially algebraic geometry and numerical algebraic geometry, make it possible to develop an efficient method for the reconfiguration analysis of reconfigurable mechanisms and robots. This paper first presents a method for formulating a set of kinematic loop equations for mechanisms using dual quaternions. Using this approach, a set of kinematic loop equations of spatial mechanisms is composed of six polynomial equations. Then the reconfiguration analysis of a novel multi-mode 1-DOF (degree-of-freedom) 7R spatial mechanism is dealt with by solving the set of loop equations using tools from algebraic geometry. It is found that the 7R multi-mode mechanism has three motion modes, including a planar 4R mode, an orthogonal Bricard 6R mode, and a plane symmetric 6R mode. Three (or one) R (revolute) joints of the 7R multi-mode mechanism lose their DOF in its 4R (or 6R) motion modes. Unlike the 7R multi-mode mechanisms in the literature, the 7R multi-mode mechanism presented in this paper does not have a 7R mode in which all the seven R joints can move simultaneously.
Original languageEnglish
Article number051002
JournalJournal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Issue number5
Early online date4 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Kinematic analysis
  • multi-mode mechanisms
  • dual quaternions
  • algebraic geometry
  • reconfiguration analysis


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