A new and efficient kinematic position and velocity solution scheme for spatial hyper-redundant manipulators is presented. The manipulator’s arm has discrete links and universal joints. Backbone curve concepts and a modal approach are used to resolve the manipulator’s redundancy. The effects of the mode shapes and the slope of backbone curve at the starting point on the workspace are studied. It is shown that the usage of conventional mode shapes limits the workspace of the hyper-redundant arm. By introducing new mode shapes, an improved workspace is obtained. A simple and efficient recursive fitting method is introduced to avoid complications involved with solving systems of nonlinear algebraic equations. This method also guarantees the existence of solutions for the inverse kinematic problem at the velocity level. Velocity properties of the backbone curve are investigated and the inverse velocity propagation is solved for the spatial hyper-redundant arm. The velocity propagation scheme is recursive and is efficiently applicable to any number of links.

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