A new approach to the geometrical representation of manipulator dynamics is presented. The inertia ellipsoid, which is used to represent dynamic characteristics of a single rigid body, is extended to a general ellipsoid for a series of rigid bodies in order to represent the manipulator dynamics. The geometrical configuration of the generalized inertia ellipsoid (GIE) represents the characteristics of the manipulator as a whole. One can understand the complicated inertial effect and nonlinearity of multi-degree-of-freedom motion by simply investigating the GIE configuration. In the latter half of the paper, this method is applied to aid the design of a mechanical arm, in which dimensions of an arm structure and its mass distribution are optimized through the evaluation and graphical representation of the arm dynamics.

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