A general framework is presented for the study of the properties of trajectories generated by points embedded in rigid bodies undergoing multi-degrees-of-freedom motions. Quantities are developed to characterize point trajectories generated by different mechanisms and to distinguish between different positions along the same trajectory. Point trajectories are classified into three types according to whether the number of degrees of freedom is less than, equal to, or greater than the dimension of the space in which the motion takes place. Local and global motion properties are developed for each of these three cases. A new way of using the redundant degrees of freedom in (redundant) mechanisms is presented. These analysis techniques are applied to two- and three-degrees-of-freedom mechanisms containing rotary and prismatic joints.

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