In this paper we develop a framework for the redesign of computer-controlled, closed-loop, mechanical systems for improved dynamic performance. A central notion which underlies the redesign framework is that, in order to achieve the best possible performance from a constrained closed-loop system, the plant and controller should be designed simultaneously. The framework is presented as the formulation and solution of a progression of optimization problems which establish the limits of performance of the dynamic system under various conditions of interest, thereby enabling the engineer to systematically establish the various redesign possibilities. Using a second order linear dynamic system and a nonlinear controller as an example, we demonstrate the application of the framework and substantiate the idea that in order to achieve the best possible performance from a constrained closed-loop system, the plant and controller should be redesigned simultaneously. We then show how the redesign framework can be used to select the best control strategy for a robotic manipulator from a dynamic performance standpoint. Finally, in order to demonstrate that the redesign framework yields solutions which the engineer can implement with confidence, we present the experimental verification of the numerical solution of a manipulator redesign optimization problem.

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