Parallel manipulators consisting of serial branches acting in parallel on a common end effector are examined. All nonredundant, six DOF manipulators corresponding to this in-parallel class of structures are enumerated. A specific in-parallel structure, three branches with two actuated joints per branch (3–2,2,2), is chosen as most promising based upon performance considerations. A class of kimematically simple (KS) serial-chain branch joint layouts suitable for the chosen in-parallel structure is defined. Arguments based upon kinematic equivalency of the branches and mobility of the assembled in-parallel manipulator chain are used to show that there exist only five unique branch joint-layouts belonging to the KS class. It is demonstrated that the solution to the inverse displacement problem for in-parallel manipulators based on the KS branches can be expressed in a closed form. Furthermore, the 3–2,2,2 in-parallel manipulators are shown to belong to a family of manipulators whose forward displacement solutions can be resolved through roots of a 16th order polynomial.

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