This paper is devoted to the description of the set of all singular configurations of serial robot-manipulators. For 6 degrees of freedom serial robot-manipulators we have developed a theory which allows to describe higher order singularities. By using Lie algebra properties of the screw space we give an algorithm, which determines the degree of a singularity from the knowledge of the actual configuration of axes of the robot-manipulator only. The local shape of the singular set in a neighbourhood of a singular configuration can be determined as well. We also solve the problem of escapement from a singular configuration. For serial robot-manipulators with the number of degrees of freedom different from six we show that up to certain exceptions singular configurations can be avoided by a small change of the motion of the end-effector. We also give an algorithm which allows to determine equations of the singular set for any serial robot-manipulator. We discuss some special cases and give examples of singular sets including PUMA 560.

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