This paper presents a coordinate-invariant differential geometric analysis of kinematic singularities for closed kinematic chains containing both active and passive joints. Using the geometric framework developed in Park and Kim (1996) for closed chain manipulability analysis, we classify closed chain singularities into three basic types: (i) those corresponding to singular points of the joint configuration space (configuration space singularities), (ii) those induced by the choice of actuated joints (actuator singularities), and (iii) those configurations in which the end-effector loses one or more degrees of freedom of available motion (end-effector singularities). The proposed geometric classification provides a high-level taxonomy for mechanism singularities that is independent of the choice of local coordinates used to describe the kinematics, and includes mechanisms that have more actuators than kinematic degrees of freedom.

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