Correct evaluation of robot performance has been a problem in the field of robotics. Many scholars have proposed a variety of performance indices, such as manipulability, condition number, and minimum singular value, to describe quantitatively the kinematic performance of a robotic mechanism. However, two questions remain: (1) how to describe the kinematic performance completely for the design of a robotic mechanism, and (2) how to comprehensively describe the global performance distribution characteristics in the workspace. This paper presents a global performance index system for kinematic optimization of a robotic mechanism based on Jacobian matrix, manipulability ellipsoid, and descriptive statistics theory that can comprehensively describe the kinematic performance and the performance distribution characteristics in a robot's workspace. First, the Jacobian matrix, a linear mapping from the joint space to the task space of a robotic mechanism, is analyzed, and the kinematic transmission ability indices and the kinematic transmission accuracy index are determined. Second, four indices, including global average value, global volatility, global skewness, and global kurtosis, are presented to describe the global performance index's distribution in the workspace. Third, the global performance index system is established to evaluate a robot's global kinematic performance based on the above analysis. Finally, a two-degrees of freedom (DOF) robotic mechanism is designed based on the global performance index system as a case, analysis of which shows that the final mechanism has good kinematic performance in the workspace. This demonstrates that the global performance index system proposed in this paper can be useful for the evaluation of the kinematic performance and kinematic optimization of a robotic mechanism.

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