The study of the relationship between the desired system dynamics and the actuation wrench producing those dynamics is important for robotic system analysis. For traditionally actuated robots, the quality indices of dexterity and manipulability quantify this relationship. However, for unilaterally actuated robots (UARs), such as grasping hands and cable-driven parallel robots (CDPRs), these indices cannot be applied due to the unilateral actuation constraint. In this paper, the quality indices of unilateral dexterity (UD) and unilateral maximum force amplification (UMFA) are established for UARs with arbitrary number of actuators. It is shown that these quality indices provide task-independent quantifications of the physical properties of robustness and force amplification for UARs, and they can measure the mechanism’s capability both in singular and nonsingular poses. With these indices, manipulability ellipsoid-derived measures can be applied to arbitrary UARs. The significance of the quality indices for robot synthesis and motion generation analysis is illustrated through two case studies: a five-fingered grasp selection problem and the workspace analysis of a spatial CDPR.

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