Mainly drawing on screw theory and linear algebra, this paper presents an approach to determining the bases of three unknown twist and wrench subspaces of lower mobility serial kinematic chains, an essential step for kinematic and dynamic modeling of both serial and parallel manipulators. By taking the reciprocal product of a wrench on a twist as a linear functional, the underlying relationships among their subspaces are reviewed by means of the dual space and dual basis. Given the basis of a twist subspace of permissions, the causes of nonuniqueness in the bases of the other three subspaces are discussed in some depth. Driven by needs from engineering design, criteria, and a procedure are proposed that enable pragmatic, consistent bases of these subspaces to be determined in a meaningful, visualizable, and effective manner. Three typical examples are given to illustrate the entire process. Then, formulas are presented for the bases of the twist/wrench subspaces of a number of commonly used serial kinematic chains, which can readily be employed for the formulation of the generalized Jacobian of a variety of lower mobility parallel manipulators.

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