A new kinematic design methodology is presented for optimization of spherical serial mechanisms. This method integrates multiple criteria (workspace, manipulability, and size) linearly in one objective function. All these criteria are optimized simultaneously to lead to a more realistic solution. By changing the priorities of each criterion, different sets of desirable kinematic performance can be expressed. The global manipulability and the uniformity of manipulability over the workspace are combined in a single index to improve the synthesis results. The optimization result for a spherical bevel-geared mechanism using a genetic algorithm demonstrated that the proposed method effectively improves the quality of the optimum solution and provides insight into the workings of the mechanism. In addition, this flexible and adaptable methodology may also be extended for use in general optimization for linkage synthesis.

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