This paper introduces a class of reconfigurable parallel robots consisting of a fixed base and a moving platform connected by serial chains having RRPS (Revolute-Revolute-Prismatic-Spherical) topology. Only the prismatic joint is actuated and the first revolute joint in the chain can be locked or released online. The introduction of these lockable joints allow the prismatic actuators to maneuver to approximate 6-DoF motions for the moving platform. An algorithm for generating these maneuvers is first described. Then, a motion planner, based on the generation of a Probabilistic RoadMap (PRM) whose nodes are connected using the described maneuvers, is presented. The generated trajectories avoid singularities and possible collisions between legs.
Flagged in-parallel manipulators are attractive because their singularity loci admit a well-behaved decomposition, with a unique topology irrespective of the metrics of each particular design. In this paper, this topology is formally derived and all the cells, in the configuration space of the platform, of dimension 6 (non-singular) and dimension 5 (singular), together with their adjacencies, are worked out in detail. This characterization of the singularity loci is useful to come up with designs which admit control strategies free of singularities. In particular, it is shown that by adding an extra leg to any flagged manipulator, the resulting 7-leg structure admits a control strategy (by appropriately choosing which leg remains passive) that completely avoids singularities