Constraint and Mobility Change Analysis of Rubik’s Cube-inspired Reconfigurable Joints and Corresponding Parallel Mechanisms

Duanling Li, Pu Jia, Jiazhou Li, Dan Zhang, Xianwen Kong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The current research of reconfigurable parallel mechanism mainly focuses on the construction of reconfigurable joints. Compared with the method of changing the mobility by physical locking joints, the geometric constraint has good controllability, and the constructed parallel mechanism has more configurations and wider application range. This paper presents a reconfigurable axis (rA) joint inspired and evolved from Rubik's Cubes, which have a unique feature of geometric and physical constraint of axes of joint. The effectiveness of the rA joint in the construction of the limb is analyzed, resulting in a change in mobility and topology of the parallel mechanism. The rA joint makes the angle among the three axes inside the groove changed arbitrarily. This change in mobility is completed by the case illustrated by a 3(rA)P(rA) reconfigurable parallel mechanism having variable mobility from 1 to 6 and having various special configurations including pure translations, pure rotations. The underlying principle of the metamorphosis of this rA joint is shown by investigating the dependence of the corresponding screw system comprising of line vectors, leading to evolution of the rA joint from two types of spherical joints to three types of variable Hooke joints and one revolute joint. The reconfigurable parallel mechanism alters its topology by rotating or locking the axis of rA joint to turn all limbs into different phases. The prototype of reconfigurable parallel mechanism is manufactured and all configurations are enumerated to verify the validity of the theoretical method by physical experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number81
JournalChinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering (English Edition)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Constraint analysis
  • Metamorphic parallel mechanism
  • Reciprocal screws
  • Reconfigurable-axis (rA) joint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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