The structure of a robot is normally mostly mechanical and is called a kinematic chain (its functionally similar to the skeleton of human body). The chain is formed of links (its bones), actuators (its muscles) and joints which can allow several degrees of freedom.

Some robots use open serial chains in which each link connects the one before to the one after it. Robots used as manipulators have an end effectors mounted on the last link. These end effectors can be anything from a welding device to a mechanical hand used to manipulate the environment.