This paper evaluates the dynamic and kinematic properties of a prismatic mechanism and shows its capabilities in performing home manipulation tasks when integrated into a robotic arm. Our design is motivated from the observation that human hand motions often follow a linear trajectory when manipulating everyday objects. We present the mechanical design for a light-weight, energy-efficient robot named PRISM that emphasizes translational motion. By simulating the dynamics equations and comparing the structure of commonly used anthropomorphic arms and our proposed arm, we verify that translational motion is more energy efficient with PRISM, and the robot can maneuver itself in narrower places. Through simulation experiments using state of the art manipulation planning algorithms, we analyze the success rates of PRISM and an anthropomorphic robot arm in performing basic tasks. The simulation experiments center on pick-and-place tasks in cluttered kitchen scenes. We show a real-world prototype of PRISM and perform several manipulation experiments with it.