Mechanism Synthesis Using the Workstation Environment

Wesley C. Barris, Sridhar Kota, Donald R. Riley, Arthur G Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Many theoretical advances have been made in mechanism synthesis. A number of software packages have been developed to use these theoretical advances in the computer-aided design of mechanisms. Some of these packages are now being accepted as design tools by users other than kinematicians. A primary factor in the slowness of acceptance of these programs is the quality of the user interface. No matter what revolutionary ideas are programmed into a computer, if the user interface receives only infrequent consideration, programs may not be used to their full potential. Modern engineering workstations combine powerful stand-alone computational platforms with highperformance graphics. Modern operating systems provide a very fast, responsive environment with such features as multitasking. highperformance graphics, tightly coupled with the modern operating systems, provides such advanced graphics features as color, multiple windows, dynamic menuing, and dynamic graphics for animation. Such capabilities at the engineer's workstation have provided powerful tools not only to improve the user interface for engineering software and to implement new options, but also to make possible whole new strategies for design. This article presents some of these new capabilities and discusses their impact on the mechanism synthesis process. We present specific examples of ongoing work at the University of Minnesota utilizing the Apollo color raster workstation to provide user-friendly general-purpose user-interface tools. In addition, we discuss the application of these tools to both the LINCAGES-4 four-bar linkage synthesis and analysis program and the Minn-Dwell dwell mechanism synthesis program. New options are now possible that were never attempted before because of display system limitations. We conclude with an assessment of the impact this environment can have on computer-aided design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Computer Graphics and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1988

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