Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Judy M. Vance


The objective of this research is to develop an immersive interface and a design algorithm to facilitate the synthesis of compliant mechanisms from a user-centered design perspective. Compliant mechanisms are mechanical devices which produce motion or force through deflection or flexibility of their parts. Using the constraint-based method of design, the design process relies on the designer to identify the appropriate constraint sets to achieve the desired motion. Currently this ability requires considerable prior knowledge of how non-linear flexible members produce motion. As a result, the design process is based primarily on the designer's previous experience and intuition.

The contribution of this research is the creation of a user-centered methodology towards the design of compliant mechanisms where the interface guides the designer throughout the design process. This research combines a mathematical representation of the constraint-based compliant mechanism design process with an immersive interface to support active user interaction in the design process. A virtual reality (VR) immersive interface lets the user interact with the problem at hand in a natural way with hand gestures, head motion, etc. This enables the designer to input the intended motion path by simply grabbing and moving the object and letting the system decide which constraint spaces apply. The user-centered paradigm supports an approach that focuses on the designer defining the desired motion, the system generating the constraint sets, and the designer deciding which constraints to apply to complete the design. With this approach, the system produces a set of possible solutions and the designer completes the design process.

This research results in an intelligent design framework that will allow a broader group of engineers to design complex compliant mechanisms, giving them new options to draw upon when searching for design solutions to critical problems.


Copyright Owner

Utkarsh Seth



Date Available


File Format


File Size

58 pages