LINCAGES (Linkage INteractive Computer Analysis and Graphically Enhanced Synthesis) is a family of software which can be used to synthesize (create a design) and analyze (evaluate the design created) four- and six-bar planar mechanisms.

Conventional mechanism design techniques
The traditional mechanism design process involved making physical prototypes and testing them for performance.  These prototypes gave some idea about the way the final mechanism behaved.  However, making these prototypes cost enormous amount of time, money, and human labor.  For an optimized design the whole procedure had to be repeated several times.  It took a few months or years to arrive at an acceptable solution.

When labor became scarce and competition to come up with faster designs increased in the industry, engineers and designers started using hand calculators to solve the underlying mathematical equations and arrive at an acceptable design.  The trade-off with this strategy, however, was that the equations were too cumbersome and the engineer was very much likely to make an error.   Moreover, arriving at each design took some time and all computations had to be repeated to reach an acceptable solution.  Even with modern calculators this procedure takes a few days to reach completion.

Why is  LINCAGES better at mechanism design?
LINCAGES simplifies the task several folds and helps the us get results very efficiently.

LINCAGES enables us to solve the design problem and evaluate the merits of the design at a thousand times faster and more accurate than conventional design techniques.   Using LINCAGES software, the design specifications such as design points and angles can be explicitly and accurately specified and the first solution or mechanism (which need not be optimal) obtained instantly.  Different mechanisms can be obtained by simply choosing different sets of design positions or moving the pivots along the design curves (called Burmester curves).  This can also be accomplished by navigating through a color coded solution map which represents the entire solution space and a pointer to the currently displayed mechanism.  An optimal solution can be obtained within a few seconds or minutes of iteration by the designer on the computer.  And the solution obtained is very accurate since the computer is solving the equation in no time while you are relaxing!

Time and again,  practicing engineers, researchers, and university students around the world have admitted that LINCAGES solves the design problem enormously fast and accurately, and is very much superior to all techniques they have ever used.  It is one of the few commercial solutions that can perform both synthesis and analysis of mechanisms with the variety of options it provides to the designer.

In what form is LINCAGES available?
LINCAGES is currently available on popular platforms like IRIX and Macintosh.   We also have versions for Solaris and DOS.   The development team in the University of Minnesota has developed a version for Windows and is continuing the development.

Who sells LINCAGES?
Minnesota Technology Transfer (MINTT), a company founded in 1985, sells LINCAGES.