An approach for selecting optimal four-bar linkages satisfying four coplanar multiply separated positions is presented. The mechanisms are synthesized by use of Burmester theory, and evaluation is made on the basis of 1) ‘necessary’ conditions, and 2) assigned weighting factors and regions as applied to various design criteria. Sequential expansions and evaluations in terms of compact collections of best linkages are used to approach optimum solution. An interactive computer program which handles all optimization calculations and related input is presented and discussed. The program is structured to allow the user a maximum of control over all stages of the optimization process. An example dealing with a realistically specified knee joint orthosis is included.

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