The creation of novel kinematic structures of mechanisms still represents a major challenge in the quest for developing new, innovative devices. In this setting, computer models that can automatically generate and visualize all possible independent structures in an intuitive manner prove to be valuable as a support in the creative process of the designer. This paper proposes an automatic approach for establishing the complete atlas database of 2-DOF kinematic chains and a systematic approach for the creative design of mechanisms based on such an atlas. First, the transformation of the kinematic structure into a graph-based representation is addressed. Then, an approach for the generation of all nonfractionated topological graphs of 2-DOF (degrees of freedom) kinematic chains using contracted graphs as well as a method for synthesizing all the fractionated topological graphs through the combination of corresponding 1-DOF kinematic chains are addressed. Based on these methods, the complete atlas database of 2-DOF kinematic chains up to 15 links is established in this paper for the first time. Using this complete database, a systematic approach for the creative design of mechanisms can be derived, as illustrated for the example of an 11-link 2-DOF rode tractor.

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