While much has been contributed to techniques for enumerating and identifying rigid-body mechanisms in the past decades, proportionally little has been accomplished in this regard in compliant mechanisms design. This paper deals primarily with identification and discussion of important kinematic properties of compliant mechanisms. To facilitate these appropriate terminology is developed at the very fundamental level. The conventional degrees-of-freedom concept for a rigid-body chain is briefly reviewed. It is then used to help define a compliance number (or degrees-of-compliance) concept for characterizing compliant mechanisms. Finally, a systematic and convenient approach is presented, enabling the type synthesis of this class of mechanisms.

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