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Examination of a Method for Determining When to Develop Transformable Products through Design Studies

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Design Tools & Methodology II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.661.1 - 22.661.19



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Paper Authors


Bradley Adam Camburn University of Texas, Austin

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Born in Abington, Pennsylvania. Early life in rural PA. Attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to receive a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Completed a M.S.M.E. at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently performing doctoral research for a Ph.D. at the University of Texas in engineering design and methodology with a focus on sustainability and water supply systems.

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Kristin L. Wood University of Texas, Austin


Daniel D. Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

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Daniel D. Jensen.
Dr. Jensen received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His industrial experience includes Texas Instruments (mechanical design), Naval Research Labs (computational dynamics), NASA Langley funded post doc (finite elements), consulting at Lockheed and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (computational mechanics) MSC Software Corporation (educational multimedia development) and Creo Consulting (Mechanical Engineering Consulting). He taught at University of the Pacific for four years and is currently a Professor in the Department of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has published approximately 100 technical publications and generated approximately two million dollars of research finding. His current research interests include development of new design methodologies as well as methods for improving engineering education.

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Methodology for Determining When to Develop Transformers Transformable products (or transformers), those with two or more functional states, areincreasingly utilized by our society. As the mobility and complexity of life increases, so must theadaptability of the products which we use. To develop more adaptable products and systems,new design techniques are needed. These techniques should be developed through soundresearch methodologies and enhance designers’ abilities. Toward this end, we have developed aset of indicators which classify design problems between those for which the preferable design isa transformer or is a monomorph, a single functional state device. The indicators reveal, at anearly stage in the design process, if developing a transformable product is likely to beadvantageous. A novel design methodology is proposed which incorporates the indicators andhas been tested in an educational research study at both research and teaching institutions ofhigher education. Design application trials are used as a method for determining the impact ofthis technique on the design process. Surveys were disseminated to student teams at theeducational institutions. After the methodology is explained, the survey is used to report resultsto our researchers. The method assesses design contexts and divides different design problemsinto the two different archetypes. Once identified as an archetype for either transformer ormonomorph design, distinct suites of concept generation tools are suggested to accelerate thedesign process, leading to high quantities and novelty of design concepts. The experimentcompares the the archetypical analysis with control design results and intra-team consistency ofdesign problem assessment. Based on experimental results, the indicator technique fortransformer design is validated and a new design tool is presented. The usefulness of combinedempirical and deductive design research methodologies is likewise supported by this experiment,and a discussion is provided regarding the efficacies of linking undergraduate students withexperiences of graduate level research processes.

Camburn, B. A., & Wood, K. L., & Jensen, D. D. (2011, June), Examination of a Method for Determining When to Develop Transformable Products through Design Studies Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17942

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