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Software Evaluation Of An Automated Concept Generator Design Tool

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Design Methods and Concepts

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

11.1138.1 - 11.1138.17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1012

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Cari Bryant University of Missouri-Rolla

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CARI BRYANT is a Ph.D. student at The University of Missouri-Rolla, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The objective of her research is to develop design methods and tools that build on existing design knowledge to support the design process, specifically during the concept generation phase of product development. In 2003 Cari received a M.S. degree in mechanical engineering and an M.S. degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan while doing research in the University of Michigan Orthopaedic Research Laboratories. Contact: crb5ea@umr.edu

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Eric Pieper University of Missouri-Rolla

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ERIC PIEPER was a senior in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Missouri-Rolla and involved with the university Solar Car Team at the time of the reported study.

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Brandon Walther University of Texas-Austin

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BRANDON WALTHER received his B.S in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, Brandon is a M.S. student studying mechanical design in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at U.T. Austin. He also works at Applied Research Laboratories designing mechanical components for high frequency sonar equipment.

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Tolga Kurtoglu University of Texas-Austin

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TOLGA KURTOGLU is a Ph.D. candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin and works as a research assistant at the Automated Design Lab. His research interests include development of computational design tools, design optimization and conceptual design theory. Tolga has an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. In his M.S. studies, he specialized in development of sketch based user interfaces for CAD tools. Currently, he is working on creating a computational theory for conceptual mechanical design.

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Robert Stone University of Missouri-Rolla

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ROBERT STONE is an Associate Professor in the Basic Engineering Department at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He joined the department in January 1998 after completing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stone’s research interests lie in design theory and methodology, specifically product architectures, functional representations, and design languages. Contact: rstone@umr.edu.

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Daniel McAdams University of Missouri-Rolla

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DANIEL MCADAMS is currently an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He joined the department in October of 1999 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He teaches undergraduate courses in machine element design and introduction to design and graduate courses in product design and dynamics. Dr. McAdams' research interests are in the area of design theory and methodology, concept generation, product architecture, design for manufacturing, tolerance design, and modeling for design, with specific emphasis and applications in product design.

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Matthew Campbell University of Texas-Austin

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Software Evaluation of an Automated Concept Generator Design Tool

Abstract

Few computational tools exist to assist designers during the conceptual phase of design where design success is often heavily weighted on personal experience and innate ability. Many well- known methods (e.g. brainstorming, intrinsic and extrinsic searches, and morphological analysis) are designed to stimulate a designer’s creativity, but ultimately still rely heavily on individual bias and experience. As a first step toward enabling novice designers to readily reuse design knowledge during a function-based design process, an automated mathematically-based concept generation method was created to generate new solutions from existing product knowledge housed in a web-based repository. The algorithm was developed into software using Java code. The software, currently in the initial stages of development, accepts a chain of sub-functions de- scribing the product’s desired functionality. The software then uses matrices describing compo- nent functionality and component compatibility to build and rank chains of feasible concept vari- ants based on historical data. A designer can then explore and evaluate the returned concepts for further development as design solutions. In an effort to help evaluate the current software and establish research goals for further development, four undergraduate engineering researchers from the University of Missouri–Rolla and University of Texas at Austin executed a qualitative study of the software’s effectiveness at producing useful design solutions. The students engaged in several activities designed to test the capabilities of this early version of the software. The stu- dents reported on the results of their analyses and described the benefits and disadvantages of the software as they viewed it at this stage of development. Their experiences were used to help identify avenues for further development of the design tool.

1. Introduction

The creative nature of design generation demands skills from a designer that must be developed and refined through practice. Advancement in technology is usually made by building on previ- ous experiences and learning from past successes and failures. However, this knowledge transfer in the broad field of product design is often difficult to accomplish. Often, few records are kept cataloging a designer’s rationale during the decision making processes that lead to the embodi- ment of a successful design solution. Additionally, although many successful designs are preva- lent around us, often it is unclear why or how an existing design is successful without prior expe- rience dissecting or designing a similar product. Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to re- trieve and store existing design knowledge capturing decision rationales or unsuccessful designs, research has shown that successful component configurations in the form of existing products can readily be dissected and stored for reuse.1,2

In reference to their study investigating snap judgments that web users make within 50 ms of viewing a website, Lindgaard describes a societally pervasive tendency to ‘jump to conclusions’. The article points to the desire to be right, part of a ‘cognitive bias’, as a phenomenon that causes users to continue to use a website that gave a good first impression, thus helping to ‘prove’ to themselves that they made a good initial decision.3 Lindgaard also relates this phenomenon to the shown tendency of doctors to make a diagnosis following their initial hunches from a patient’s

1

Bryant, C., & Pieper, E., & Walther, B., & Kurtoglu, T., & Stone, R., & McAdams, D., & Campbell, M. (2006, June), Software Evaluation Of An Automated Concept Generator Design Tool Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1012

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