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A Tablet Based Application for Teaching Function and Exploring Concept Alternatives During Early Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Matt R. Bohm, Melissa L. Shirley

University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Robert L. Nagel

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Paper No. DETC2012-71118, pp. 393-402; 10 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 32nd Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4501-1
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


This paper describes the design, implementation, and usage of a tablet based application as a mechanism for concept exploration and function realization in early stage design. Specifically, this work reports on the transformation of a methodology, known as Form Follows Form, into an interactive, multi-touch iPad application that can be used to explore concept alternatives and as tool to increase student awareness and recognition of functionality. Users are able to specify an initial concept to an engineering problem by dragging, dropping, and connecting basic components that they envision as a potential solution. The application then leverages a database of reverse engineered products and algorithms to abstract the underlying functionality of the user specified solution. Students can use the abstracted functionality as a baseline for generating concept alternatives on their own, and also, explore concept and component alternatives suggested by the application. The goal of the application is to reduce design fixation and to provide multiple approaches for concept exploration activities.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Design , Teaching



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