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Strategies for Consumer Control of Complex Product Forms in Generative Design Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Axel Nordin, Damien Motte, Robert Bjärnemo

Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Paper No. DETC2013-12886, pp. V03AT03A029; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3A: 39th Design Automation Conference
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5588-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


In recent years, the number of products that can be tailored to consumers’ needs and desires has increased dramatically; there are many opportunities to individualize the colors, materials or options of products. However, current trends indicate that the future consumer will not be satisfied with mere material and color choices, but will desire control over form as well. While it is technically feasible to allow consumers to partially mass-customize the form of products subject to functional and production constraints through the use of a generative design system, the question of how the control of form should be presented to the user arises. The issue becomes especially important when the product form is based on complex morphologies, which require in-depth knowledge of their parameters to be able to control them fully. In this paper, we discuss this issue and present and test two strategies for controlling complex forms in consumer-oriented generative design systems, one offering the user full control over the design (“total control” strategy), while the other automatically generates designs for the user (“no control” strategy). The implementation of those two control strategies in a generative design system for two categories of products (bookshelf and table) and five types of morphologies are described and tested with a number of design interested participants to estimate their level of satisfaction with the two control strategies. The empirical study shows that the participants enjoyed both the total control and no control strategies. The development of the full control modes for the five morphologies was on the other hand not straightforward, and in general, making the controls meaningful to the consumer can be difficult with complex morphologies. It seems that a consumer-oriented generative design system with two different control strategies, as the ones presented in this article, would offer the most satisfaction.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Design



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