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ASME Conference Presenter Attendance Policy and Archival Proceedings

2012;():i. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-NS7.
FREE TO VIEW

This online compilation of papers from the ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE2012) represents the archival version of the Conference Proceedings. According to ASME’s conference presenter attendance policy, if a paper is not presented at the Conference, the paper will not be published in the official archival Proceedings, which are registered with the Library of Congress and are submitted for abstracting and indexing. The paper also will not be published in The ASME Digital Collection and may not be cited as a published paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: Best Practices and Lessons Learned in Design Education

2012;():3-12. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70698.

It is well documented that students learn more effectively when they are actively involved in the learning process, and interacting with peers. Interactive scenario-based education is a novel concept expected to stimulate active learning and provide a peer-learning experience. In this paper we present Create your Scenario Interactively (CSI) module, which is an interactive storybook-like learning tool composed of interactive storyline, 2D/3D visualization, simulation, and state-of-the-art interaction technology. The CSI method allows peer-interactions and prepares students to solve open-ended problems.

The CSI module has been developed for metal casting and implemented in manufacturing engineering courses at the University of Oklahoma and Tuskegee University. In this paper, we discuss the impact of the CSI on students’ learning in manufacturing engineering education. Our preliminary results suggest that a majority of the students feels that the CSI module is very effective in keeping them engaged. We also analyze the effect of peer-learning to develop critical thinking and solve design problems. The details of the CSI module, implementation details, and assessment results are discussed in the paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():13-21. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70926.

With the recommendation from ABET, each engineering student should go through a major engineering design experience and understand how to go from design specifications to a final artifact. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS) started automotive design projects including competition vehicles and proof of concept vehicles for its undergraduate students many years ago. These projects aim to provide practical engineering education to the students through vehicle design and fabrication with hands-on experience. The project lifecycle usually does not last longer than one year as it is governed by the competition and the academic cycle. With many years of experience supervising students, the best practice of guiding students learning through this engineering design project within one academic year is developed. Before each project, students will first go through training and apprenticeship. Such project usually starts with problem formulation that studies the requirements of vehicle for the competition and the resources available. The team of students will go from design specifications to a final vehicle prototype with generating alternatives, synthesizing, analyzing, fabrication, testing and evaluating. This method allows sustainability in vehicle design projects. NUS Eco-car project is used as a case study to illustrate the best practice. Our past experience showed that students trained in this project have strong practical and analytical skills and are able to manage and communicate in a team well.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():23-36. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71181.

Industry demands that graduating engineers possess the ability to solve complex problems requiring multidisciplinary approaches and systems-level thinking. Unfortunately, current curricula often focus on analytical approaches to problem solving. Further, adding courses focused solely on engineering design is often unachievable due to the large amount of material covered in today’s undergraduate engineering curricula. Combined, these prevent a comprehensive focus on engineering design education from being realized. To overcome these time and resource constraints, this paper proposes the use of computational modules within current courses. The investigators hypothesize that the modules would eliminate the repetitive analysis barrier in design problems, thus allowing for design-related experiences to be included earlier in the curricula as opposed to postponing it to a capstone experience. Four major hurdles that hinder successful integration of modules in current engineering courses are: a) engaging students such that they will want to use the modules; b) ensuring the modules are easy to use; c) reducing the complexity of deploying the modules into the classroom; and d) providing educational value. To address these issues, this paper treats the design of the modules as a product design problem. This paper presents the redesign process followed to improve two different design modules planned for implementation in the engineering curriculum at North Carolina State University. Additionally, this research indicates that using a formal redesign process enhances a module’s ability to overcome the hurdles listed above.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():37-46. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71262.

The use of examples in engineering curricula is a commonly used means to teach engineering students new concepts and ideas; these examples play an important role in teaching engineering students how to become technically competent engineers and designers. Being able to learn from examples and avoid fixation to those examples is an important task in that process. Design fixation is a major constraint in design thinking as it limits the solution space where designers search for their ideas. The experiments described in this paper aims to investigate how students fixate to different types of representations. A pilot study comparing sketched and physical representations of examples shows that students are less likely to fixate to the design specifications of examples provided in the form of physical model, this suggests that they are able to better understand the design limitations of examples presented in the form of a physical model. Based on the preliminary results from this pilot experiment, the framework for a follow-up experiment is developed. This second experiment will explore the trend observed in the pilot study further and will compare how students fixate on and derive information between sketched and computer-aided design representations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: Capstone and Cornerstone Experiences

2012;():47-56. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70612.

Often engineering design instruction based on real-world, client-based projects is relegated to a final year capstone course. The engineering program at James Madison University (JMU), however, emphasizes these real-world, client-based design experiences, and places them throughout our six-course engineering design sequence. Our six-course design sequence is anchored by the sophomore design course sequence, which serves as the cornerstone to the JMU engineering design sequence. The cornerstone experience in the sophomore year is meant to enable mastery through both directed and non-directed learning and exploration of the design process and design tools. To that end, students work in both small (4–5) and large (9–11) teams to complete a year-long design project. The course project is woven with instruction in engineering design theory and methodology; individual cognitive processes, thinking, and communication skills; decision making; sustainable design; problem solving; software; and project management.

Students’ overarching task during the first semester is to follow the first two phases of the engineering design process—Planning and Concept Generation—while in the second semester, students work to reiterate on the first two phases of the engineering design process before prototyping, testing, and refining a design for the client. The project culminates with the students demonstrating their final product to the client, University, and local community.

Our goal in this paper is to present our model for integrating real-world, client-based design projects into the sophomore year to facilitate meaningful design experiences across the curriculum. We believe that providing these experiences early and often not only challenges students on multiple dimensions, but also exposes them, and consequently better prepares them, for their eventual role as a practicing engineer. In this paper, we shall describe the sophomore design course sequence, the history and details of the course project, and also key learning outcome gains.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():57-68. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70722.

Senior Design Capstone is a required component of many undergraduate engineering programs. The School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma has incorporated industry sponsored design projects, with Experiential Learning as the model, to develop technical and meta-competencies through the Senior Design Practicum Program. The Mechanical Engineering Capstone program has been developed to provide a learning environment, where students in teams work closely with an industry sponsor and a faculty advisor. The student teams work as a consulting group to produce useful results on an open-ended project to the sponsors’ satisfaction within the constraints of time and budget. Three major program elements, are (1) Student teams to learn and perform the tasks to achieve the desired goals of the project (2) Sponsor to define the problem, guide and accept or reject the results, and (3) Faculty to advise, coordinate, and evaluate. The Capstone program has targeted the energy industry, with a focus on oil and gas, which has a very strong presence in the region. The program, working closely with industry partners as mentors, prepares students for the energy industry. The student outcome and program are evaluated with extensive participation from industry. The program was implemented during 2002–2003. Over the last 10-years the program been able to sustain and grow. The plan that was used to sustain the program relied on developing a learning community of students, faculty and industry to support development of student competencies.

Topics: Design , Competencies
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():69-76. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71081.

Project-based education in combination with problem-based learning has been one of the key factors for the popularity of engineering design education among students at technical universities. The use of industry-connected projects has boosted this popularity still further. To get feedback from professionals in industry is very stimulating and in this way students also get confirmation that their education is related to industrial needs.

In the Machine Design capstone course at KTH Department of Machine Design, the curriculum covers the whole process from idea generation to manufacturing and testing a final prototype. A major part of the course consists of project work where students will develop a product prototype in close cooperation with an industrial partner or with a research project at the department. The benefits of using real prototypes cannot be stressed enough. This is a very efficient way to explain to the students why a product must be designed in a certain way, e.g. to make it possible to assemble.

This means that a major part of the course is using project-based learning as a teaching strategy. In addition, the use of model-based design is introduced as a methodology that enables the students to evaluate and “experience” many different behaviors of the product using digital models in a virtual environment. In this way many undesirable concepts and flaws can be avoided even before a prototype is manufactured.

This paper describes a model-based methodology for product development. It also shows the application of this methodology in project work in a capstone course in engineering design at KTH, and discusses the effects on student motivation and learning.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():77-83. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71503.

In fewer than three years, Velovations, Michigan Tech’s Bicycle Design Enterprise, has already tallied over twenty industry supported research and development projects. Our students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty have worked with SRAM, Pearl Izumi, Saris, Cane Creek, Rolf Prima, RockyMounts, World Bicycle Relief, and others in the bicycle industry. We have worked closely with engineers, designers, and executives at these companies to co-create products that are actually coming to the market. Students have become well versed in innovating products from need understanding all the way through to tooling, including invention disclosures, costing, and industrial design. Students have used their backgrounds in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Electrical Technology, Exercise Science, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Social Sciences in combination with a structured innovation process that borrows heavily from our undergraduate course in capstone design and our graduate course in design thinking to add value to the bicycle industry.

These three years have led us to a very new model for a design experience; one that is both rewarding for students and faculty and challenging to the status quo of research and student projects at universities. The purpose of this paper is to share lessons learned in our program and look towards replication in other industries.

Topics: Design , Bicycles
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: Engineering Design Assessment

2012;():85-93. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70295.

Experiments on engineering design creativity are typically assessed using either process-based (e.g., protocol studies using a coding scheme) or outcome-based approaches (e.g., assessing the ideas generated using a set of metrics). The authors review existing metrics used in outcome-based creativity experiments and analyze their applicability and limitations. In particular, the focus is on a widely used set of metrics for engineering design creativity experiments developed by Shah et al. [17]. These metrics provide robust conceptual definitions for Quality, Novelty and Variety, and various authors use them as a basis for assessment, adapting the metrics to their implementations as needed. Some other authors have proposed modifications to Shah et al.’s metrics as well as improvements. These changes typically address specific implementation issues, and hence, their validity is limited to the experiments at hand. The authors of this paper believe that the detailed implementation of ideation metrics should not only work numerically, but should also be conceptually consistent. Upon discovering previously not discussed issues of these metrics, the authors present modifications to the Shah et al. Novelty and Variety metric implementations. These changes preserve the numerical and conceptual integrity of the original metric forms. Examples from current design engineering creativity experiments are included to better understand the proposed changes to the metrics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():95-102. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70319.

To investigate the impact of personality factors on the novelty and variety of design outcomes, we conducted an experiment with 33 engineering students of various class standings. All students were enrolled in an introductory engineering design class and completed the same design task, improving the functionality of a traffic light while making sure that it runs sustainably. Our results indicate significant impact of two personality dimensions on design outcomes: openness and agreeableness. These results match findings in the literature that show significant impact of certain personality dimensions of individual scientists on creative problem solving outcomes. We argue that creative problem solving in the engineering domain can be different, as it might require a higher level of tactile thinking in comparison to science; thus, investigation of the impact of personality on creative outcomes was necessary. Accordingly, we recommend measuring and using the personality dimensions as co-variates in empirical observations of design outcomes.

Topics: Design , Performance
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():103-110. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70415.

This paper investigates metrics to predict performance and creativity of final products at the early stages of product design, i.e., at concept selection and proof-of-concept (POC) prototyping. Three deliverables (concept sketches, POC prototypes, and final products) in a project-based design class are evaluated using Creative Product Semantic Scale (CPSS). Then, CPSS scores are analyzed using correlation analysis to find CPSS of concept sketches or POC prototypes that significantly correlate with CPSS or performance of final products. The preliminary results of this paper indicate that CPSS subscales may be used to predict performance and creativity of final products; that the earlier the stage of the design process is, the more difficult it is to predict performance of final products; and that building fully-functional prototypes is important to test performance of design concepts.

Topics: Creativity , Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():111-119. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71218.

This paper presents the results of two years of a three-year longitudinal study on the impact of design education on students’ design thinking and practice. Two engineering majors in a large research-intensive state university are being studied. The control group is a major focused on engineering mechanics. The experimental group is a mechanical engineering major that uses design as a context for its curriculum. A task-independent protocol analysis method grounded in the Function-Behavior-Structure design ontology is utilized to provide a common basis for comparing students across discipline and year. This study reports data collected at the beginning and at the end of students’ sophomore year, and at the end of their junior year. Students in the experimental group completed an introductory mechanical design course, while students in the control group had no formal design component in their curriculum. The results of analyzing and comparing the percent occurrences of design processes and problem-solution index from the protocol analysis of both cohorts are presented. These results provide an opportunity to investigate and understand how students’ design cognition is affected by a design course.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: Experiential Learning in Design and New Pedagogy for Engineering Design Education

2012;():121-134. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70625.

The consideration of function is prevalent across numerous domains as a technique allowing complex problems to be abstracted into a form more readily solvable. In engineering design, functional models tend to be of a more generalized nature, and consequently, engineering design derived functional representations do not aim to replace domain specific models but to encapsulate those models at a higher and more integrated system level. While the value of function in engineering design seems to be generally recognized, it remains a difficult concept to teach to students of engineering design. In this paper, an algorithmic approach to teaching function and functional model generation is presented. The approach uses a series of grammar rules to assemble function chains from a list of enumerated functions desired of the final product. Function chains can then be aggregated into a complete functional model. The approach has been trialed with senior capstone design students taught about functionality as well as how to generate a black box model and how to enumerate functions. Student-generated functional models are compared to expert generated functional models in the paper. Preliminary results indicate that a student with limited functional modeling experience could follow the prescribed algorithm to generate an aggregated functional model based solely on a black box model.

Topics: Teaching
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():135-144. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70834.

The paper is based on the experience matured in ten years of teaching “Product Design and Development” at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Calabria (Italy).

This paper is focused on the consideration that many of the methods employed during product design activity share a matrix formulation as a means of collecting and managing project data and that students must be familiarized with the use of this kind of data structure in a very different way from their previous experiences, because project management can be pursued by mapping information from one method to another.

Students are in fact guided to organize data related to the design on which they are involved in order to guarantee that the information can be mapped from one formulation to another, meaning that they have the whole design process under control. Attention will be paid to the pedagogic aspects and problems associated with the way how information can be collected and ranked and how a decision can be made.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():145-149. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71150.

The Risk in Early Design (RED) tool is a knowledge base containing numerous engineering failure modes associated with the functionality of failed components along with measures of their occurrence and severity. This knowledge base is queried by function (represented using the functional basis lexicon) and historical risk information is presented to the user. To investigate the effectiveness of such a knowledge base in a classroom setting, a formal experiment was constructed and implemented within a large freshman engineering design course involving the identification of a failure mode of a power drill. The control group used a traditional failure analysis technique utilizing a failure mode effects and criticality assessment (FMECA) template. The experimental group utilized a similar technique but was given access to the RED tool. The results of the experiment were blocked by lab section. The experiment showed that RED provided a statistically significant improvement in teams’ ability to identify an exact failure (a 15.6% improvement with a p-value of 0.047). Other observations and measures studied that did not have statistically significant outcomes are reported as well.

Topics: Students , Risk
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():151-160. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71153.

This is the second paper in a four-part series focused on a competency-based approach for personalized education in a group setting. In the first paper, we focus on identifying the competencies and meta-competencies required for the 21st century engineers. In this paper, we provide an overview of an approach to developing competencies needed for the fast changing world and allowing the students to be in charge of their own learning. The approach fosters “learning how to learn” in a collaborative environment. We believe that two of the core competencies required for success in the dynamically changing workplace are the abilities to identify and manage dilemmas. In the third paper, we discuss our approach for helping students learn how to identify dilemmas in the context of an energy policy design problem. The fourth paper is focused on approaches to developing the competency to manage dilemmas associated with the realization of complex, sustainable, socio-techno-eco systems.

The approach is presented in the context of a graduate-level course jointly offered at University of Oklahoma, Norman and Washington State University, Pullman during Fall 2011. The students were asked to identify the competencies needed to be successful at creating value in a culturally diverse, distributed engineering world at the beginning of the semester. The students developed these competencies by completing various assignments designed to collaboratively answer a Question for Semester (Q4S). The Q4S was focused on identifying and managing dilemmas associated with energy policy and the next generation bridging fuels. A unique aspect of this course is the collaborative structure in which students completed these assignments individually, in university groups and in collaborative university teams. The group and team structures were developed to ultimately aid individual learning. The details of the answer to the Q4S are elaborated in the other three papers which address identifying and managing dilemmas, specifically related to Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) policy and bridging fuels.

The fundamental principles of our approach include a shift in the role of the instructor to orchestrators of learning, shift in the role of students to active learners, providing opportunities to learn, shift in focus from lower levels to upper levels of learning, creation of learning communities, embedding flexibility in courses, leveraging diversity, making students aware of the learning process, and scaffolding. Building on our experience in the course, we discuss specific ways to foster the development of learning organizations within classroom settings. Additionally, we present techniques for scaffolding the learning activities in a distributed classroom based on systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, a shared vision, and team learning. The approach enables personalized learning of individuals in a group setting.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():161-174. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71163.

The pedagogy and outcomes of a course Designing for Open Innovation designed to empower 21st century engineering students to develop competencies associated with innovating in an inter-connected technologically flat world are described in four parts:

1. Competencies for Innovating in the 21st Century, [1].

2. Developing Competencies in the 21st Century Engineer, [2].

3. Identifying Dilemmas Embodied in 21st Century Engineering - this paper.

4. Managing Dilemmas Embodied in 21st Century Engineering, [3].

In the first paper we describe the core characteristics of the engineering in an interconnected world and identify the key competencies and meta-competencies that 21st century engineers will need to innovate and negotiate solutions to issues associated with the realization of systems.

In the second paper, we describe our approach to fostering learning and the development of competencies by an individual in a group setting. We focus on empowering the students to learn how to learn as individuals in a geographically distanced, collaborative group setting.

We assert that two of the core competencies required for success in the dynamically changing workplace are the competencies to first identify and then to manage dilemmas. In this paper, we illustrate how students have gone about identifying dilemmas and in the fourth paper how they have attempted to manage dilemmas. In papers three and four students briefly describe the challenges that they faced and their takeaways in the form of team learning and individual learning.

We suggest that dilemmas associated with innovation cannot be solved they can only be managed. We assert that 20th century problem solving paradigms are ineffective for addressing 21st century dilemmas in which there are multiple and diverse stakeholders who are called on to find an acceptable solution to the competing interests such as profit, environment and socio-cultural. In this paper, we focus on how the students learned to identify dilemmas associated with the realization of complex, sustainable, socio-techno-eco systems, namely, energy policy design. The principal outcome is clearly not the result attained but a student’s ability to learn how to learn as illustrated through the development of personal competencies of two students (Bertus and Khosrojerdi) in a collaborative learning framework and environment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():175-184. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71168.

In this session we describe in four parts the pedagogy and out-comes of a course Designing for Open Innovation designed to empower 21st century engineering students to develop competencies associated with innovating in an inter-connected technologically flat world:

1. Competencies for Innovating in the 21st Century, [1].

2. Developing Competencies In The 21st Century Engineer, [2].

3. Identifying Dilemmas Embodied in 21st Century Engineering, [3].

4. Managing Dilemmas Embodied in 21st Century Engineering - this paper.

In the first paper we describe the core characteristics of the engineering in an interconnected world and identify the key competencies and meta-competencies that 21st century engineers will need to innovate and negotiate solutions to issues associated with the realization of systems.

In the second paper, we describe our approach to fostering learning and the development of competencies by an individual in a group setting. We focus on empowering the students to learn how to learn as individuals in a geographically distanced, collaborative group setting.

We assert that two of the core competencies required for success in the dynamically changing workplace are the competencies to first identify and then to manage dilemmas. In the third paper, we illustrate how students have gone about identifying dilemmas and in the fourth paper how they have attempted to manage dilemmas. In papers three and four students have briefly described the challenges that they faced and their takeaways in the form of team learning and individual learning.

In this the last of four papers in this session, we focus on how students learned to manage dilemmas associated with the realization of complex, sustainable, socio-techno-eco systems, namely, energy policy design. The example involves the identification of a bridging fuel that balances environmental, economic and socio-cultural concerns. The principal outcome is clearly not the result attained but a student’s ability to learn how to learn as illustrated through the development of personal competencies in a collaborative learning framework and environment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():185-196. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71170.

This is the first paper in a four-part series focused on a competency-based approach for personalized education in a group setting. In this paper, we focus on identifying the competencies and meta-competencies required for the 21st century engineers. These competencies are the ability to be able perform a specific task, action or function successfully. In the second paper, we provide an overview of an approach to developing competencies needed for the fast changing world and allowing the students to be in charge of their own learning. The approach fosters “learning how to learn” in a collaborative environment. We believe that two of the core competencies required for success in the dynamically changing workplace are the abilities to identify and manage dilemmas. In the third paper, we discuss our approach for helping students learn how to identify dilemmas in the context of an energy policy design problem. The fourth paper is focused on approaches to developing the competency to manage dilemmas associated with the realization of complex, sustainable, socio-techno-eco systems.

A deep understanding of innovation-related competencies will be required if we are to meet the needs of our graduates in preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century. In recent years development of competencies for innovation, especially in engineering, has received signification attention. The nature of innovation and its components needs to be identified and analyzed to determine proper ways to nurture and develop them in engineering students.

There are two levels of competencies in any professional field, field-specific task competencies, and generalized skill sets, or meta-competencies. The task-specific competencies are benchmarks for graduates in a given field. Their level of attainment defines how well graduates are prepared to meet job demands and excel in the future. The general (meta) competencies are skill sets that enable them to function more globally, such as to work with others, function in organizations and meet organizational demands, and transfer task-specific skills to new challenges they have not encountered before.

Topics: Competencies
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():197-205. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71358.

The interdisciplinary nature of engineering design and the pervasiveness of electronics in most products has made it necessary for practitioners of “design thinking” to understand electronics and embedded systems, in order to expand their concept exploration space. This poses a significant challenge for mechanical engineers, whose knowledge of electronics is typically limited. A course in mechatronics is available to enhance this knowledge, however it is taught separate from product design and CAD/Toy Design, and students often do not get the opportunity to combine these elements. With an open source microcontroller platform (Arduino™) that allows for easy programming, we see an oppportunity to blend design thinking into a larger domain of engineering. In this paper, we propose a platform that would simplify the incorporation of electronics into a design. The proposed platform will utilize the Arduino™, along with a modular architecture for designing electronic systems, as well as modular program segments for controlling these systems which can be easily customized to meet student requirements. This will enable students in a toy design course to integrate electro-mechanical systems into their designs, while at the same time providing useful electronic knowledge which can be used in their future careers. The toy design projects utilize a Problem-Based Learning [1, 2] approach that will allow students to familiarize themselves with the synthesis and programming of these systems. We describe two student test teams that were introduced to this electronic integration in an existing toy design course, and we use our observations to inform the design of the proposed platform.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Design

2012;():207-218. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70433.

Innovative products are the holy grail for consumer product manufacturers. The essence of what makes a product innovative and in-demand by consumers is a nebulous subject. The research presented in this paper charts the initial steps toward computer-directed innovation in product design. A method for identifying the innovative subsystems in a product and archiving that information is formulated. The innovation information, if archived in a design repository, can support automatic concept generation that is biased toward innovative concepts. Products featured in published lists of innovative products were reverse engineered to expose the component and functional relationships and to analyze where the innovation of the product was most prevalent. A function subtraction method based on difference rewards is used to isolate innovation functions and components in order to populate a Repository of Innovative Products (RIP). The goal behind this research is to develop a method to analyze innovative products such that they may aid in the innovation of future ideas outputted by the Design Repository. This methodology will be used in undergraduate design classes to teach how to factor in creativity and innovation in the early stages of engineering concept design.

Topics: Creativity , Education
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():219-225. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70593.

This paper presents the results of a study designed to evaluate the effect of attending an intensive remedial course based on desktop augmented reality exercises to improve the spatial ability of freshman engineering students. Many of these students have problems in managing visual information or in creating mental models of objects represented by their orthographic projections. The study reports about research on comparison tests about the spatial skills of engineering students from two Spanish universities before and after performing a specific training for improving these abilities. The training was completed by 66 students as participants, considering a control group composed of 25 students from both universities. Results show that students from both universities improve their spatial ability and there is no statistical significance between students from both universities, neither before nor after training, so we may conclude that training’s effect on both universities is analogue.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():227-235. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70610.

One of the common goals in engineering design education is to provide real-world experiences that mimic the design experiences a student might encounter once graduated. An approach we use in the School of Engineering (SOE) at James Madison University (JMU) is a multidisciplinary pairing of business students from the College of Business and engineering students from the School of Engineering. Engineering and business students are positioned to learn from each other, and to collaborate together as they develop a feasible project plan for a two-year engineering project. In this paper, we present a study investigating the differing perceptions between faculty advisors, engineering students, and business students related to the successful capstone plan development. We hypothesized that each of the different functional groups (business students, engineering students, and faculty advisors) would have different view points on the planning and status of the infant capstone projects. The results indicate that, in the areas of planning and scheduling, the advisors are grouped with the engineering students, and in the areas of directing and controlling, the advisors are grouped with the business students. The time horizon of the students guides how they view unresolved problems with the planning and status of the project. This led to the business students, who were on the project for only one semester, to stand apart in their pessimistic assessment of the planning and scheduling of the project. The engineering students, who are on the project for the full two years, tended to be more optimistic about the directing and controlling aspects of the project.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():237-245. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70819.

Many tools and methods claim to be “innovative”. Most belong either to project management, engineering design or creativity approaches. “Innovation Management” literature usually discusses “success patterns” for Innovation based on case studies, but hardly process the comprehensive support of innovation activities. It seems that there is a strategic gap between traditional idea-realization processes that focus on reliable project management and the diffuse situation in ever faster changing environments with unclear opportunities and risks. To professionally reinforce strategic innovation activities it is necessary to define a resilient framework. This paper discusses a new view on the field of innovation that is based on the comprehensiveness of philosophy. Fundamental definitions of early philosophers on the interdependencies of the “co-evolution of the world” are applied to define an “Innovation Philosophy”. This is transformed into an “Innovation Strategy” that comprises a repeatable “Innovation Process” for guiding teams through Innovation Projects.

Topics: Innovation
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():247-256. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70925.

This paper examines how the generation of entrepreneurs 50+ should be addressed in order to raise their interest for improving their skills, and how young entrepreneurs and students can profit from the seniorpreneurs’ expertise in production processes and market knowledge as well as from their networks. To promote the promising synergies arising from the collaboration of young and elderly entrepreneurs a project was initiated that combines an integrated product development with business plan design support. Prospective entrepreneurs with industrial experience (seniorpreneurs) and innovative product ideas are matched with multidisciplinary student teams to generate a going-to-market prototype as a basis for starting new businesses. From the standpoint of research and development the balance is excellent with several promising product innovations and business plans for entrepreneurial implementation. The perspective of science and technology transfer demands an urgent desideratum to bring the accumulated value potential into the market.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():257-266. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71021.

Engineering educators and practitioners have suggested that collaborative-competitive team design events promote innovation. These competitions are popular, and they attract sponsors and participants. Beyond being popular, they are believed to provide rich learning opportunities for students. We are currently investigating combining student centered learning to have a more appropriate mix of theory and experience (hands-on activities) to provide a complete experiential learning environment to foster innovation and creativity.

In this paper we investigate the theoretical models that can be used to model the Sooner Racing Team (SRT) of University of Oklahoma. Experiential Learning is the foundation to develop the competencies of students engaged in SRT. The SRT is setup as a learning organization and relies on peer-learning to facilitate developing innovation related meta-competencies.

Topics: Creativity , Teams , Students
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():267-276. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71454.

Engineering graduates in advancing economies are not only expected to have engineering knowledge, but also use them in creative and innovative ways. The importance of visual thinking has been critical for creativity and innovation in design. However, today’s engineering students are proficient in detailed design tools but lacking in conceptual design and ideation, and engineering curricula needs to develop a more effective framework for teaching visual thinking. In this paper, we report our efforts to embed principles of design thinking and visual thinking practices, like McKim’s “seeing, imagining and drawing” cycle [1]. We use a toy design course in mechanical engineering for our pilot study as a scaffold for introducing these principles in an engaging, creative, and fun environment. We introduced free-hand sketching as a tool for visual thinking during the design and communication of concepts. We also report the impact of these changes through information gleaned from student feedback surveys and analysis of design notebooks. We use our findings to propose ways to provide the students with a set of balanced techniques that help them in visual thinking, communication, and design. An improved implementation of this experience is discussed and future work is proposed to overcome barriers to thinking and communication.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: International Design and Design Education

2012;():277-283. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70079.

The early stages of product development are arguably the most important in the design of successful products. This paper describes different approaches to the conceptual design phase of product development, how they are taught to undergraduate engineering students, and how they are practiced in industry both in Germany and in the United States. The authors note that teaching the early stages of product development to future engineers at German Universities is more focused on methodology and processes. In the United States teaching design is more about being creative and overcoming individual constraints in order to find good and unconventional concepts. To understand how the conceptual phase is implemented in industry, the authors interviewed 16 companies in Germany and the United States. A thematic analysis was performed on the responses. In German industry, the authors observe uncertainty about how to apply process management in the very early stage of product development where different concepts are developed and evaluated. In U.S. industry most companies do not claim to follow a process during the early stage of concept development. Observing the differences between what is taught to engineering students in school and what is practiced in industry some conclusions recommendations are drawn. The observations demonstrate a weakness in process reliability during the early stage of product development both, in German and U.S. industry that should motivate academia to adapt its pedagogy in order to enable future engineers to create successful concepts.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():285-296. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70539.

As more products compete in the global marketplace, it is increasingly important to bring cultural and societal issues into engineering education to help contextualize design decisions. When product dissection activities are used to contextualize these decisions, they focus primarily on function, form, and fabrication, failing to highlight the importance of cultural influences that can impact global product design. The paradigm of product archaeology has been developed to address the shortcomings of product dissection activities and create inductive learning activities that help students better contextualize their engineering design knowledge. Inspired by the findings in our own rice cooker dissection and analysis, an experiment is conducted to evaluate the incorporation of rice cookers into product archaeology activities in a product dissection course. The purpose of adding rice cookers to the consumer goods section of the course is to expose students to the cultural issues of rice cooker design (e.g., product functions and features based on cooking and dietary needs). Student responses were collected and analyzed, including the numbers of correct responses, sketches of mechanisms and components, suggestions for design improvements, and feedback on cultural needs. Future improvements to the exercise are also discussed.

Topics: Design , Students
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():297-303. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71435.

Incidence of surgical site infection is 2–5 times higher in developing nations as compared to developed nations. A low-cost, easy to use autoclave was designed to address the unique technical, behavioral, and market challenges present in rural, health posts of the developing world. A thorough stakeholder analysis was performed very early in the design process to address non-technical needs for sustained user adoption as well as manufacturability and scalability. Twelve partnering clinics in Nepal trialed these autoclaves from July until December 2012. Usage statistics and follow-up observations highlight important factors for successful adoption. These findings were used to improve the autoclave design. The goal of this paper is to detail a case study and methodology to incorporate multiple stakeholder needs into the early design process.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

9th International Conference on Design Education: K-12 and STEM

2012;():305-312. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70461.

In light of society’s increasing awareness with regards to the health of the environment, many engineering firms are hiring recent engineering graduates with project- (or course-) based experience in environmental sustainability. Currently engineering schools at the collegiate level have addressed this need by modifying their curricula by including additional coursework on sustainability related subjects. The next step of adaptation calls for a holistic treatment of sustainability concepts by integrating them within traditional coursework. Engineering schools have not yet addressed the best way to accomplish this integration due to the concerns stemming from the increase in cognitive load and scheduling pressure. Additionally, it has been shown that K-12 curricula also lack exposure to sustainable thinking. As a result, incoming freshmen are not aware of the inherent correlations between engineering principles, e.g. heat transfer, and environmental sustainability. To prepare the next generation of innovative thinkers to solve these complex, interdisciplinary issues, engineering principles must be contextualized in terms of sustainable design at both the K-12 and undergraduate levels. To meet this need, the authors developed a general framework for introducing sustainable design thinking into K-12 student projects. A pilot case is presented to illustrate a particular student’s (listed as a co-author) growth through a newly gained understanding of environmental sustainability through experimentation. The project specifically addresses various insulation materials for residential buildings by judging their individual environmental advantages and economic feasibility. The main outcome of this project is the extensive redesign of an existing undergraduate heat and mass transfer lab experiment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():313-322. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70563.

Many educational models are derived from a specific pedagogical stance ultimately manifesting into teacher personal pedagogy based on previous knowledge and inherent instinct. Past educational models like T4E emphasize core concepts such as structure of content for the learner, effective and engaging communication, and promotion and encouragement of hands-on learning. However, many of the educational models fall short of showing teachers how to implement new methods in their classrooms, and in providing them with the needed tools. The CAPSULE professional development was created and designed to fill this gap. Further, CAPSULE is designed to address the existing national problem of lack of interest in STEM subjects with high school students. Nevertheless, the problem is not with students but in the delivery method of STEM education. There is a disconnect between abstract STEM concepts and real-world application, therefore a loss of interest by students. Engineering-based learning (EBL) is a new approach that was designed to mitigate this problem by using existing and established tools and apply them to the high school classroom. EBL utilizes the engineering-design process (EDP), computer-aided design (CAD), and the capstone experience to relate theoretical STEM concepts to real-world applications. By leveraging these tools, we have created a unique methodology to take a recognized university capstone course model and modify it for high school STEM courses. The purpose of this study is to contribute to our understanding of how high school students learn and absorb basic STEM principles. Our goal is to disseminate engineering-based learning through our teacher professional development workshop. This paper presents the CAPSULE model and teacher feedback. It also presents sample implementation plans of teachers in their classroom as well as their student feedback.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Affordances

2012;():325-339. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70933.

To compensate for the inability of the functional descriptions to describe for instance interactions between users and artifacts, the term affordance has been introduced in design methodology by Maier and Fadel. However, some significant details of affordance such as representation, categorization, and application to mechanical design still need to be further studied. Therefore, this paper reviews and compares the use of the term affordance in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), design, psychology, and philosophy. Based on that review, a new categorization scheme of affordances applicable for product design is proposed. The categories including doing and happening Artifact-Artifact Affordances (dAAA and hAAA), doing and happening Artifact-Environment Affordances (dAEA and hAEA), and doing and happening Artifact-User Affordances (dAUA and hAUA) are identified and an initial statistical evaluation is performed to support this proposal. The detailed description of these affordances provides better coverage, more orthogonality, more depth, and could be more usable, eventually meeting the requirements of a taxonomy.

Topics: Product design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():341-353. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71017.

People interact with artifacts, either products or services, in their lives. These interactions are based on two-way communication between people and artifacts. The characteristics of artifacts that induce natural activities of people, affordances, play critical roles in making interactions successful and meaningful. The notion of affordance features, structural elements of artifacts that provide affordances, has been proposed earlier. In this paper, a methodological framework for design for affordances is proposed where repository of affordance features are used. First affordances are identified through function-task interaction matrices or use activity observations. Using affordance feature repository where many alternative structural elements for a specific affordance are stored together with corresponding design constraints and contexts, affordance features for those identified affordances are retrieved considering similarities between the target design constrains and context and those of the affordance features in the repository. Using the clues given by such affordance features, the new affordance feature is to be designed through an analogical reasoning. We present this design for affordance framework as well as an illustrative case where various designers designed affordance features of a tumbler coffee cup using an affordance feature repository.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():355-363. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71253.

In this paper, we apply design-by-affordance methodology to the problem of environmentally significant behavior. Affordances, as originally formulated, represent opportunities for action offered by a product. Subsequent work explored the use of affordances, defined as context-dependent relations between artifacts and users, in lieu of functions as a basis for design. While others have also developed detailed deductive methods of discovering affordances in products, we present affordance listing as an expedient technique for inductively discovering relevant affordances. We also present affordance transfer, a method for redesigning products to encourage environmentally significant behavior. We conclude by discussing insights gained from applying our two approaches.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():365-372. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71432.

Understanding the mechanisms of technology change is essential for planning multi-generational products, especially for complex systems where subsystem interaction plays a central role. Recently, affordance theory has been proposed as an alternative modeling perspective to the current function-based approach. Using the affordance formulation of Gibson and the technology model of Heidegger, we demonstrate an affordance-based approach providing novel analytical insight into the nature of technical artifacts. This model accounts for the core of function-based methods and provides insight into static and dynamic accounts of performance level, principle of operation, and technology architecture. Implications of this affordance approach are discussed and future research is proposed. Implications include the possibility of reconciling and integrating function and affordance theory, accounting for the fundamental nature of technology change, and augmenting technology theory with a number of affordance-derived analytical principles. Opportunities for future research include development of practical tools for analyzing over-time dynamics and exploration of affordance theory’s implications for modular and product family design.

Topics: Modeling
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Biologically Inspired Design

2012;():373-382. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70732.

Identifying relevant analogies from biology is a significant challenge in biomimetic design. Our natural-language approach addresses this challenge by developing techniques to search biological information in natural-language format, such as books or papers. This paper presents the application of natural-language processing techniques, such as part-of-speech tags, typed-dependency parsing, and syntactic patterns, to automatically extract and categorize causally related functions from text with biological information. Causally related functions, which specify how one action is enabled by another action, are considered important for both knowledge representation used to model biological information and analogical transfer of biological information performed by designers. An extraction algorithm was developed and scored F-measures of 0.78–0.85 in an initial development test. Because this research approach uses inexpensive and domain-independent techniques, the extraction algorithm has the potential to automatically identify patterns of causally related functions from a large amount of text that contains either biological or design information.

Topics: Design , Biomimetics
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():383-391. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70928.

Although Biologically-Inspired Design (BID) is gaining popularity, state-of-the-art approaches for systematic BID are still limited by the required interactive work which is proportional to the applied biological database size. This interactive work, depending on the adopted methodology, might encompass model instantiation for each strategy in the biological database, classification into a predefined scheme or extensive result filtering. This contribution presents a first scalable approach to systematic BID with the potential to leverage large numbers of biological strategies. First, a focused webcrawler, based on a combination of Support Vector Machines (SVM), continuously searches for biological strategies on the Internet. The solution to this needle-in-a-haystack task is shown to produce biological strategies interesting for cross-domain Design-by-Analogy (DbA). These resources are then automatically positioned into Ask Nature’s well-known Biomimicry Taxonomy; a 3-level hierarchical classification scheme that enables designers to identify biological strategies relevant to their specific design problem. This paper details the architecture of the proposed system, and presents results indicating the feasibility of the applied approach.

Topics: Design , Biomimetics
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():393-401. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71296.

Categorizing biological information can be subjective and ambiguous, which poses challenges for indexing potentially useful biological information for design. Therefore, we explored collective categorization to study the categorization task. After gathering 163 examples of biological transformation, we asked four participants to independently categorize the examples using self-selected approaches. A computational algorithm was used to quantify the relatedness between the groups that each participant created. The results confirmed that participants had different perspectives in interpreting and categorizing biological information. However, the collective categorization method could reveal meaningful semantics in biological information such as hierarchical, synonymous, or causal relations. The relations discovered could lead to developing formal representations or learning unique patterns in biological phenomena.

Topics: Design , Biomimetics
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():403-413. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71511.

Bioinspired design, the practice of looking to nature to find inspiration for engineering design, is becoming an increasingly desired approach to design. It allows designers to tap a wealth of time-tested solutions to difficult problems in a domain rarely considered by designers. Only recently have researchers developed organized, systematic methods for bioinspired design. These methods include BioTRIZ, an extension of functional modeling for bioinspired design, engineering-to-biology keyword translation tools, and specialized design tools like DANE and SAPPHIRE. These organized methods are currently active research efforts. Traditionally, however, bioinspired design has been conducted without the benefit of any organized method. Without the support of formal methods, designers have relied on the “directed method” of bioinspired design. The directed method approach simply directs designers to consider how nature might approach a problem in order to help designers find solutions. This paper presents an experiment to explore the impact upon idea generation of simply contemplating how nature would solve a design problem. This experiment is foundationally important to bioinspired engineering design method research. The results of this experiment serve as a fundamental baseline and benchmark for the comparison of more systematic, and often more involved, bioinspired design methods.

A group of 121 novice designers are given one of two design problems and instructed to either generate solutions using the “directed method,” considering how nature would solve the problem, or to generate solutions without being prompted to use any method. Based on the findings presented here, the directed method offers designers no advantage in the average number of non-redundant ideas the designers can produce, the average quality of their solutions, the average solution novelty, or the variety of solutions proposed. Overall, this investigation finds no significant difference in idea generation between the directed method and the control condition. In conclusion, systematic and organized methods for bioinspired design should instead be sought to effectively leverage nature’s design knowledge.

Topics: Design , Biomimetics
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Creativity and Ideation

2012;():415-424. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70294.

The objective of this paper is to present experimental results of a specific ideation method: TRIZ. Our hypothesis is that TRIZ improves the creativity of subjects using it as observed in the produced design outcomes. The experiments were conducted simultaneously at two institutions: University of Texas at El Paso and University of Maryland. The same ideation task was used at both institutions, a redesign of a traffic light that uses Light-emitting Diodes (LED) instead of incandescent bulbs challenging the designer subject with the issue of snow accumulation since LED’s do not melt the snow. The assessment was performed on the outcome (i.e., ideas generated) using quantity, novelty and variety as metrics. Numerical results show that using TRIZ improved the Novelty and Variety of the concepts generated by students at both institutions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():425-436. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70309.

Successful Idea Generation (IG) is more likely to lead to original and innovative products. It is usually recommended that idea generation is done in groups. Specifically, progressive idea generation methods, such as 6-3-5/C-Sketch, have been developed to gain from the benefits of group based ideation while being less subject to the peer pressure of a typical brainstorming session, where people can call out ideas simultaneously. In this study, we investigate the contributions that the group makes to the initial ideas in such progressive idea generation.

Participants developed concepts for one of two products, namely alarm clocks or litter grabbers. Statistical analysis was used to compare the results of the initial ideas to the entire group for both products. Samples were rated at feature level using three metrics: originality, number of innovation characteristics hit, and feasibility.

Results indicate that, in general, the originality and innovativeness of the initial concepts is improved by the rest of the group members. Non-original initial ideas were improved in all four sample groups. Highly original initial ideas also were improved in most cases. Feasibility was generally lowered, but not with statistical significance. Results from the perspective of particular product feature and innovation characteristic categories were varied; some more popular than others.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():437-446. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70325.

Problem formulation is an important part of the design process that has been largely underexplored. Similarly, the relationship between how designers formulate problems and creative outcome is not well understood. To shed light on what the process of problem formulation can tell us about creativity in design, we use the problem map model — a flexible, domain-independent ontology for modeling the design formulation process — to analyze protocols from eight expert designers. In this paper, we discuss the effectiveness of using problem maps for coding design protocols and what the problem map model can tell us about the protocols of designers. In this exploratory study, we use the problem map model to code and analyze the problem formulation stage of the design process.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():447-460. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71416.

In response to the call for multi-functional products, we have developed several relevant ideation techniques. These techniques are tailored for design of transformers — devices with multiple functional states. In this paper, we present significant advancements in transformational design. Primarily, we introduce a method to enhance quality, novelty, and feasibility (QNF) of design solutions. The method is used to classify design problem context and suggest pursuit of one of the two following device archetypes, transformer or monomorph — devices with a single functional state. The Indicators method is associated with a significantly increased probability of producing a design problem solution with higher QNF than a control (standard) design method. The claim that this method is accurate, its results are repeatable, and usage thereof enhances QNF is supported by a network of experiments and analyses. Statistical analysis is used to establish the accuracy, precision and repeatability of the method. Industry-standard qualitative methods, including inter-rater reliability analysis, demonstrate that usage of the Indicators method enhances design concept QNF. Concurrent minor analyses highlight the novelty of transformable designs; and some positive psychological effects of using the method. Additionally, the contextual (archetype) indicators have shown implicit promise as a core element for future research into ideation methods.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Environmentally Sustainable Design

2012;():461-474. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70274.

A prime is an artifact, exposure, or experience that stimulates increased cognitive accessibility of mental content. Priming designers has thus far focused on generating more features, novel features, relevant features, and addressing latent customer needs. This article presents a design method that uses priming specifically to help designers to communicate sustainability via design at an early stage in the design process. The authors have determined that sustainable products face a special challenge in the market because many of their best features, such as decreased energy usage, recyclability, or material selection, are hidden from the customer. Marketing messages are not always trusted. Designers need to communicate sustainability to the customer through product features that customer will identify as sustainable. We propose and test a new design method that designers can use to generate product features that communicate sustainability to the customer. The method involves priming the designer with a sensory-heightening activity before generating ideas for sustainable features. We investigate primes in the form of a questionnaire or a collage activity. The design method significantly helps designers to generate product features that communicate sustainability.

Topics: Sustainability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():475-484. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70339.

During the past decades the building industry has had a great focus on energy consumption during the use phase of a building, but currently a more holistic view of the entire lifecycle of a building is starting to emerge. With this follows a greater interest in which building materials and techniques of construction are considered. At the same time the request for a living environment free from toxins and allergenic substances, providing the basis for stress-free living and working conditions is increasingly demanded by clients for newly built homes. Since straw built houses supply a possible solution for these demands, while also offering the opportunity for very financially competitive solutions, it is of interest to determine their appropriateness in the design phase of a building. Through a study carried out by means of a review of the current state of the-art literature on straw construction, and a series of qualitative interviews with a variety of stakeholders from previous straw build housing projects, results were gathered to find the most influential motives, barriers and considerations for straw build housing construction. Based on this empirical data, a design guide has been produced to support communication between clients and the consultants and facilitate the straw build design and decision making process. The intended audiences for the design guide are clients of small scale construction projects, architects, engineers, builders of straw construction, homeowner-builders and entrepreneurs considering the use of, straw construction. The aim of the design guide is both to acting as inspiration for the clients by outlining the benefits, determine whether straw construction would be suitable for a given project, and if so, to suggest a specific approach to the design and development of a successful straw-build project, running through the main considerations and pitfalls. The main concluded difference between straw build and more conventional building techniques is not that there are more difficulties or uncertainties related to straw build, but that they are less commonly dealt with and thus perceived as a barrier to straw build, rather than simply a problem of a general character.

Topics: Construction
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():485-500. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70676.

For the past forty years, social science researchers have studied how to encourage pro-environmental behaviors such as the adoption of recycling programs, water conservation strategies, and purchase of sustainable products. This article presents a synthesis of these research findings as they relate to the design of sustainable products and technologies. Research from environmental psychology, consumer studies, economics, decision sciences, public policy, and behavioral psychology are organized into cognitive concepts that are crucial to the successful purchase and use of sustainable products. The cognitive concepts reviewed are: responsibility, complex decision-making skills, decision heuristics, the altruism-sacrifice link, trust, cognitive dissonance/guilt, and motivation. Product examples are provided to highlight the role of these cognitive concepts in sustainable design. Design recommendations and relevant design methods are discussed. The recommendations require dynamic and on-going coordination between designers, manufacturers, marketers, and government policy-makers to achieve positive changes in individuals’ behaviors. The success of sustainable products depends on the success of this coordination.

Topics: Green design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():501-515. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71161.

Increased environmental protection legislation forces manufacturers to employ environmentally conscious design and manufacturing methods. In addition, customer preferences for energy efficient and environmentally sustainable products influence manufacturers design strategies. In order to influence customer buying behaviors for environmentally friendly products, manufacturers need to understand customer preferences first. Manufacturers can make optimal design decisions based on inference on customers’ decision making models. It is recognized that consumers are heterogeneous in their response to different attributes for any given type of product or service. In this paper, we proposed a framework for incorporating heterogeneous customer preferences with Dirichlet Process mixture model for product positioning in environmentally conscious design. The uncertainty about the functional form of the customer preference distribution can be expressed by using a nonparametric prior, in which the number of clusters grows without bound as the amount of data grows. An automobile design case study is used here to demonstrate the proposed approach.

Topics: Design , Preferences
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Form and Style

2012;():517-528. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70313.

Computational design synthesis aims to support human designers throughout the design process. However, most approaches to date are limited to narrow parts of this process. The approach presented in this paper aims to respond to the need for a method that covers not only single aspects of the design process, but the whole design process from requirements to a dimensioned product concept, i.e. product architecture and related parameters. A generic approach is presented that covers requirements engineering, graph grammar-based concept architecture synthesis and automated parameterization of components based on constraint solving. Requirements are elaborated and divided into different categories. Procedures to treat each category of requirement are introduced to provide the initial state for the graph grammar-based concept synthesis. After finishing the automated synthesis based on generic and problem-specific rules, valid solutions for the resulting product concept parameterization are automatically created by setting up and solving a constraint satisfaction problem. Finally, the method is validated through the synthesis of automotive powertrains. This research goes beyond prior work in the field as it provides a continuous and generic approach starting with product requirements and ending with a valid, parameterized product concept.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():529-539. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70434.

Engineers describe design concepts using design variables. Users develop their visual judgment of products by mentally grouping design variables according to Gestalt principles, extracting meaning using semantic dimensions and attaching attributes to the products, as reflected in Kansei methodology. The goal of this study was to assess how these different sources of information and representations of product form (design variables, Gestalt variables, Kansei attributes, and semantic dimensions) could combine to best predict product preference for both designers and users. Sixteen wheel rim designs were created using four design variables that were also combined into higher-order Gestalt variables. Sixty-four participants viewed each rim, and rated it according to semantic dimensions and Kansei attributes, and provided an overall “like” rating. The most reliable prediction of product preference were developed using Gestalt variables in combination with the meaning and emotion the users attached to the product. Finally, implications for designers are discussed.

Topics: Modeling , Preferences
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():541-550. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70717.

This paper introduces a structured approach, based on clustering analysis, to identify groups of visually similar designs (and potentially members of a design style) in a large set of unique designs. We implemented our approach on the population of design patents filed in the USA during the 1976–2010 period. Design patent data is used in our analysis for two reasons: (1) claims of design patents concern the visual aspects of classes of artifacts; (2) similarity between design patents is captured through a tightly controlled citation process. The cluster analysis is based on constructing a similarity index across all pairs of design patents, followed by applying a divisive graph clustering algorithm to organize design patents into a hierarchical tree. Identified clusters of potentially visually similar design patents are tested for positive association against other grouping criteria that are expected to contain similar designs such as design patents filed by the same designer, design patents filed by the same firm, and design patents assigned to the same patent class category. We discuss the implications of our findings for the study of the emergence and evolution of styles in design.

Topics: Algorithms , Design , Patents
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():551-558. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71408.

This paper describes a design exercise that was conducted to investigate what, if any, correlation exists between the functional complexity of a given artifact and its associated physical complexity as defined by design for manufacturing principles. Nine electromechanical consumer products were chosen and evaluated based on function and form. The results of the experiment show that the products demonstrate a significant variability in physical complexity according to design for manufacturing principles for similar if not identical functional complexity. These results demonstrate that function alone is not an adequate way to evaluate the difficulty of realizing a given concept. Performance characteristics of the functional concept must also be considered. The paper concludes with suggestions for future work in order to better understand how performance influences the physical complexity of an artifact.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Information and Communication Technologies in Design

2012;():559-567. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70747.

Integrated product development (IPD) requires the incorporation of downstream concerns during the execution of upstream activities. In this paper, we develop a mathematical model based on dynamic programming (DP) to determine the optimal partial information exchanges between activities in an IPD environment. We provide a novel formulation to optimize the flow of information in a set of sequential activities of any cardinality and show how rework cost can be reduced in an IPD environment. Furthermore, a simulation model is developed to study the effect of integration on the behavior of upstream activities in terms of the frequency and timing of considering partial information. The simulation helps draw out a series of observations about partial information usage, which could be used as general guidelines in an IPD environment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():569-577. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70919.

Observational studies of engineering design activities can inform the research community on the problem solving models that are employed by professional engineers. Design is defined as an ill-defined problem which includes both engineering design and software design, hence understanding problem solving models from other design domains is of interest to the engineering design community. For this paper an observational study of two software design sessions performed for the workshop on “Studying professional Software Design” is compared to analysis from engineering design. These findings provide useful insights of how software designers move from a problem domain to a solution domain and the commonalities between software designers’ and engineering designers’ design activities. The software designers were found to move quickly to a detailed design phase, employ co-evolution and adopt a predominantly depth-first approach to developing their solutions. A mapping between the activities of engineering design onto the activities of a general model of software design is also presented. A discussion about the potential consequences of the key findings across the design domains is described.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():579-590. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70959.

There has been a significant loss of spatial thinking support in the move from paper to computer-based work. Map-based software methods reported here fill this gap while resolving general challenges in deploying software tools into active industrial practice.

The Decision Rationale editor (DRed) has been in use over nine years and 700 engineers have been trained within the partner company. Semi-structured interviews were performed with 13 engineers from diverse departments and with a range of experience levels. Collected examples were analysed for successful methods (what), common contexts of use (where) and advantages over existing tools (why).

Map use seems to focus on problems where multiple poorly defined options need sorting in order to progress work. The diversity of use cases demonstrates a need for increased investment in flexible visual tools to aid human thinking. Future work will expand on the set of collected examples, including attempts to generalize lessons to other software. More detailed experiments are also needed to better understand specific cognitive benefits in the work environment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():591-602. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71023.

The design of complex systems is based on the needs and expectations of multiple stakeholders. Analysing such elements and transforming them into a rigorous system specification is a long and demanding task. This research is interested in supporting engineers and other stakeholders in the specification of system requirements with a focus on requirement analysis. The paper presents an approach to conduct analysis of non-functional requirements in a way that benefits both the engineers involved in the development of the current system, and those who will need to make improvements to it. The approach includes suggestions towards a tool, a representation, and a method. The tool is a software tool that specialises in capturing decision rationale known as Decision Rationale editor (DRed); the representation is adopted from the IBIS notation; the method is based on a model synthesised from literature on requirement analysis.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Interventions and Their Impacts

2012;():603-614. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70407.

Numerous engineering design-decision methods have been developed to assist groups of engineers in making choices within a design problem. However, while there are a variety of methods to choose from, there is no empirical data that exhibits which decision-method is best for specific phases of the design process, or that designers are willing to adopt particular decision methods. Due to this lack of empirical data, industry may not use certain engineering design methods since they do not have the resources or time to investigate which method would work best for them. This work presents the development of a framework to examine various engineering design-decision methods in practice. The framework is used in a pilot study with undergraduate engineering students which compares usage of Pugh’s Controlled Convergence (PuCC) and the Group Hypothetical Equivalent and Inequivalent Method (G-HEIM) to the results of an “informal” method (a group decision that is made without a formalized decision method). Results of the pilot study include documenting the emergence of decision “traps” within each group, assessing student perceptions about using formalized design-decision methods through interviews and surveys (critical to understanding potential barriers to adoption of formal methods), and insight into where formal decision methods are most appropriate within a design process. Finally, a number of changes and additions to the framework and study protocol are identified for future work focused on repeating the study with more participants and potentially in industrial settings.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():615-624. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70421.

This paper explores the effect of a product dissection activity on design novelty in engineering design. Novelty is an important aspect of design ideation effectiveness. Therefore, identifying the factors that influence novelty will expand the understanding of the design process, as well as improve design pedagogy. Previous studies have found that participation in product dissection activities positively impacted creativity, but did not study creativity in terms of novelty, making it unclear if product dissection activities will impact the novelty of generated designs. Furthermore, although product dissection has been studied in team environments, individual factors such as the personality traits of the team members was not explored for their effect on the exposure to the dissection activity, and hence the effect on the novelty of generated designs. Our empirical experimentation showed that extraverted participants had a higher level of exposure to the body design dissection activity and developed more novel ideas than those who were not extraverts. These results contribute to our understanding on how team-based dissection activities influence the novelty of generated designs in an engineering design setting.

Topics: Design , Performance
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():625-632. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71165.

This paper presents the preliminary results of protocol studies to determine the effects of teaching different concept generation techniques to engineering students on their design cognition.

Twenty-two mechanical engineering students were given instructions in the three concept generation techniques of brainstorming, morphological analysis and TRIZ as part of their undergraduate education at a large land grant university. After the instruction for each concept generation technique, the students were formed into the same teams of two. Each team was given the same set of three design tasks, one for each concept generation technique, while their verbalization and gestures were videoed as they designed for a period of 45 minutes.

Students’ design cognition was examined by protocol analysis using the FBS ontologically-based coding scheme. Preliminary results indicate that statistically significant differences in students’ design cognition were observed when using different concept generation techniques.

Topics: Design , Students
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():633-646. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71374.

Functional representations are often used in the conceptual stages of design because they encourage the designer to focus on the intended use and purpose of a system rather than the physical solution. Function models have been proposed by many researchers as a tool to expand the solution search space and guide concept generation, and many design tools have been created to support function-based design. These tools require designers to create function models of new or existing artifacts, but there is limited published research describing the level of functional detail that should be included in a model or the appropriate level of abstraction to model artifacts. Further, there is limited experimental evidence that designers use function models when generating concepts, and controlled experiments in the literature have focused on ideation rather than function models. Therefore, this research focuses on how artifacts should be modeled to guide concept generation in conceptual design.

In this research, three artifact representations are studied: function models, interaction models, and pruned function models. A user study was conducted in which participants were asked to design a new device based on a problem statement, a set of requirements, and a treatment. Participants were randomly assigned a treatment of a function model, interaction model, pruned model, or no model. A conformance metric was developed to measure the extent to which participants used a model when generating concept sketches. The results show that the functional conformance of participants using a pruned model is approximately 40% higher than that of participants using a function model. These results demonstrate that the use of a specific level of functional detail improves the use of functions within the model for concept generation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Managing Design and Innovation

2012;():647-657. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70096.

This paper provides a graph-theoretic framework for assessing the progress potential for a product or class of products based on the underlying knowledge structure. We characterize the knowledge structure based on singular value signatures and extend the characterization to multi-dimensional functional model representations of product knowledge. We show that the progress potential for a product is partially determined by graph properties of the knowledge structure, and whether the graph structure is modular, random, or hierarchically modular. The characterization is empirically tested on energy harvesting devices. Our model connects the knowledge underlying a product to its potential for progress, appropriately taking into account the nature of product knowledge and its ‘complexity’.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():659-671. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70746.

Design is an uncertain human activity involving decisions with uncertain outcomes. Sources of uncertainty in product design include uncertainty in modeling methods, market preferences, and performance levels of subsystem technologies, among many others. The performance of a technology evolves over time, typically exhibiting improving performance. As the performance of a technology in the future is uncertain, quantifying the evolution of these technologies poses a challenge in making long-term design decisions. Here, we focus on how to make decisions using formal models of technology evolution. The scenario of a wind turbine energy company deciding which technology to invest in demonstrates a new technology evolution modeling technique and decision making method. The design of wind turbine arrays is a complex problem involving decisions such as location and turbine model selection. Wind turbines, like many other technologies, are currently evolving as the research and development efforts push the performance limits. In this research, the development of technology performance is modeled as an S-curve; slowly at first, quickly during heavy research and development effort, and slowly again as the performance approaches its limits. The S-curve model typically represents the evolution of just one performance attribute, but designers generally deal with problems involving multiple important attributes. Pareto frontiers representing the set of optimal solutions that the decision maker can select from at any point in time allow for modeling the evolution of technologies with multiple attributes. As the performance of a technology develops, the Pareto frontier shifts to a new location. The assumed S-curve form of technology development allows the designer to apply the uncertainty of technology development directly to the S-curve evolution model rather than applying the uncertainty to the future performance, giving a more focused application of uncertainty in the problem. The multi-attribute technology evolution modeling technique applied in decision-making gives designers greater insight when making long-term decisions involving technologies that evolve.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():673-682. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70805.

To reduce the likelihood that R&D projects fail, companies tend to perform collaborative R&D activities in networks. A fundamental characteristic of networks is stability. This paper introduces a novel approach that theoretically determines the stability of R&D networks and combines the analysis of network topology with a two-layer simulation model.

Graph theory and measures from social network analysis are used to analyze the topology of collaborative R&D project networks. Our study enables us to identify the companies that play a key role in R&D networks. To ensure the right outcome of the collaborative R&D project, participants with a high betweenness centrality index should be monitored. These participants influence the stability of collaborative networks on a large scale. With these insights, an improved risk management approach can be set up.

Topics: Stability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():683-692. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71362.

Although the risks and rewards of outsourcing product design have been argued extensively in the literature, little hard data on project outcomes exist to inform the discussion, and even these are methodologically suspect. To address this gap, this paper uses novel random sampling techniques to locate projects and measure the distribution of project outcomes in one particular type of design outsourcing, domestic design consulting. The results suggest that design consulting outcomes are generally good but vary significantly between projects and consultancies. Overall rates of product commercialization and market success compare favorably to results previously reported for in-house product design, and client satisfaction levels are comparable to those of other service industries.

Topics: Design , Innovation
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Risk and Failure Analysis

2012;():693-704. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70399.

Design projects within large engineering organizations involve numerous uncertainties that can lead to unacceptably high levels of risk. Practicing designers recognize the existence of risk and commonly are aware of events that raise risk levels. However, a disconnect exists between past project performance and current project execution that limits decision-making. This disconnect is primarily due to a lack of quantitative models that can be used for rational decision-making. Methods and tools used to make decisions in risk-informed design generally use an expected value approach. Research in the psychology domain has shown that decision-makers and stakeholders have domain-specific risk attitudes that often have variations between individuals and between companies. Risk methods used in engineering such as Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), and others are often ill-equipped to help stakeholders make decisions based upon risk-tolerant or risk-averse decision-making conditions. This paper focuses on the specific issue of helping stakeholders make decisions under risk-tolerant or risk-averse decision-making conditions and presents a novel method of translating engineering risk data from the domain of expected value into a domain corrected for risk attitude. This is done by using risk utility functions derived from the Engineering-Domain-Specific Risk-Taking (E-DOSPERT) test. This method allows decisions to be made based upon data that is risk attitude corrected. Further, the method uses an aspirational measure of risk attitude as opposed to existing lottery methods of generating utility functions that are based upon past performance. An illustrative test case using a simplified space mission designed in a collaborative design center environment is included. The method is shown to change risk-informed decisions in certain situations where a risk-tolerant or risk-averse decision-maker would likely choose differently than the dictates of the expected value approach.

Topics: Risk
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():705-717. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70527.

The modern automobiles have become software intensive, with electronics features replacing many of the traditionally mechanical systems, and automating many of the drivers’ tasks. This transition brought new challenges to engineering design. The control system software exhibits unprecedented complexity, whose states cannot be exhaustively tested. Software does not fail like hardware due to random noise factors. Electronics and software update and change rapidly. Engineers have limited engineering experience and historical data to draw upon. Automating traditional manual tasks of the drivers may also lead to accidents. Safety regulation for automotive electronics is in its infancy, and standards do not yet provide adequate safety assurance.

Motivated by these challenges, this paper compares a number of hazard analysis methods for their ability to address the challenges posed by the modern automotive electronics systems. The System Theoretic Process and Analysis (STPA) framework developed for system safety engineering presents a paradigm shift, and is the most effective at identifying causes of hazards. As the first application on modern automotive electronic systems, STPA was applied to the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) feature. The outcome was compared with the ACC design standards and the actual vehicle implementation to illustrate the effectiveness of the method.

Topics: Hazard analysis
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():719-726. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70532.

In this paper the failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) process is studied as a human simulation. The cognitive challenges of availability bias, probability inconsistency, and experience weighting are reviewed against a large number of actual FMEAs. The challenges are outlined and improvements to the process presented including pooled scoring and the use of the criticality index.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():727-736. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71003.

This paper presents a method to calculate function and component parameter distributions during the design process. Frequency Weighting, a unique style of weighting proposed in this research, is applied to a Hierarchical Bayesian model to account for the number of times a component has solved a function. During the design process, functions are systematically solved by components to transition from a functional model to a physical design. This research contributes to an ongoing effort toward predicting reliability in early design, specifically during functional modeling and concept generation. In general, reliability prediction methods are applied after concept generation. There currently does not exist a statistical method to calculate functional failure rates to aid reliability prediction during and before concept generation. The method presented in this paper also captures uncertainty in the early stages of design. This is important because uncertainty in this stage of the design process can be significant. A description of the process used to calculate the function and component level failure rate distributions is presented. The level of detail provided is meant for reapplication to other examples. Three examples are worked out and graphical results are presented. These results show an effect of the Frequency Weighting on the function level distribution. Changing the occurrence vector, which is used to show the number of times a set of components has solved a function, from (1, 1, 1, 1) to (1, 1, 2, 5) results in the function level distribution mean value shifting from 5.53E−06 to 4.84E−06. In addition, an example is provided to demonstrate how this method can be applied while components are being selected during the design process. A two part reliability goal is generated for the combined failure rate of the design and the probability a design will meet that goal. Function level distributions are used to show which components should initially be selected to maintain reliability values that meet the reliability goal. Combinations of compatible component level distributions are also used to calculate a combined failure rate distribution for each design. A probability is calculated for each distribution to show which designs meet the probability portion of the reliability goal.

Topics: Failure
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Sketching

2012;():737-747. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70248.

Sketching and prototyping of design concepts have long been valued as tools to support productive early stage design. This study investigates previous findings about the interplay between the use and timing of use of such design tools. This study evaluates such tools in the context of team design projects. General trends and statistically significant results about “sketchstorming” and prototyping suggest that, in certain constrained contexts, the focus should be on the quality of information rather than on the quantity of information generated, and that prototyping should begin as soon as possible during the design process. Ramifications of these findings are discussed in the context of educating future designers on the efficient use of design tools.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():749-762. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70734.

Researchers often use simplified product form representations, such as silhouettes, sketches, and other two-dimensional representations of products, to examine customer preferences. While these simplified representations make the analysis procedure tractable, for example linking certain design manipulations to certain preferences, the reality is that people evaluate more sophisticated product representations during purchase decisions. This paper presents the results of a study where two groups of people were shown either computer sketches and front/side view (FSV) silhouettes or simplified renderings and realistic renderings of cars and coffee carafes. Human judgments measured included opinions, objective evaluations, and inferences. Results show a variety of phenomena including preference inconsistences and ordering effects. Data collected from an eye-tracker help to elucidate these findings.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():763-772. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71345.

During the design of a product, designers may show a potential customer or other stakeholder a drawing of a design concept in order to elicit feedback that can be used to inform further development of the design. Designers may desire feedback on specific aspects of a concept, such as its shape or size, but viewers may in fact focus on other elements of the drawing itself, such as color or surface texture. Viewers translate their visual perception of these representations into perceived understanding, but how can we know whether their interpretations are consistent with the designer’s intention? This paper evaluates the translation of four different product sketches by 163 participants. This study also considers how aesthetic preference and concrete information might influence a viewer’s opinion of an object. Results suggest that viewers were likely to recall physical aspects from a sketch of a product (material, shape) as well as its function. Findings also suggest that individuals preferred images that were overall more informative rather than aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, our research suggests that individuals were more likely to recall the texture, material or perceived efficiency of an object than recall the name of the object, its function, or its shape.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():773-783. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71425.

Sketches are used in design research experiments by various researchers to draw inferences with respect to creativity, representation use, solution quality, and other research goals. Numerous different metrics, such as quantity, sketch quality, and solution quality, are used by the researchers to analyze sketches. This paper presents a survey of the metrics used in the design research community. Characteristics developed by the authors to evaluate these metrics are used to compare the metrics. Further, an initial attempt to identify a relation between type of research approach and characteristics of the metrics is then reported to test the hypothesis that a mature research field would include canonically accepted metrics for experimental studies. The findings indicate that current literature does not provide any formal definition of metrics that are widely accepted in the community. The findings from correlations indicate a general trend of using objective metrics for qualitative research and subjective metrics for mixed method approach. Ultimately, this work lays the foundation for a more systematic approach to evaluating engineering design sketches through critical selection of metrics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: Soft Computing in Design

2012;():785-792. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70153.

Within the context of a profit making firm, the job of a design engineer is to choose design parameters and product attributes that maximize the expected utility of profit. To do this effectively, the engineer needs to have an estimate of the demand for the product as a function of its price and its attributes. The firm may conduct a survey to elicit consumer preferences for the product at a given price and would like to update their belief about demand given the survey data. The purpose of this paper is to present a Bayesian methodology for demand estimation that meets this need. The estimation process begins with a prior probability distribution of demand at a given price. Using Bayesian analysis, we show how to update demand for the product given various pieces of information such as market analysis, polls and a variety of other methods. We also discuss situations where consumers can demand multiple units of the product at the given price.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():793-804. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70291.

Recent trends in technology are challenging engineers to configure products at ever smaller scales. At the nano-scale, biological protein machines are commonly chosen as a power-source for a broad-range of nano-devices. This paper explores the challenges in designing these and similar systems, such as improving the emergent system performance that arises from the interactions of many stochastic components.

We develop a domain-independent methodology, using multi-agent simulations as a means of modeling and predicting emergent system behavior across scales and structure-behavior-function representations for understanding and navigating the resulting design space. This methodology is validated with an application of synthetic myosin motor design at the nanoscale, with simulation results aligning well with the macroscopic performance of myosin-powered muscular contractions.

The multi-agent simulation is implemented with myosins modeled as agents, allowing for the virtual design and experimentation of synthetic myosins with altered structures and mechanochemical behaviors. Four myosin populations are designed and simulated, with their emergent system performance determined by aggregating the contributions of each myosin agent over time.

Although the multi-agent simulation successfully recreates the emergent behaviors of the myosins, it is difficult to draw conclusions about how each structural variation influences aggregate performance. SBF representations of the system are then developed to describe how the aggregate performance of the system is explainable in terms of myosin behaviors, which map directly to altered myosin structures. It is then demonstrated how an engineer may utilize these representations and experimental results to reason about, and configure a myosin system with optimal performance.

The methodology is domain-independent, ensuring its extendibility to similar complex systems while aiding a designer in simplifying a complex physical phenomenon to a design space consisting of only a few critical parameters. The methodology is particularly suited for complex systems with many parts operating stochastically across scales, and should prove invaluable for engineers facing the challenges of biological nanoscale design, where designs with unique properties require novel approaches or useful configurations in nature await discovery.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():805-814. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70438.

The design of engineering systems is often based on analysis models with substantial errors in predicting failures, that is epistemic uncertainty. The epistemic uncertainty is reduced by post design tests, and the safety of unsafe designs restored by redesign. When this process of design, test and redesign is to be based on probabilistic analysis, there is some controversy on whether uncertainty associated with variability (aleatory uncertainty) should be treated differently than the epistemic uncertainty. In this paper we compare several approaches to design and redesign and treatments of the epistemic uncertainties. These include safety factors, probabilistic approach disregarding redesign and regarding redesign, treating epistemic uncertainty and aleatory uncertainty the same, and more conservative treatment of the epistemic uncertainty. We demonstrate that the proposed approach can allow tradeoff of system performance against development cost (probability of redesign), while a standard reliability based design optimization, which does not take into account future redesign, provides only a single point on the tradeoff curve. We also show that the tradeoff can be achieved even with the traditional safety factor approach, without any probabilistic optimization. Furthermore, we investigate different treatments of epistemic error for probability of failure calculation. We find that it is possible to design to the 95th percentile of the probability of failure with modest mass penalty compared to treating epistemic and aleatory uncertainty alike.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():815-823. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71480.

In order to maximize the potential of decision based design, optimization should be an integral part of the process. In this paper, several guidelines are proposed while assessing and fitting utility functions, defining constraint sets, defining backtracking rules and choosing optimization algorithms. We discuss the central role convexity plays in optimization and how it is relevant to maximizing utility functions of risk-averse decision makers, which are the most common type of decision makers. Strong convexity and Lipschitz continuity are also relevant to the discussion since they allow finding optimal designs and facilitate proofs of convergence. The commonly used exponential form is shown to have these properties. We further discuss the motivation to backtrack within an optimization process in order to account for varying preferences of the decision maker across the design space. Design implications of these guidelines are also covered. We conclude with a summary of guidelines and observations. A discussion on future work regarding optimization under uncertain designer preferences is also presented.

Topics: Design , Optimization
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: The Fuzzy Front End of Design

2012;():825-836. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70644.

Complex product architecture definition involves technological and architectural choices in order to reach defined system performances. These choices form a wide combinatorial design space whose complete exploration requires a computational method. The latter is made difficult because of the lack and the fuzziness of data and knowledge in preliminary design. To introduce this type of uncertainty, we have proposed an approach based on Bayesian nets: a Bayesian net architecture generation and clustering method is proposed. However, in recent research, lots of conceptual design problems were addressed with Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP). The purpose of this paper is to compare these two methods and advantages and challenges in view to design situations under uncertainty. The comparison consists in modeling a sample problem with both methods. The modeling process of each method is described, providing preliminary highlights on advantages and disadvantages of both methods. Then, the methods are evaluated in terms of modeling capabilities and easiness. The number of generated architectures and the execution time of each simulation are also analyzed with regard to the influence of uncertainty introduction in the models. The final objective is to determine which method seems to be the more appropriate to help designers in finding new innovative designs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():837-848. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70723.

Designing products for multiple global user populations has been the focus of numerous studies. Based on an understanding of the current state of knowledge, this paper outlines three broad top-down design strategies to satisfy varying user, business, and regulatory requirements across target markets, and to do so in a resource-efficient manner. The first strategy results in a set of optimal, robust, or reconfigurable designs for the markets. The second strategy is the development of a static platform-based design, with variants of the product for the different target markets. In the third strategy, flexibility is embedded into a platform itself; the manufacturer can then release the product in a few target markets, and can leverage the platform at later stages when entering additional markets or adapting to changing requirements. The implementation of the proposed strategies is explored in the context of three different products: (1) the Adidas Jabulani soccer ball, (2) left- and right- hand drive vehicles, and (3) the Apple suite of mobile and tablet devices. The observations in these case studies highlight the importance of the three global product design strategies, and help define certain questions for future research.

Topics: Product design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():849-861. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70944.

Understanding product functions is a key aspect of the work undertaken by engineers involved in complex system design. The support offered to these engineers by existing modeling tools such as the Function Tree and the Function Structure is limited as they are not intuitive and do not scale well to deal with real world engineering problems. A research collaboration between two universities and a major power system company in the aerospace domain has allowed the authors to further develop a method for function analysis known as Function Analysis Diagram (FAD) which was already in use by line engineers. The capability to generate and edit these diagrams was implemented in the Decision Rationale editor (DRed) a software tool for capturing design rationale. This article presents the main beneficial characteristics of the method and justifies them using two engineering case studies. The results of the research have shown that the FAD method has a simple notation, permits the modeling of product functions together with structure, allows the production of rich and accurate descriptions of product functionality and is suitable to represent complex problems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():863-875. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71038.

The evolution of design thinking has seen numerous challenges and advances in transforming information into knowledge for engineers to design systems, products, and processes. These transformations occur in three stages throughout a design process. In simple form, the early, middle, and late stages of a design process serve to develop an understanding of the customer’s needs, arrive at the final concept of the design, and analyze and support the performance and usage profile of the deployed product, respectively. The quality and accuracy of the input information and the effectiveness of each transformation determine the success or failure of the product. Capturing good information and converting it to knowledge are two important tasks that have motivated a long history of research in design processes and tools. In this paper, we propose Design Analytics (DA) as a new paradigm for significantly enhancing the core information-to-knowledge transformations. The overall aim is to capture, store, and leverage digital information about artifacts, their performance, and their usage. The information is transformed into knowledge in each of the three stages using various analytics and cyber-enabled tools such as design repositories and concept generators. The ultimate result is better performing and functioning products. As web analytics has transformed how companies interact with consumers on the internet, we expect DA to transform how companies design products with and for consumers. An illustrative case study is performed to demonstrate some of the foundations of DA in the redesign of a refrigerator.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology: The Psychology of Designers

2012;():877-888. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70420.

This work lends insight into the meaning and impact of “near” and “far” analogies. A cognitive engineering design study is presented that examines the effect of the distance of analogical design stimuli on design solution generation, and places those findings in context of results from the literature. The work ultimately sheds new light on the impact of analogies in the design process and the significance of their distance from a design problem. In this work, the design repository from which analogical stimuli are chosen is the U.S. patent database, a natural choice, as it is one of the largest and easily accessed catalogued databases of inventions. The “near” and “far” analogical stimuli for this study were chosen based on a structure of patents, created using a combination of Latent Semantic Analysis and a Bayesian based algorithm for discovering structural form, resulting in clusters of patents connected by their relative similarity. The findings of this engineering design study are contextualized with the findings of recent work in design by analogy, by mapping the analogical stimuli used in the earlier work into similar structures along with the patents used in the current study. Doing so allows the discovery of a relationship between all of the stimuli and their relative distance from the design problem. The results confirm that “near” and “far” are relative terms, and depend on the characteristics of the potential stimuli. Further, although the literature has shown that “far” analogical stimuli are more likely to lead to the generation innovative solutions with novel characteristics, there is such a thing as too far. That is, if the stimuli are too distant, they then can become harmful to the design process. Importantly, as well, the data mapping approach to identify analogies works, and is able to impact the effectiveness of the design process. This work has implications not only in the area of finding inspirational designs to use for design by analogy processes in practice, but also for synthesis, or perhaps even unification, of future studies in the field of design by analogy.

Topics: Design , Databases
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():889-899. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-70657.

A battery of tests for assessing the cognitive skills needed for the conceptual design is being developed. Divergent thinking and visual thinking tests were fully developed and validated previously. This paper focuses on the development of a test on qualitative reasoning skill.

Indicators of qualitative reasoning are identified and categorized as: deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, analogical reasoning, abductive reasoning, and intuitive physics; the derivation of each is based on both cognitive science and empirical studies of design. The paper also considers the metrics for measuring skill levels in different individuals and candidate test items and grading rubric for each skill.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():901-911. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71155.

Engineering idea generation plays a vital role in the development of novel products. Prior studies have shown that designers fixate to the features of example solutions and replicate these features in their ideas. This is a major hindrance in idea generation as it restricts the solution space where designers search for their ideas. This study hypothesizes that though expert designers fixate to example features, they still can outperform novices in terms of quantity of ideas as they have a larger set of knowledge acquired through their experience. To investigate this, the experimental by Linsey et al. is replicated for novice designers. Novices generate ideas for a design problem in three groups: one group working with a fixating example, a second group working with the same example along with alternate representations for the design problem and a control group only presented with the problem and no additional materials. The obtained results support the hypothesis. Both novice and expert designers are fixated to the example features, but the expert designers generated more nonredundant ideas. The alternate representations of the design problem help experts in mitigating their fixation, whereas in novices, these have no effect.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2012;():913-924. doi:10.1115/DETC2012-71258.

The desire to better understand design cognition has led to the application of literature from psychology to design research, e.g., in learning, analogical reasoning, and problem solving. Psychological research on cognitive heuristics and biases offers another relevant body of knowledge for application. Cognitive biases are inherent biases in human information processing, which can lead to suboptimal reasoning. Cognitive heuristics are unconscious rules utilized to enhance the efficiency of information processing and are possible antecedents of cognitive biases. This paper presents two studies that examined the role of confirmation bias, which is a tendency to seek and interpret evidence in order to confirm existing beliefs. The results of the first study, a protocol analysis involving novice designers engaged in a biomimetic design task, indicate that confirmation bias is present during concept generation and offer additional insights into the influence of confirmation bias in design. The results of the second study, a controlled experiment requiring participants to complete a concept evaluation task, suggest that decision matrices are effective tools to reduce confirmation bias during concept evaluation.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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