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Automatic Function Interpretation: Using Natural Language Processing on Patents to Understand Design Purposes

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhen Li, Derrick Tate

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Paper No. DETC2010-29097, pp. 443-452; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 22nd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; Special Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4413-7 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


In engineering design, establishing functional requirements (FRs) based on customer needs (CNs) is critical to ensure the success of a product. However, it may take a lot of time for a designer to state functional requirements explicitly. To overcome this difficulty, the authors have proposed a method to interpret design intention in accordance with the axiomatic design (AD) framework by applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques on patents. The goal of the proposed method is to provide functional requirements and design parameters that are automatically extracted for designers. Although the initial result shows that the method is dependent on the writing style used in a patent, this fresh attempt demonstrates the feasibility of automatically interpreting design intention.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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