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Semantic Analysis of Function-Solution Duality

[+] Author Affiliations
François Christophe, Tuomas Ritola, Eric Coatanéa

Aalto University School of Engineering, Espoo, Finland

Alain Bernard

Centrale Engineering School of Nantes, Nantes, France

Paper No. IMECE2011-63546, pp. 611-619; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5489-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Methodologies of the literature tend to separate clearly the design problem definition from the solutions to this problem. Nevertheless, this paper argues that conceptual design solutions are deeply rooted in the definition of the design problem. Hence, it is shown that conceptual solutions can emerge from the semantic analysis of the functional definition of a problem. This paper addresses the recursive aspect of conceptual design and the iterative loops between each step of design methodologies which are usually presented as a sequential flow. This paper presents that, in fact, in the early design phases, the functional representation of the design problem may often emerge from ideas of potential solutions. Afterward, this functional representation can be refined into concept of solutions, which can then give emergence to another functional representation. We hence argue here that the conceptual design process involves a constant duality between the functional representation of a problem and the potential solutions to this problem. Furthermore, we argue that the concepts of solution to a design problem can already be embedded semantically in the description of the problem as well as the description of these potential solutions enables the discovery of new design problem. This article presents these developments through the study of the sub-system of a robot used for harvesting fruits in a robot competition.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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