Research Papers

Biologically Meaningful Keywords for Functional Terms of the Functional Basis

[+] Author and Article Information
H. Cheong

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadacheong@mie.utoronto.ca

I. Chiu

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadachiu@mie.utoronto.ca

L. H. Shu1

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadashu@mie.utoronto.ca

R. B. Stone

Design Engineering Laboratory, Oregon State University, 120 Dearborn Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331rob.stone@oregonstate.edu

D. A. McAdams

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3123 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3123dmcadams@tamu.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 133(2), 021007 (Feb 01, 2011) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003249 History: Received August 13, 2009; Revised December 06, 2010; Published February 01, 2011

Biology is recognized as an excellent source of analogies and stimuli for engineering design. Previous work focused on the systematic identification of relevant biological analogies by searching for instances of functional keywords in biological information in natural-language format. This past work revealed that engineering keywords could not always be used to identify the most relevant biological analogies as the vocabularies between biology and engineering are sufficiently distinct. Therefore, a retrieval algorithm was developed to identify potential biologically meaningful keywords that are more effective in searching biological text than corresponding engineering keywords. In our current work, we applied and refined the retrieval algorithm to translate functional terms of the functional basis into biologically meaningful keywords. The functional basis is widely accepted as a standardized representation of engineering product functionality. Therefore, our keywords could serve as a thesaurus for engineers to find biological analogies relevant to their design problems. We also describe specific semantic relationships that can be used to identify biologically meaningful keywords in excerpts describing biological phenomena. These semantic relations were applied as criteria to identify the most useful biologically meaningful keywords. Through a preliminary validation experiment, we observed that different translators were able to apply the criteria to identify biologically meaningful keywords with a high degree of agreement to those identified by the authors. In addition, we describe how fourth-year undergraduate mechanical engineering students used the biologically meaningful keywords to develop concepts for their design projects.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

A flowchart showing the sequence and different steps of the biologically meaningful keyword translation algorithm, with references to the corresponding sections

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Figure 2

Top: keywords in the functional basis (5). Bottom: keywords regrouped based on WordNet where “disable” and “turn-off” are in different groups from “prevent.”

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Figure 3

Function set terms under secondary class, “transfer,” where “conduct” is under tertiary class “transmit,” not “transport”

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Figure 4

Left: An example of an arthropod’s segmented body. Right: helmet with segmented internal plates.

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Figure 5

Amnion and the embryo it protects. As the embryo develops, its surrounding amnion also grows.



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