Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Discovery of Mental Metadata Used for Analogy Formation in Function-Based Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Ryan M. Arlitt

School of Mechanical, Industrial, and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
204 Rogers Hall,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: arlittr@oregonstate.edu

Anthony A. Nix, Robert B. Stone

School of Mechanical, Industrial, and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
204 Rogers Hall,
Corvallis, OR 97331

Chiradeep Sen

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
Florida Institute of Technology,
Melbourne, FL 32901

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received February 5, 2016; final manuscript received June 6, 2016; published online August 30, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Katja Holtta-Otto.

J. Mech. Des 138(10), 101110 (Aug 30, 2016) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1107; doi: 10.1115/1.4034090 History: Received February 05, 2016; Revised June 06, 2016

Applying previous solutions to solve new problems is a core aspect of design, and designers routinely use informal analogies to solve a wide variety of design problems. However, when the goal is to consider a large quantity and variety of creative solutions, relying on informal analogy recall may limit the analogy and solution breadth. This paper reports on work to identify the analogy connections that designers make during concept generation such that computational support can be employed to intentionally retrieve analogical solutions from existing systems. A study of the types of similarity that are commonly used to draw design analogies, and whether some types of similarity are used more frequently in compound analogy versus single analogy, was designed and implemented. The experiment consists of a design task and a follow up interview. Ten mechanical engineering graduate students specializing in design participated. Eight different types of analogical similarity are observed, and each type is equally likely to be used to form either single or compound analogies. Notably, the flow behavior was a commonly observed type of abstract similarity that helped designers notice connections across domains, suggesting the value of capturing and retrieving (computationally) flow behavior abstractions for the purpose of relating systems analogically.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Experiment design prompt and task 1

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Subject speech and sketch describing a single solution analogy event



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