Research Papers

Transformation Design Theory: A Meta-Analogical Framework

[+] Author and Article Information
Jason Weaver

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712jasonweaver@mail.utexas.edu

Kristin Wood, Richard Crawford

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712

Dan Jensen

Department of Engineering Mechanics, United States Air Force Academy

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 10(3), 031012 (Sep 13, 2010) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3470028 History: Received August 01, 2009; Revised June 30, 2010; Published September 13, 2010

Electromechanical products and systems are often designed to transform or reconfigure between two or more states. Each state is customized to fulfill a specific set of functions, and the transformation between these multiple states allows for greater functionality and the elimination of many trade-offs between conflicting needs. Empirical examination of existing transforming systems and their similarities has led to a foundational transformation design theory, with meta-analogies and guidelines that explain how transformation processes occur, when they are useful, and how the designer can ensure their maximum benefit. The foundation of these principles and guidelines forms a meta-analogical framework for designing transformers and transformational systems. This paper presents a history of the development of transformational design theory, including the relationship of the research to case-based reasoning in other fields. Ideation methods are presented that specifically exploit the meta-analogies, i.e., categories of transformers. An example design problem is considered to illustrate the potential utility of this design-by-analogy approach.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Examples of transformer products and systems with multiple states

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Figure 2

Research approach for transformation design theory

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Figure 3

Search methodology for patented devices exhibiting transformation

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Figure 4

Identification of new principles and facilitators from patents in initial study (1)

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Figure 5

Search methodology for natural analogies exhibiting transformation

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Figure 6

Search methodology for existing transforming products

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Figure 7

(a) Expand/collapse (24), (b) expose/cover (25), and (c) fuse/divide (26)

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Figure 8

(a) Conform with struct. interfaces (27), (b) enclose (28), (c) fan (29), (d) flip (30), and (e) fold (31)

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Figure 9

(a) Furcate (32), (b) inflate (33), (c) interchange working organ (26), (d) modularize (34), and (e) nest (35)

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Figure 10

(a) Roll/wrap/coil (36), (b) segment (37), (c) share core structure (38), (d) share functions (39), and (e) share power transmission (40)

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Figure 11

(a) Shell (41), (b) telescope (42), (c) utilize composite (43), (d) utilize flexible material (44), and (e) utilize generic connections (45)

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Figure 12

Assembly of PF matrix from transformer repository data

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Figure 13

T-Cards for a transformation principle and facilitator

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Figure 14

“Flight” convertible shower/bath/wash table (53)



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