Design-by-Analogy: Exploring for Analogical Inspiration with Behavior, Material, and Component Based Structural Representation of Patent Databases

[+] Author and Article Information
Hyeon Ik Song

Georgia Institute of Technology

Katherine Fu

Georgia Institute of Technology

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043364 History: Received August 09, 2018; Revised March 13, 2019


Design-by-analogy is an important method for innovation that has gained much attention due to its history of leading to successful and novel design solutions. The method uses a repository of existing design solutions where designers can recognize and retrieve analogical inspirations. Yet, exploring for analogical inspiration has been a laborious task for designers. This work presents a computational methodology that is driven by a topic modeling technique called Non-negative Matrix Factorization (NMF). NMF is widely used in text mining field for its ability to discover topics within documents based on their semantic content. In the proposed methodology, NMF is performed iteratively to build hierarchical repositories of design solutions, with which designers can explore clusters of analogical stimuli. This methodology has been applied to a repository of mechanical design related patents, processed to contain only component-, behavior-, or material-based content, to test if unique and valuable attribute-based analogical inspiration can be discovered from the different representations of patent data. The hierarchical repositories have been visualized and a case study has been conducted to test the effectiveness of the analogical retrieval process of the proposed methodology. Overall, this paper demonstrates that the explorative-based computational methodology may provide designers an enhanced control over design repositories to retrieve analogical inspiration for design-by-analogy practice.

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