Design-by-Analogy Using the WordTree Method and an Automated WordTree Generating Tool
MetadataShow full item record
Design-by-Analogy is an approach that is widely embraced by engineers and designers seeking innovative designs. The identification of analogies for use in engineering design problems is usually a spontaneous action that is brought about by accident and not by a systematic design process applied during the idea generation stage of new product development. A Design-by-Analogy method developed to lead designers systematically to analogies that can be useful for solving design problems is the WordTree Method. The WordTree Method uses the semantic relationships between verbs, extracted from design problems, to lead engineers and designers to potentially useful analogies. The WordTree Method is a relatively new design method, and as with any new design method, there is room for improvement. In this thesis, a tool called WordTree Express (WTE) was developed to automate the generation of the database-based WordTrees used during the application of the WordTree Method. This tool (WTE) showed, from an experiment, that its implementation had a positive effect on the opinions of the engineers and designers who used it for solving a design problem. The effects found from surveying the participants suggested that the participants were more likely to apply the method in their future design problems with the WTE tool than when they applied the method without the WTE tool. Although the WTE tool did not show statistical significance (p<0.1) in increasing the number of analogies identified by the participants, compared to the non-automated method, it did enable the process of identifying analogies to be done faster. Tools designed to perform tasks faster and more efficiently usually tend to have a positive effect on its users. Different ontologies were studied for their value in the application to Design-by-Analogy in engineering. Recommendations for further work advancing the WordTree Method and contributions to Design-by-Analogy are presented in the future work section.
Oriakhi, Edgar Velazquez (2011). Design-by-Analogy Using the WordTree Method and an Automated WordTree Generating Tool. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from