Establishing Functional Concepts Vital for Design by Analogy
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Student designers and professionals alike have difficulty accessing appropriate analogies for design problems. Recognizing the advantages of Design-by-Analogy (DbA), the Design-Analogy Performance Parameter System (D-APPS) tool was developed to include a library of analogy entries and a matching algorithm. These components are combined into the Design Repository & Analogy Computation via Unit-Language Analysis (DRACULA) software package that maps functions across domains in order to present analogies to designers as initiated through engineering performance metrics and critical functions. Most tools developed for DbA emphasize the searching by function feature. Since analogies are based on more than function, DRACULA incorporates both performance and function for the user to identify relevant analogous solutions. Prior to exposing engineering students to this tool, we investigated their ability to use analogies when crossing domains. During this process, we identified three function concepts to be vital for students to effectively use analogies across domains: reoccurring functions, critical functions, and mapping functions. The results establish a better understanding of the information that students utilize in order to formulate appropriate and creative analogous design solutions.