Supporting Creative Concept Generation by Engineering Students with Biomimetic Design

AbstractBiomimetic design uses ideas from biology as inspiration for design, and is widely recognized as a promising approach to innovation. However, the biomimetic design process can stand to be made more accessible and systematic for engineers. In particular, we identified a number of obstacles that occur when novice designers attempt to retrieve and apply biological analogies to solve design problems. Two main obstacles are: 1) extracting analogical strategies from biology and 2) applying analogical strategies to develop solutions. This paper summarizes our efforts in addressing these two obstacles through a pilot study and subsequent experiments involving engineering students. We found that to facilitate effective analogical transfer in biomimetic design, students require support to recognize relevant causal relations in biology and to explore multiple solutions when generating analogical designs.PDF

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