Research in Engineering Design

, 20:225

Affordance-based design methods for innovative design, redesign and reverse engineering

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00163-009-0064-7

Cite this article as:
Maier, J.R.A. & Fadel, G.M. Res Eng Design (2009) 20: 225. doi:10.1007/s00163-009-0064-7


Rather than developing methods to address problems as they occur, the effort in this paper is to formulate methods based on an explicit theory. Methods developed in this way have more scientific rigor because underlying propositions and assumptions are clearly articulated, thus the applicability and limitations of the methods are well defined. The underlying theory used in this work is that of affordance-based design, which has been developed by the authors in a recent series of papers, and is based in turn on the theory of affordances from perceptual psychology. This paper extends affordance-based design into prescriptive methods. A broad affordance-based design process is introduced together with methods for documenting affordances, methods for designing individual affordances, an affordance-based method for reverse engineering and redesign, the affordance structure matrix, and affordance-based selection matrices. Engineering examples used to illustrate the methods include the high level design of an automobile, comfort to automobile passengers, the meshing of gears, wear of gears, a vacuum cleaner, and automotive window switches.


Affordances Affordance-based design Design methodology 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clemson Research in Engineering Design and Optimization (CREDO) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

Personalised recommendations