A new interactive design approach for concept selection based on expert opinion
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Effective identification of the optimal design in the early stages of product development is critical in order to obtain the best chances of eventual customer satisfaction. Currently, the advancements in prototyping techniques offer unique chances to evaluate the features of different design candidates by means of product experts acting as assessors and/or customers enrolled as testers. In this paper, the candidate identification using virtual and physical prototypes is described and a practical fuzzy approach toward the evaluation of the optimal design is presented. The proposed methodology is tested on a full case study, namely the choice of optimal design for the traditional Neapolitan coffeemaker, inspired by the prototypes of the Italian designer Riccardo Dalisi. Several concepts are developed in a virtual environment and four alternatives among them are realized using Additive Manufacturing. By allowing experts to interact with virtual and physical prototypes, they were able to express their opinion on a custom fuzzy evaluation scale (i.e. they were freely choosing more or less coarse linguistic scales as well as the related shapes of fuzzy sets to adequately represent the level of fuzziness of their judgments). Once the opinions are collected, the set of best candidate(s) is easily identified and useful suggestion can be obtained for further developing the product.
KeywordsDesign method Concept design Concept selection Virtual prototyping Additive manufacturing Fuzzy set
With regard to the case study, authors would deeply thank the Italian designer Riccardo Dalisi, who kindly allowed to use some prototypes from his laboratory for the reverse engineering of their design; prof. Donnarumma for his lessons on fuzzy logic; the prof. Alfonso Morone and prof. Massimiliano Giorgio for their active involvement into the evaluation trials.
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