Generating Conceptual Solutions on Funcsion: Evolution of a Functional Synthesiser
FuncSION is a software that can synthesise, using a database of functional elements, an exhaustive set of solution concepts to satisfy functional requirements of a design problem. It is intended to stimulate designers’ thinking by providing a framework where these solutions are offered to the designers for exploration in the conceptual design stage. Reported in this paper are some of the testing results using FuncSION in two case studies and three hands on experiments, in terms of its ability to (i) offer a wide range of new, interesting and useful ideas, and (ii) facilitate exploration of these ideas in an effective way. The main results are: it does provide useful ideas and interesting insights to the designers, but does this at the cost of having to deal with a potentially huge list of candidate solutions which are hard to explore sufficiently. Based on these results, a scheme for coping with a large number of solutions without losing explorability is proposed, whereby designs could be generated and explored at multiple levels of abstraction, using pre-defined as well as customised clustering strategies at any of these levels. An implementation of the scheme, in terms of a user editable hierarchical database of elements and solutions, and a general algorithm for synthesis at multiple levels are proposed. A set of clustering strategies for identifying and grouping the solutions considered by experienced designers to be redundant and wasteful is also discussed, with some initial testing results.
KeywordsSolution Concept Solution Cluster Functional Element Synthesis Solution Idea Cluster
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