Conceptual design is a vital part of the design process during which designers first envision new ideas and then synthesize them into physical configurations that meet certain design specifications. In this research, a suite of computational tools is developed that assists the designers in performing this nontrivial task of navigating the design space for creating conceptual design solutions. The methodology is based on automating the function-based synthesis paradigm by combining various computational methods. Accordingly, three nested search algorithms are developed and integrated to capture different design decisions at various stages of conceptual design. The implemented system provides a method for automatically generating novel alternative solutions to real design problems. The application of the approach to the design of an electromechanical device shows the method’s range of capabilities and how it serves as a comparison to human conceptual design generation and as a tool suite to complement the skills of a designer.
Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, Special Issue01, February 2010 pp 49-62