Flowchart-Assisted Function Analysis of Products to Support Teaching of the Exact Sciences

DS 58-10: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 10, Design Education and Lifelong Learning, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: van der Vegte, Wilhelm Frederik; van Breemen, Ernest J. J.
Series: ICED
Section: Design Education and Lifelong Learning
Page(s): 101-112


To reintroduce function analysis (FA) into the curriculum of Industrial Design Engineering, we developed a systematic approach for interaction-intensive products. By strengthening the link between high-level design considerations and exact-science-based engineering calculations, we intended to overcome the lack of commitment of our students to the exact sciences. We found that conventional FA approaches are difficult to apply to products interacting with users, while the user-oriented approaches that have come to replace FA in our curriculum hardly connect to engineering aspects. The new approach involves a procedure to extract functions from the process tree that is commonly used in design projects, and which allows mapping of transformations performed by the user to functions of the product. Putting functions on a gradual scale from "good" to "bad" gives directions for reconsideration. The approach is "open" and allows combining with related other methods. It was embedded into a new engineering-oriented course. Evaluation showed that the new course succeeds in more effectively communicating the relevance of exact sciences. Future plans include application in design projects.

Keywords: function analysis, interactive products, industrial design engineering, education


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