Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Design by Analogy


Dr. Katherine Fu




Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. David Rosen


Design by analogy, in which designers draw inspiration from cross-domain design solutions, is a promising methodology for design practice. Although this methodology has the potential to be incredibly fruitful in the engineering product design process, there lacks a practical, efficient, procedural way to find these meaningful analogies. This work attempts to leverage the existing design solutions within a design repository (the US Patent Database), combined with an exploration of inherent structural forms that can be discovered based on the content and similarity of that data through data mining techniques, in order to gain useful insights into the nature of the design space. Discovering inherent structural forms that describe a set of formally represented designs within a repository will lead to insights regarding the interrelatedness and interconnectedness of patents in the space, potentially enabling designers to strategically choose which cross-domain designs to expose themselves to, or even traverse the space in a more intentional and meaningful exploratory way. By allowing for more efficient and insightful access to external analogical stimuli, designers have the potential to create more innovative design solutions.


Dr. Kate Fu is Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). In May 2012, she completed her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2009, and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University in 2007. Her work has focused on studying the engineering design process through cognitive studies, and extending those findings to the development of methods and tools to facilitate more effective and inspired design and innovation.


Refreshments will be served.