Intelligent suggestive CAD systems research overview
Systems that make suggestions to designers are proposed as an aid to preliminary design and as a computational tool for concurrent engineering. By providing suggestions, such systems could help users obtain better design ideas and could bring information normally not considered during preliminary design to the intial design stage.
A suggestion-making CAD system is developed that uses a feature-based representation of the design and a production rule representation of the concurrent engineering knowledge. The encoded knowledge concerns the design of parts for assembly (Boothroyd and Dewhurst, Design for Assembly — A Designer's Handbook, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1983). The system uses no representation of the design specifications. Because of this, the system can not autonomously design something; it can only alter a design in response to a user's design steps. This allows the system to be applicable to many classes of designs that are relevant to some concurrent engineering concern. The user builds a design with a predefined set of geometric features. The system makes suggestions by altering the design with the same set of features.
A system-user test was performed with the system configured in three interactivity modes: a mode that makes no suggestions, a mode that makes suggestions during the preliminary design process, and a mode that makes suggestions immediately after the preliminary design process. Five users were tested with each mode. All users were given the same design assignment, and all were allowed to refer to the standard book-form design for assembly information. The two user groups that received suggestions had a higher fraction of users that created high-quality designs than did the unaided user group. There was little distinction in quality, however, between the suggestions-during and suggestions-after designs. Additionally, users that received suggestions stopped using the book-form information very early in the design process and relied solely on the system's assistance. These results demonstrate that suggestion-making systems can integrate concurrent engineering information into the preliminary design process.
KeywordsFeature Input Design Cycle Intelligent Tutor System Concurrent Engineering Suggestive Mode
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