Development of principles and facilitators for transformational product design
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Transformational design is the creation of devices that change state in order to facilitate new or enhance existing functionality. While these states can exist in a wide range of domains, this thesis deals primarily with mechanical transformers. These products have several benefits as compared to single-state designs; in addition to increased functionality, more efficient storage capabilities and increased aesthetic appeal are possible. An inductive study was performed to develop a theory for the design of mechanical transforming devices. Patents were collected for reconfigurable products, and a set of principles and facilitators were extracted for their design. Three methodologies are presented for the work: a collection methodology used to locate patents, a patent dissection method used to determine the principles and facilitators, and an application tool used to generate transformer concepts that can be integrated into a generic design methodology. Finally, the design tool is used to apply the principles and facilitators to the development of two new transforming devices.