Transformational indicators : deciding when to develop transformable products
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Transformable products (or transformers), those with two or more functional states, are increasingly utilized by our society. As the mobility and complexity of life increases, so must the adaptability of the products which we use. We need new design techniques to develop more adaptable devices, such as transformers. The purpose of this study is to propose a response to the question “When is it preferable to implement a design approach focused on developing transformable products over an approach focused on developing primary function, non transforming products?” Our response to this question comes in the form of a method. The method helps a designer or design team consider the benefits of developing a transformer at an early stage in the design process. Research includes a deductive and an inductive study which are used to identify transformation indicators or context properties and usage factors that identify when it is preferable to build a transformable device. Static function-state indicators are also presented. These are contrary to transformation indicators in that they identify contexts suitable for developing non-transforming devices. Our technique seeks to improve the outcome of a design project by encouraging the consideration of transformable solutions and aiding in the selection of an appropriate design process. This method for testing the presence of these indicators in exemplary design contexts is presented. One such application is the design of an autonomous bridge-health monitoring system.
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