The idea of biomimicry is a very timely one. We've seen a lot of biomimicry-based innovation on this web site, in the form of robots that mimic biological life forms. More recently, I've often heard it said that customers can be a good resource for innovation, if the customers are correctly trained to help the design engineers.
Joseph, I enjoyed your article and appreciate the three methods that you touched on. However, I was a bit confused regarding the use of "brainstorming" and "approaches to brainstorming" as to me, they seem quite similar. Could you please provide a good working definition of brainstorming as it pertains to your article? I think that would clarify it for me - thanks!
What does TRIZ stand for, is it an acronym? Whatever path you take for inspiration in a design is a good way. Unlike Edison, I say calculate and simulate is the best way to go. Never try the "10,000 things that don't work" first.
Brainstorming generally refers to an unfettered flow of ideas, with quantity being more important than quality. The thought is that many ideas will result in one or more good ones, and the concern is that the ideas should not be evaluated or critiqued during the brainstorming session as this might tend to slow the flow.
One of the disadvantages of brainstorming is that the conversation can go off on a tangent. The other approaches suggested here tend to focus the brainstorming in particular areas, generally resulting in more useable suggestions.
All of this is explained in more detail in Unleashing Engineering Creativity, and we'll touch on it during our Weblive training session on 25 April at noon Eastern time. You can sign up for the course for free at www.eogogics.com. I hope to see you there.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.