Influencing generative design through continuous evaluation: Associating costs with the coffeemaker shape grammar
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 September 1999
A grammatical approach to product design is demonstrated. In particular, shape grammars are shown to be especially useful for products that are differentiated primarily on the basis of form yet driven by function; they allow products to be designed as a sequence of well-defined steps. However, it is not always clear how to choose the sequence of rules that should be applied to generate the final shape. In this paper we demonstrate that at each stage during the process, partial designs of the final product can be used to provide feedback to the designer based on specific design objectives and thus suggest possible rule choices. We take advantage of the shape grammar for the generation of coffeemakers introduced by Agarwal and Cagan, and associate with the grammar rules expressions that model manufacturing costs. With each application of a shape grammar rule, an understanding of the overall cost of manufacturing the product is incrementally improved. Thus, at each stage of the design process the designer has an indication of what the overall cost of the product will be and how the selection of one grammar rule over another influences the final cost. Once the complete product is generated, an appraisal of its manufacturing cost is given to the designer. This evaluation methodology helps the designer understand the implications of decisions made early on in the design process. We have also verified the accuracy of this approach through the costs of some commercially available coffeemakers, generated by this method, which are comparable to the costs for those designs listed in the literature.
- Research Article
- © 1999 Cambridge University Press