This grant provides funding to support the theoretical and practical development of shape grammars to computationally model the generation and structure of consumer products. The theory will provide a rich foundation for the creation of grammars of form and function for this engineering application; the specific product grammars will provide a means to rapidly generate new products or recreate known products. Initially, a grammar to generate coffee makers will be completed. A manufacturing analysis of the coffee makers will be performed and related to the grammar rules and the grammar itself will be implemented. Two to three additional grammars for new product classes will be generated and their cost performance and implementations will also be pursued. As the grammars are completed, investigations into how the resulting products map onto corporate identity will be performed. As well, once the manufacturing cost analyses are completed, explorations of the product design space generated by the grammar will be performed. Theoretical advancements relating form and function through shape grammars will continue throughout the project. Product design in today's competitive environment is pushed by fast time-to-market and one-of-a-kind design. As the multitude of products emerge, a company finds the need and difficulty in maintaining their corporate identity across the product lines. Long term there is no easy way for companies to keep up with this consumer demand without computational assistance. Successful completion of this proposal will show that shape grammars are a computational representation that models important characteristics of product design in a concise and intuitively descriptive manner; they are also a means to use the representation to direct the generation of designs, limiting the scope of design to keep it controllable, yet allowing freedom for expression within the design process. The work will extend existing theory to incorporate product characteristics, implement the theory in usable grammars, and pursue application of the theory to the design of products. The result will be a more detailed understanding of how formal grammars can model the design process, rapidly generate novel design concepts, and give better feedback to a designer and corporation on how to model desired characteristics into a product through computer automation.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
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George A. Hazelrigg
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Carnegie-Mellon University
United States
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