Towards an Artificial Teammate: Understanding Team Interactions in Biologically Inspired Design

Biologically inspired design (a.k.a., BID) is a design methodology whereby designers take inspiration from natural systems to address their design problem(s). In BID, we observed that designing occurs in teams whose teammates interact. This provokes two questions. What functions do the teammate interactions serve in the design process? To what extent can we replicate these functions to support BID teams and possibly any team-less designers who wish to conduct BID?

To answer these questions, we will first investigate interactions between design teammates and propose an account of the functions that these interactions serve. Next, we intend to leverage this account to create an artificial teammate, an interactive technology that replicates one or more of those functions to support designers.

To accomplish these tasks, we will (a) use, modify, and/or build upon prior automated, cross-domain, analogical design work previously done at Georgia Tech, (b) look to prior work in areas such as BID, analogical design, and teamwork to inform our understanding of team interactions in BID, (c) analyze transcripts of a team’s verbal interactions from an undergraduate class BID team in which the first author participated, and (d) evaluate both our theory and our technology.

Recommendations will be made regarding the development of supportive technologies for BID teams and regarding theories of team interaction.