Biologically-inspired design uses analogous biological systems to develop novel solutions for human needs. In this paper we describe an in situ cognitive study of biologically inspired engineering design. We found that biologically inspired engineering design often involves compound analogies in which a new design concept is generated by composing the results of multiple cross-domain analogies. This process of compound analogy relies on an opportunistic interaction between two processes: problem decomposition and analogical transfer. Based on this cognitive study, we also present an information-processing account of compound analogies.
Posted in .