Grounded Knowledge Representations for Biologically Inspired Design

Over the last decade or so, biologically inspired design has emerged as a major paradigm in engineering design. In our work on biologically inspired design we generate grounded descriptive accounts of design, which then scaffold explanatory models of biologically inspired design processes. In this paper we use Structure-Behavior-Function (SBF) representations as a “conceptual seed” to develop a knowledge representation called SR.BID that can capture complex problem-solution relationships in biologically inspired design including problem-solution coevolution. The evolution of SR.BID (for Structured Representations for Biologically Inspired Design) from SBF is grounded in empirical data gathered in a classroom biologically inspired design context. SR.BID empowers us to more deeply study the breadth of processes entailed by biologically inspired design including the use of biological analogies for both solution generation and problem formulation. This paper explains in detail the process of building the content account of SR.BID, and provides a glimpse into the utility of the representation.