Learning Functional Models of Biological Systems for Biologically Inspired Design

Biologically inspired design uses cross-domain analogies from biology to engineering to enhance design creativity and innovation. This analogical transfer requires conceptual understanding of biological systems. In this paper, we describe a prototype interactive knowledge-based design environment called DANE for supporting conceptual understanding through learning about functional models of biological designs. We present initial results from deploying DANE in an interdisciplinary class on biologically inspired design, indicating that designers found DANE’s functional models useful for conceptualizing complex systems.