C3DaR - Collection, Creation, and Collaboration for Engineering Design and Reflection

C3DaR - Collection, Creation, and Collaboration for Engineering Design and Reflection

Innovation is now recognized as critical to economic growth and international competitiveness. While prototyping, manufacturing and even engineering work are routinely outsourced to foreign markets, design remains a key output of the nation. It is therefore imperative to improve the innovative capacity of designers, particularly those in engineering, through new design concepts, methods and tools to support transformative and creative design thinking. The goal of this project is to develop and test a digital platform for early design called C3DaR (Collection, Creation and Collaboration for Engineering Design and Reflection). C3DaR will transform the creative process of early design for engineering by applying a computer-as-partner paradigm in which the system becomes as an active contributor to the partnership between designers, artifacts and media. The research, education and dissemination efforts conducted as part of this project will greatly facilitate a paradigm shift in design to improve our nation?s creative design capacity.

Early design for engineering is characterized by informal, unstructured and heavily collaborative work processes involving multiple participants, disparate forms of representational media and a plethora of interactions between designers and artifacts. To explore and evaluate novel ways to support design, the project includes three research streams, corresponding to the 3 Cs in C3DaR. 

(i) Collection incorporates mechanisms to help designers gather materials in the early stages of the creative process. Examples of proposed mechanisms include web browser integration for collecting inspirational material, design scrapbooking for composing content into multimedia montages and diagramming for organizing and recording textual and hierarchical ideas. 

(ii) Creation encompasses techniques to help designers to make and modify design artifacts. Examples of such techniques include textual and visual prompting to guide the designer's sketching process, integration with a naive physics engine to enable an intuitive sketch-to-life design approach and auto-completion of 2D sketches to enable rapid content creation. 

(iii) Collaboration includes mechanisms to enable multiple designers to coordinate their combined efforts while avoiding interference and maximizing their productivity. Examples include allowing social-media-like discussion, tagging and voting for design artifacts, motion gestures and annotation to facilitate expressing dynamic behavior and integrated visual conflict resolution techniques to coordinate the team. 

The contribution of this project is to develop and test a radically new early design process for engineering that is scaffolded by, as well as closely intertwined with, digital media.

September 2014- August 2018
National science Foundation
Total Award Amount: 

Principal Investigator: