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Design patterns for visualization-based tools in sustainable product design

posted Aug 17, 2017, 6:51 AM by Devarajan Ramanujan

Abstract: Most design activities involve exploring and comparing existing designs. Thus, adopting an eco-conscious approach in the design exploration process can aid environmentally sustainable product design (SPD). One approach for supporting exploration in SPD is through tools based on information visualization (InfoVis). The use of InfoVis for SPD allows data-driven exploration of solutions that is rapid, direct, and supports investigation of questions that the designer may not have identified. Previous work has demonstrated the utility of InfoVis tools for different facets of the lifecycle, e.g. redesign, supply chain exploration, and life cycle assessment. These tools focus on projecting sustainability-related implications back to design. However, to fully realize their potential, future tools must synthesize data in a manner that helps designers view the effects of a design change on all downstream stages. Such tools will have to work across multiple data types, visual representations, and stakeholders. In this paper, we take the first steps towards addressing this challenge by formulating design patterns for visualization and interaction of product lifecycle data. These design patterns were synthesized by reviewing previous works that have successfully created visualization-based tools for SPD. The suggested design patterns can, (1) serve as a guide for creating integrated visualization-based tools for SPD, and (2) help create reusable visual components that aid in quick interface wireframing.

Citation: Ramanujan D., Bernstein W.Z., & Ramani K.. "Design Patterns for Visualization-based Tools in Sustainable Product Design.", Proceedings of the 2017 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

shapeSIFT: Evaluating InfoVis Tools for Eco-Conscious Design

posted Aug 17, 2017, 6:47 AM by Devarajan Ramanujan

Abstract: In this paper, we present the methodology and results from the evaluation of shapeSIFT: a multi-dimensional visualization tool for exploring part repositories in the context of eco-conscious design. The goals of this work are twofold, to create a categorization scheme for user evaluation methods specific to information visualization tools in eco-conscious design, and to formulate a user study for the shapeSIFT interface based on the developed categorization scheme. Our proposed scheme categorizes user evaluation methods based on two axes, (a) focus of the conducted user evaluation, and (b) development stage of the tool being evaluated. This scheme was used as the basis for conducting a guided formative expert review of the shapeSIFT interface with five domain experts in an industry setting. In this study we gathered experts’ comments, feedback, and usage behaviors, while they used the shapeSIFT interface to perform tasks reflective of real-world design practices. Results from the study show that shapeSIFT was easy-to-use and effective for part selection in the context of redesign. Motivated by these positive preliminary results, we intend to improve the shapeSIFT interface and conduct follow-up studies with a larger pool of designers

Citation: Ramanujan D, Bernstein WZ, Kulkarni D, Tew J, Ramani K., "shapeSIFT: Evaluating InfoVis Tools for Eco-Conscious Design."; ASME. International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Volume 4: 21st Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference, V004T05A045. doi:10.1115/DETC2016-59953.

MobiSweep: Exploring Spatial Design Ideation Using a Smartphone as a Hand-held Reference Plane

posted Mar 9, 2016, 7:16 AM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Mar 9, 2016, 7:40 AM ]

Abstract: In this paper, we explore quick 3D shape composition during early-phase spatial design ideation. Our approach is to re-purpose a smartphone as a hand-held reference plane for creating, modifying, and manipulating 3D sweep surfaces. We implemented MobiSweep, a prototype application to explore a new design space of constrained spatial interactions that combine direct orientation control with indirect position control via well-established multi-touch gestures. MobiSweep leverages kinesthetically aware interactions for the creation of a sweep surface without explicit position tracking. The design concepts generated by users, in conjunction with their feedback, demonstrate the potential of such interactions in enabling spatial ideation.

Citation: Vinayak, Ramanujan, D., Piya, C., & Ramani, K. (2016, February). MobiSweep: Exploring Spatial Design Ideation Using a Smartphone as a Hand-held Reference Plane. In Proceedings of the TEI'16: Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 12-20). ACM.

Informing Early Design Via Crowd-based Co-creation

posted Nov 9, 2015, 2:08 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Mar 9, 2016, 7:40 AM ]

Abstract: Customer inputs in the early stages of design can potentially lead to completely new outlooks in concept generation. We propose crowd-based co-creation as a means to this end. Our main idea is to think of the customer as a source of initial design concepts rather than a means for obtaining preferences towards designer-generated concepts. For analyzing a large collection of customer-created prototypes, we develop a framework that focuses on generating hypotheses related to customer perception of design attributes. We demonstrate our approach through a web interface to gather design requirements for a computer mouse, a bicycle seat, a pen holder, and a cola bottle. This interface was used in a crowdsourcing study with 253 users who represented potential end users for these products. Results from this study show that web-based co-creation allows designers to capture a variety of form and function-related design requirements from user-created virtual prototypes. We also found that such studies can be instrumental in identifying innovative product concepts, and gaining insights about how user perception correlates with product form. Therefore, we make the case that customer creation through distributed co creation platforms can reinforce concept exploration in future early design processes.

Citation: Ramanujan, Devarajan, Yash Nawal Vinayak, Tahira Reid, and Karthik Ramani.  "Informing Early Design Via Crowd-Based Co-Creation" To Appear In ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference.

Contextualizing Environmental Sustainability in Design Engineering Curricula

posted Nov 9, 2015, 2:04 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 2:27 PM ]

Abstract: Consideration of environmental sustainability is significantly altering the nature of the mechanical design process. This necessitates integration of sustainability related learning content in design engineering curricula. Although various frameworks for teaching sustainable design exist, a survey conducted among practicing student engineers shows the presence of significant knowledge gaps. To this end, we propose a problem-based framework for contextualizing sustainability assessment within design engineering curricula. Our framework makes it possible for embedding sustainability related concepts within traditional engineering courses and promotes discovery learning among students by means of design exploration. We illustrate our approach using a shape synthesis task that integrates environmental assessment into design by constraining the decision space for domain specific variables. Results from a user survey for analyzing the effects of our framework show its ability to promote both awareness and applicability of sustainable design concepts as well as its potential for use in existing engineering curricula.

CitationRamanujan, Devarajan, William Z. Bernstein, Monica Cardella, and Karthik Ramani. "Contextualizing Environmental Sustainability in Design Engineering Curricula." In ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. V003T04A025-V003T04A025. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2014.

ViSER: Visualizing supply chains for eco-conscious redesign

posted Nov 9, 2015, 2:03 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Mar 9, 2016, 7:41 AM ]

Abstract: In this paper, we present ViSER, an interactive visual analytics platform that visualizes supply chain data for enabling eco-conscious redesign. ViSER provides a visualization dashboard consisting of multiple mutually coordinated views that provide different perspectives on a particular supply chain scenario. Our platform allows users to visualize a change propagation metric associated with a particular redesign path. Hence, the user can balance the advantages of a redesign opportunity with the risk associated with its effect on the rest of the supply chain. Furthermore, ViSER offers lifecycle data representations that inform users’ decisions particularly in the context of eco-conscious redesign. Coupling such environmental data with graph-based visualizations of product architecture, ViSER provides a novel decision platform for designers with a range of expertise levels. To demonstrate its utility, two use-case scenarios, from both a novice and expert perspective, are presented in detail.

CitationBernstein, William Z., Devarajan Ramanujan, Niklas Elmqvist, Fu Zhao, and Karthik Ramani. "ViSER: Visualizing Supply Chains for Eco-Conscious Redesign." In ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. V004T06A049-V004T06A049. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2014.

Juxtapoze: Supporting Serendipity and Creative Expression in Clipart Compositions

posted Nov 9, 2015, 1:58 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 2:01 PM ]

Figure : The Juxtapoze workflow (from left to right): (1) exploring the shape database using scribbled input; (2) edit a selected shape using standard drawing operations; (3) drag the shape into position on the canvas; (4) compose it with other shapes; and (5) repeat for a full drawing.
Abstract: Juxtapoze is a clipart composition workflow that supports creative expression and serendipitous discoveries in the shape domain. We achieve creative expression by supporting a workflow of searching, editing, and composing: the user queries the shape database using strokes, selects the desired search result, and finally modifies the selected image before composing it into the overall drawing. Serendipitous discovery of shapes is facilitated by allowing multiple exploration channels, such as doodles, shape filtering, and relaxed search. Results from a qualitative evaluation show that Juxtapoze makes the process of creating image compositions enjoyable and supports creative expression and serendipity.

Citation: Benjamin, William, Senthil Chandrasegaran, Devarajan Ramanujan, Niklas Elmqvist, S. V. N. Vishwanathan, and Karthik Ramani. "Juxtapoze: supporting serendipity and creative expression in clipart compositions." In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 341-350. ACM, 2014.

Profiling Energy Consumption of Smartphone Users for Environmentally Efficient Business Decisions

posted Nov 9, 2015, 1:50 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 2:01 PM ]

Abstract: The recent proliferation of electronic products has led to a strong unmet need for understanding environmental implications of new technologies. According to Nielsen, 66% of Americans ages 24-35 own a smartphone, providing strong evidence that this technology can be considered ubiquitous. However, a majority of users and service providers are not sensitive to energy implications of data usage. As parameters affecting data delivery and usage are primarily driven by user behavior, this study is focused on using empirical data to investigate its correspondence to energy footprint. A large cohort of smartphone users (n = 21,853) and the means for which data is accessed, i.e. via 3G/LTE or WiFi, is examined to develop a model for estimating the energy cost of the various modes of data usage. Finally, alternate business scenarios are developed through simulating behavior change in cohorts based on existing data and then assessed with regards to economic and environmental efficiencies.

Citation: Bernstein, William Z., Devarajan Ramanujan, Fu Zhao, and Karthik Ramani. "Profiling Energy Consumption of Smartphone Users for Environmentally Efficient Business Decisions." In ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. V004T05A042-V004T05A042. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2013.

shapeSift: Suggesting sustainable options in design reuse from part repositories

posted Nov 9, 2015, 1:47 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 2:01 PM ]

Abstract: shapeSift is a framework for supporting sustainability based decision making during selection of similar previous designs from part repositories. Our framework is designed for 3D part repositories that contain metadata pertaining to materials and manufacturing processes as well as the functionality of a given part. To demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed framework we develop an example multi-dimensional visualization that encodes part similarities as well as a calculated environmental sustainability indicator. This visualization is incorporated in a prototype interface that focuses on enhancing the intuitiveness of the exploration process by the use of sketch-based retrieval.

Citation: Ramanujan, Devarajan, William Benjamin, William Z. Bernstein, Niklas Elmqvist, and Karthik Ramani. "ShapeSift: Suggesting Sustainable Options in Design Reuse From Part Repositories." In ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. V004T05A041-V004T05A041. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2013.

Designing-in Sustainability by Linking Engineering Curricula with K-12 Science Projects

posted Nov 9, 2015, 1:46 PM by Devarajan Ramanujan

Abstract:  In light of society’s increasing awareness with regards to the health of the environment, many engineering firms are hiring recent engineering graduates with project- (or course-) based experience in environmental sustainability. Currently engineering schools at the collegiate level have addressed this need by modifying their curricula by including additional coursework on sustainability related subjects. The next step of adaptation calls for a holistic treatment of sustainability concepts by integrating them within traditional coursework. Engineering schools have not yet addressed the best way to accomplish this integration due to the concerns stemming from the increase in cognitive load and scheduling pressure. Additionally, it has been shown that K-12 curricula also lack exposure to sustainable thinking. As a result, incoming freshmen are not aware of the inherent correlations between engineering principles, e.g. heat transfer and environmental sustainability. To prepare the next generation of innovative thinkers to solve these complex, interdisciplinary issues, engineering principles must be contextualized in terms of sustainable design at both the K-12 and undergraduate levels. To meet this need, the authors developed a general framework for introducing sustainable design thinking into K-12 student projects. A pilot case is presented to illustrate a particular student’s (listed as a co-author) growth through a newly gained understanding of environmental sustainability through experimentation. The project specifically addresses various insulation materials for residential buildings by judging their individual environmental advantages and economic feasibility.  The main outcome of this project is the extensive redesign of an existing undergraduate heat and mass transfer lab experiment.

Citation: Bernstein, William Z., Arjun Ramani, Xiulin Ruan, Devarajan Ramanujan, and Karthik Ramani. "Designing-In Sustainability by Linking Engineering Curricula With K-12 Science Projects." In ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. 305-312. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2012.

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