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    Using design strategies from microfluidic device patents to support idea generation

    Article obtained from Springer RSS Feed.

    Abstract

    Microfluidics has been an important method in providing answers to a wide variety of research questions in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. Microfluidic designers benefit from instructional textbooks describing foundational principles and practices in developing microfluidic devices; however, these texts do not offer guidance about how to generate design concepts for microfluidic devices. Research on design in related fields, such as mechanical engineering, documents the difficulties engineers face when attempting to generate novel ideas. For microfluidic device designers, support during idea generation may lead to greater exploration of potential innovations in design. To investigate successful idea generation in microfluidics, we analyzed successful microfluidic US patents, selecting those with the key word “microfluidic” over a 2-year period. After analyzing the features and functions of 235 patents, we identified 36 distinct design strategies in microfluidic devices. We document each strategy, and demonstrate their usefulness in a concept generation study of practitioners in microfluidic design. While some of the identified design strategies may be familiar to microfluidic designers, exposure to this large set of strategies helped participants generate more diverse, creative, and unique microfluidic design concepts, which are considered best practices in idea generation.

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    Jun, 14 2018 |

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