Michael E. Helms

Michael E. Helms
Georgia Institute of Technology | GT · School of Interactive Computing

PhD

About

46
Publications
14,047
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1,567
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2014 - present
Georgia Institute of Technology
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (46)
Conference Paper
In this case study we report on the use of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned form of Structure-Behavior-Function, called Structure-Function-Mechanism (SFM), to teach four high school engineering teachers an approach for Biologically Inspired Design (BID). Functional theories of design describe a natural way in which designers solve...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence-centered design (ECD) is an assessment framework tailored to provide structure and rigor to the assessment development process, and also to generate evidence of assessment validity by tightly coupling assessment tasks with focal knowledge, skills, and abilities (FKSAs). This framework is particularly well-suited to FKSAs that are complex a...
Article
Full-text available
A broad diversity of biological organisms and systems interact with soil in ways that facilitate their growth and survival. These interactions are made possible by strategies that enable organisms to accomplish functions that can be analogous to those required in geotechnical engineering systems. Examples include anchorage in soft and weak ground,...
Conference Paper
EarSketch lowers the barriers to entry and broadens engagement in computer science through expressive and culturally relevant music composition. In EarSketch, students write computer code to remix sound samples into original music compositions, often within hours of first exposure to the application. Coupled with sound samples rooted in modern musi...
Chapter
With the rapid adoption of software-based learning in classrooms, it is increasingly important to design more intelligent educational software, a goal of the emerging field of educational data mining. In this work, we analyze student activities from using a learning tool for engineers, Mechanix, in order to find trends that may be used to make the...
Article
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The key intended learning outcome of interdisciplinary engineering courses and programs is the development of students' ability to integrate knowledge known as integrated understanding. Still, there are only few examples of assessment tasks designed to deliberately assess this attribute in engineering education, and little is known about how to dev...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bioinspired design is becoming an increasingly popular approach which makes use of nature as a source of inspiration to develop engineering, architectural and other designs. Tools and methods are currently being analyzed and tested to determine how designers may best leverage biological systems to generate designs. In this paper we present a study...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Much design theory research seeks to create, evaluate, improve or optimize design methods. Whether that research focuses on design thinking, tools, methods, or education, short design problems are often provided to participants in order to evaluate the effects of the variables being tested. When designing and creating such problems, certain charact...
Article
Engineering students in large classes receive far too little feedback on hand-sketched Free Body Diagrams (FBDs.) Despite the importance of these diagrams for engineering education and practice, large class sizes often make providing detailed paper-based feedback impractical. Such issues are even further strained in MOOC classes. Relatively recentl...
Chapter
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Conceptual design typically entails co-evolution of the design problem and the design solution: Initial problem formulations lead to preliminary solutions; Incremental changes in the proposed solution lead to new insights into the design problem, and so on. In this paper, we describe a complementary process: problem evolution using analogies to alr...
Article
Searching for biological analogies appropriate for design problems is a core process of biologically inspired design (BID). Through in situ observations of student BIDs, we discovered that student designers struggle with two issues that bookend the problem of search: design problem formulation, which generates the set of conditions to be used for s...
Article
Full-text available
We present the BioM Innovation Database, the first of its kind containing detailed information about global biomimetic activity. We present a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the database to address the following questions: (1) Are products, which are identified as being the result of biologically inspired design (BID), actually BID and to...
Conference Paper
The process of biologically inspired design is fundamentally analogical; given a design problem, the process retrieves potentially multiple biological analogues as potential sources of inspiration. The selection of a specific analogue for idea generation naturally has a strong influence on the final design. But what makes one biological analogue be...
Chapter
Starting from in situ studies, we develop an information-processing theory of biologically inspired design. We compare our theory with two popular theories of biologically inspired design: Biomimicry 3.8 Institute’s Design Spiral and Vincent et al.’s BioTRIZ. While Design Spiral and BioTRIZ are normative and prescriptive, our information-processing...
Chapter
Full-text available
At Georgia Tech in 2005, we developed an interdisciplinary undergraduate semester-long course, biologically inspired design (BID), co-taught each year by faculty from biology and engineering. The objective of this chapter is to share our teaching experience with those interested in teaching such a course themselves. The specific curriculum of a BID...
Chapter
Our research on design adopts the perspectives of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and human-centered computing. Thus, it produces information-processing theories, computational models, computer programs, and interactive tools for aspects of design. In this chapter, we describe these perspectives and products. We also illustrate some of...
Article
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) repr...
Article
We envision that the next generation of knowledge-based CAD systems will be characterized by four features: they will be based on cognitive accounts of design, and they will support collaborative design, conceptual design, and creative design. In this paper, we first analyze these four dimensions of CAD. We then report on a study in the design, dev...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Biologically inspired design perhaps is one of the most important movements in engineering design. The paradigm espouses use of analogies to biology in generating conceptual designs for new technologies. In this paper, we briefly summarize some empirical findings about biologically inspired design, and then develop an information-processing theory...
Conference Paper
An important issue in teaching interdisciplinary biologically inspired design is the external representations we use to foster understanding of biological systems. In this study we explore if functional models of biological systems, and in particular Structure-Behavior- Function (SBF) models, enable humans to better understand complex biological sy...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
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...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we present an initial attempt at systemizing knowledge of biological systems from an engineering perspective. In particular, we describe an interactive knowledge-based design environment called DANE that uses the Structure-Behavior-Function (SBF) schema for capturing the functioning of biological systems. We present preliminary resul...
Conference Paper
Sustainable design is as an important movement in design. Biologically inspired design is a major paradigm for sustainable design. In this paper, we analyze a corpus of biologically inspired design projects in terms of sustainability. We then describe a case study of analogical design of a fog harvesting net, and abstract from it the patterns of Hy...
Article
Full-text available
The growing movement of biologically inspired design is driven in part by the need for sustainable development and in part by the recognition that nature could be a source of innovation. Biologically inspired design by definition entails cross-domain analogies from biological systems to problems in engineering and other design domains. However, the...
Conference Paper
Biologically inspired engineering design requires understanding of complex biological systems for use as analogues in engineering designs. In this study we seek to understand how functional representations, in particular Structure-Behavior-Function (SBF) models, enable understanding complex biological systems. Results from this study indicate that...
Article
Full-text available
A team of biologists, engineers, and cognitive scientists has been working together for the past five years, teaching an upper level undergraduate course in biologically inspired design where half the class of forty students are biologists and other physical scientists and the other half are engineers (mechanical, materials, industrial, others). Fr...
Article
Biologically inspired engineering design uses analogies to biological systems to develop solutions for engineering problems. We conducted a study of biologically inspired design in the context of an interdisciplinary introductory course on biologically inspired engineering design in Fall of 2006. The goals of this study were to understand the proce...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Analogy is a fundamental process of creativity. Biologically inspired design by definition entails cross-domain analogies, and in practice has led to many innovative designs. Thus, biological inspired design is an ideal domain for studying creative analogies. In this paper, we describe an intricate episode of biologically inspired design that unfol...
Article
Full-text available
Biologically inspired design uses biological systems as analogues for addressing design problems. We have conducted in situ observational studies of biologically inspired engineering design in practice. Based on these studies, we present a meta-analysis of biologically inspired design as extreme case-based reasoning. Case-based reasoning in biologi...
Chapter
Full-text available
One important and often overlooked implication of case based design systems is the acquisition of cases, which are typically hand crafted by system designers. Not only does this make case acquisition difficult and time consuming, but it may also introduce unanticipated biases and limitations into the system. In this paper we demonstrate a case base...
Chapter
Full-text available
Biologically inspired design (BID) can be viewed as an example of analogy-based design. Existing models of analogy-based design do not fully account for the gen eration of complex solutions in BID, especially those which contain compound so lutions. In this paper we develop a conceptual framework of compound analogical designthat explains the gener...
Article
Full-text available
Biologically inspired engineering design is an approach to design that espouses the adaptation of functions and mechanisms in biological sciences to solve engineering design problems. We have conducted an in situ study of designers engaged in biologically inspired design. Based on this study we develop here a macrocognitive information-rocessing mo...
Article
Full-text available
Biologically-inspired design uses analogous biological systems to develop novel solutions for human needs. In this paper we describe an in situ cognitive study of biologically inspired engineering design. We found that biologically inspired engineering design often involves compound analogies in which a new design concept is generated by composing...
Article
Full-text available
Biologically-inspired design uses analogous biological phenomena to develop solutions for engineering problems. Understanding, learning and practicing this approach to design is challenging because biologists and engineers speak different languages, have different perspectives on design, with different constraints on design problems and different r...
Article
Full-text available
Biologically inspired design uses biological systems as analogues to develop solutions for design problems. We conducted a cognitive study of biologically inspired design in the context of an interdisciplinary introductory course on biologically inspired design in Fall of 2006. The goal of this study was to understand the processes of biologically...
Article
Full-text available
Presented at the Second Design Creativity Workshop, Atlanta, June 22, 2008. Biologically inspired design (BID) uses biological systems as analogues to develop solutions for design problems. Although designers have been looking to nature for inspiration for eons, only recently is BID gaining in importance as a wide-spread movement in design for envi...

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