An example of "product evolution"

This is a deformable mobile robot, but NOT the one mentioned in the paper. I've written before about design and evolution . Here...

This is a deformable mobile robot,
but NOT the one mentioned in the paper.
I've written before about design and evolution. Here's an example of that, drawn from the robotics research literature.

The research paper is “Design and Locomotion Analysis of a Novel Deformable Mobile Robot with Two Spatial Reconfigurable Platforms and Three Kinematic Chains." You don't need to worry about the content of the paper per se; the abstract (available at that link) is good enough.  Indeed, even the title of the paper is enough to make my point.

The authors report on a new design of deformable mobile robot. The design, novel though it may be, is not a whole new class of product. It is solidly based on existing technologies, physical principles, and even structure (though those parts have been reshaped significantly - rather like a whale's fin and a human's arm significantly reshaped versions of the same basic structure).

The robot can be thought of as a significant mutation on existing designs of deformable mobile robots, and all the other robots on which this new one is based are its genetic parents.

The researchers intend the performance of their new design to exceed that of other robots. While there is no intention in natural evolution, we don't really need to worry about that here because, depending on context, lots if not most new products fail [1-4]. And certainly if one only looks at early development projects - like this deformable robot - it's safe to say the failure rate is probably even higher than it is in industry. So, regardless of the researchers' intention, they just don't know if their design will be better.

In this case, "better" is defined as whether the new robot is able to perform in quantifiably superior ways in very specific environments. If it is better, it will become the standard on which future research is conducted; it may even find commercial use. If it isn't better, it will be forgotten.

This is equivalent to the survival of an organism in an ecology. Organisms evolve to fit their environment. If the environment changes too fast or too far, the organism won't survive. If a new type of organism evolves that performs better in that environment, it will eventually crowd the older type out of existence.

The thing is, though, the researchers don't actually know if their design will be successful (yet). They will test it to find out. Those tests are the equivalent of natural selection in biological organisms, and ultimately yield similar types of results: either the robot will become popular, or it will become extinct.

But even if it becomes extinct, it may leave "genetic" traces of itself behind, just like extinct lifeforms have left genetic traces of themselves in us. For the robot, those traces will be features, parts, and technologies that will recur in future robot designs - traces that, though they were part of a failed design, may themselves ultimately be beneficial in some future design.

Because of all this, then, the engineers and researchers who developed the robot are the source of mutation, the "reproductive system" of the robot, and a significant element of the "artificial selection" process (the socio-technical systems version of "natural selection") that leads to the robot's eventual success or extinction.

I hope this example helps show how we are part of the evolutionary process of our products.

1. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1250634?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
2. http://www.stage-gate.com/resources_stage-gate_latestresearch.php
3. http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/clay-christensens-milkshake-marketing
4. https://newproductsuccess.org/white-papers/new-product-failure-rates-2013-jpim-30-pp-976-979/

COMMENTS

Name

academia activism admin aesthetics affect ageing AI analogy android anthropology anticipation app architecture art arts Asia assistive technology balance biology biomimetics book branding building business CAD Canada case cfp change revision children codesign cognition collaboration colonization commercialization commonplacing communication design competition complexity computation computer science computing concept map conference constructivism conversational analysis craft creative arts creativity CSCW culture cybernetics dementia design design thinking digital digital media digital reproduction digital scholarship disability dissertation drawing economics education effectiveness efficiency emotion engineering environment ergonomics ethics ethnography Evernote evolution exhibition exoskeleton experience experimental studies fail fashion featured film food function modeling futurism gender studies Germany globalization grantsmanship graphic design Greece HCI health heritage history housing human factors humanism identity image inclusivity industrial design informatics information innovation interaction interior design internet of things iphone journal journalism language law library life life cycle lifehack logistics luxury making management manufacturing material culture materials mechanics media method migration mobile motion design movie new product development Nexus 6 olfaction online organization packaging paper participatory design PBL pengate performance PhD philosophy planning policy politics practice predatory preservation prison proceedings productivity project management public space publishing reading Remember The Milk reproduction research resource-limited design review Samsung scholarship science science fiction semiotics senses service design simplicity society sociology software space strategic design student sustainability systems tactile tangibility technology textile theatre theory Toodledo Toronto tourism traffic transhumanism transnationalism transportation tv uncertainty universal design urban usa usability user experience visualization wearable well-being women workshop writing
false
ltr
item
The Trouble with Normal...: An example of "product evolution"
An example of "product evolution"
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qcUWPeXKnUw/Vzihan8ttXI/AAAAAAAAZVk/1W8l2aGjbfoXM1uC-tOEIsCngkrePKd8wCLcB/s320/deformablerobot.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qcUWPeXKnUw/Vzihan8ttXI/AAAAAAAAZVk/1W8l2aGjbfoXM1uC-tOEIsCngkrePKd8wCLcB/s72-c/deformablerobot.jpg
The Trouble with Normal...
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/2016/05/an-example-of-product-evolution.html
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/2016/05/an-example-of-product-evolution.html
true
389378225362699292
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy