3D CAD and Mental Scaling in the Product Design Process: Exploring the Creativity Potential in Design Education

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Harald, Skulberg
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Institute of Design, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Norway
Section: Teaching Design Technology
Page(s): 732-737
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


This paper explores the potential of using technology as a tool for creativity in design education. The gap between research and practice in the design field requires a stronger emphasis on research on design methodologies, and investigating the influence of technology in this context seems appropriate. In particular, this paper explores the relation between the use of parametric Computer-Aided Design (i.e. CAD) software and mental scaling - or mental elasticity. Mental scaling describes the ability to mentally fluctuate between divergent and convergent thinking through the design process. This is a case study where a group of industrial design students without previous experience with using this software were asked to document their own physical model during an assignment by building their own virtual 3D model. Through the use of photo documentation, observations and a written questionnaire, this study explains how CAD may constitute a catalyst for mental scaling by turning the initial documentation process into an extended design process through added iterations.

Keywords: Design methodology, Computer-Aided Design, mental scaling, virtual 3D model, case study


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