The problem addressed is an issue of developing physical embodiments from a set of spatial configurations. These configurations are generated by a software program, FuncSION, for generating a wide range of concepts for mechanical design problems in conceptual design.
The method for transforming functional solutions to physical embodiments, consists of three steps: (1) to develop the relationships between each functional element and its physical embodiments, (2) to build the rule for ensuring interface compatibility between any two connecting objects, and (3) to develop reasoning procedures to replace each functional element in a spatial configuration with all its possible physical embodiments. Using this method, alternative physical embodiments for this spatial configuration can be found.
The outcome of the method is the presentation of physical embodiments, which leads to an improved visualisation of the spatial configurations, and an increase in the number of possible concepts.