USER INTERFACE FOR AUTOMATION OF A PRODUCT DESIGN
Dr. Hussein H. Owaied
Middle East University for Graduate Studies, Dept. of Computer Science,
Dr. Nidhal Kamel Taha El-Omari
The World Islamic Sciences and Education University, Dept. of Computer Science,
Dr. Mahmmoud M. Abu-Arr'a
Philadelphia University, Dept. of Business Networks and Systems Management,
This paper presents all the required software modules for the user interface of the
framework model for the automation of product design processes. The proposed
framework model is based on the behavior of human product designer during the
design processes of a product and the philosophy of virtual engineering. This
paper is a continuation of previous works, that have been done in the area of
knowledge engineering and all are based on the philosophy of functional model of
human system. This paper concentrates in the main functions of the user interface,
which are: Editing facilities for Knowledge base, Editing facilities for Technology
base, and the two modules, Behavior module and Protocols modules. The user
interface is proposed by studying and analysis of the behavior of the human
product designer during the design of a new product. Also an architecture for
expert system proposed for the engineering domain to be used for automation
product design processes.
Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Engineering, Information
Technology, Virtual Engineering.
1 INTRODUCTION On the other hand, to leverage from new horizontal
business models, manufacturers must embrace
Books and manuals are two of many resources collaborative operational techniques facilitated by
for information and have a tremendous amount of modern technological tools which can be used in the
information but a human is the most important manufacturing and production processes. Thus, the
Information's resources. Human usually gathering human product designer mixed his knowledge base
the information through his sensors, interpret them about that product design with the technology base.
then store them in his long term memory according The technology base consists of many types of
to certain representation scheme. Once the elements that can be used during the designing
information is identified, collected and stored, it processes of the required product. The first widely
must be transformed into knowledge that also use of computer within the knowledge base is
integrates the experimental level of a human who through assistance for engineering served drawing,
worked in a specified area. calculations, data storage, and documentations
Manufacturing today requires an unprecedented printing activities. Then the modeling tools in the
degree of collaboration, coordination and industry applied CAD/CAM systems for designing a
consistency among people to facilitate modern product and for controlling manufacturing processes.
technologies in designing the required product The use of computer system by engineers shows a
according to a given set of predefined specifications. mechanical part in three dimensions allowing the
To make workflow-based design usually human use engineer to develop or modify its model or to include
more facility and efficient activities and are done it in an assembly structure. In the other hand human
through general-purpose knowledge sharing. knowledge, skill, and experience can be utilized in
an interactive communication with the computer
system that is capable of creating a model optimum solution is the first one of that specified
description by utilizing the knowledge, skill, and order. Note that the same solution might take
experience of human if can be programmed . different courses of actions to solve a specific
As the final goal of Artificial Intelligence is problem. Moreover, based upon previously return
building an intelligent machine, the goal of the results, the same solution may be automatically
proposed user interface philosophy is the building of adjusted before applied. Furthermore, the order of
the Knowledge and Technology bases. This the list of possible solutions may also be changed
intelligent machine (Robot) must have certain according to these previously return results.
compatibilities such as behaving like a human being To end with, we define knowledge base as a
in acquiring information through analyzing data and machine readable and interpretable collection of
abstract information toward solving complex information and a Knowledge-based system as a
unstructured problems. Therefore, we want to come software system that facilitates acquisition and
across software that emulates the interaction of the maintenance of knowledge. On the other hand, we
human in Knowledge and Technology bases to work define Technology base as a machine readable and
out a specific problem. This paper is a continuation interpretable collection of technologies and a
of previous work and all are based on the philosophy Technology-based system as a software system that
of functional model of human system . facilitates acquisition and maintenance of
The proposed philosophy can come through a technology. This software can be used in the virtual
selection of a single solution or a list of possible engineering activities as shown in Fig. 1 .
solutions in a previously specified order. The near-
Testing Product design Marketing
Costing Manufacturing Distribution
Control of equipment Customer
Virtual engineering Market related activities
Figure 1: Engineering Activities in the Virtual Engineering 
2 THE ARCHITECTURE OF AUTOMATION CAD/CAM system and other systems that have been
THE DESIGN PROCESSES OF PRODUCTS used by the designers to complete the task of
designing a product .
Fig. 2 presents the proposed architecture as
Technology and Knowledge-Based System . The 2.1 Inference Engine
proposed architecture is based on the behavior of the The inference engine mechanism is playing the
human designer (human product designer) during the most important role in the construction of functional
design of a required product according to the given model of human System. It is regarded as a
specifications. combination of problem solving methodologies,
Usually at present there are many tools such as search techniques, and reasoning agents. Its
implementation depends on the representation methods, nor general search techniques are easy to
schemes used for knowledge base and technology be used in any field of engineering.
The searching techniques are used by the 2.2 The knowledge and Technology Bases
problem solver to search both knowledge base and The knowledge base and technology base
technology base for the required knowledge and represent the repository of designing a specified type
required technology according to the assertions given of products in narrow domain of engineering, such as
by the end user. These searching techniques are electronic engineering, or mechanical engineering.
depending on the representation schemes adapted by The implementation of knowledge base depends
both the knowledge base and technology base. on the representation forms of the knowledge and
usually there are many forms used by human which
are may be applied, but the used for this purpose are
User Interface limited such as: rule base, semantic nets, frame, logic
forms, and so on.
0n the other hand, the implementation of
Protocols Module technology base can be regarded as special type of
database which consist of all the necessary
characteristics of a technology which are mention in
Behavior Module section 1. Each Technology will be represented as a
file which consists of all the attributes required
together with a link to its picture. The design and
Editing Facilities implementation of this special type of database
for Knowledge system is a sophisticated system that should deal
Base and with multimedia types and multimedia sources. The
Technology Base reason of using multimedia types and sources
because the characteristics of any Technology can be
stored in the Technology base such as: Text, Graph,
Picture, Numerical data, and Links. So the most
important parts of the proposed system are the
Inference Engine Knowledge base and the Technology base and the
power of any Knowledge and Technology-based
system is depend on the adequate and the integration
of Knowledge base and the Technology base
representation formats used for a particular domain.
Knowledge Base In this sense, the most important phase in building
And technology-base system is the building of the
Technology Base knowledge base and the technology base; this
process is part of knowledge engineering which is an
important field at the present century.
Figure 2: Architecture of Technology and 2.3 The Working Memory
Knowledge-Based System. The working memory is the place where all the
activities of the inference engine have to be done;
The reasoning agent is responsible to accept these activities are :
sophisticated queries concerning some specific • The applications of the used problem solving
product model and to execute appropriate automated methods, the reasoning agent, and the searching
tasks. This service is provided by a special techniques.
application programming interface mechanism • The processes of the editing facilities for the
provided in the user interface which introduces a set knowledge base and the technology base.
of fundamental data types that can be coherently • The processes of the prototype designing of the
used for various complex queries and assertions . required product.
Its goal is to enable the packaging of any supported • The processes of the final design of the product.
data definitions by a simple representation. Its power
can be increased by implementing a larger number of 2.4 User Interface
solvers and by enhancing their capabilities to solve The user interface, also known as human
complex tasks . computer interface, is the aggregate of means by
However, collecting information from workflow which people (users) interacts with the system. This
knowledge and technology is not an easy way. system may be a particular machine, device,
Unfortunately, neither general problem solving computer program or other complex tool.
The user interface is proposed by studying and about the required information that to be passed
analyzing of the behavior of the human product between the two stages.
designer during the design of a new product. The
user interface for automation of a products design 2.4.3 The Editing Facilities for Knowledge and
processes consists of three modules that will be Technology Bases
described in the following subsections. Usually the updating facilities are the insert of
new knowledge or technology into its base or
2.4.1 The Behavior Module changing or deleting the previously stored one. All
These modules simulate the human designer these updating facilities are applied according to the
communications activities with the environment, given request by the end user. Each one of these two
during the designing of a specific product. These parts of the proposed system are special program, its
activities are presented as the following modules: main task is to deal with the updating facilities of the
1. Calling a specific software package module: the knowledge or technology base through the
function of this module is to select the specific interaction with the end user. Obviously, the editing
software package according to the product facilities for the knowledge are different than the
specifications. editing facilities for the technology base. Each
2. Capturing the product specifications module: the program should be cooperate between the user
function of this module is capturing the parameters interface modules, which are discussed in sections
for product specifications. 2.4.1 and 2.4.2, and its knowledge base
3. Observing the new knowledge and then updating representation schemes, which are discussed in
module: the function of this module observing the section 2.2.
new knowledge and then updating the existing The design and implementation of the
knowledge base accordingly. knowledge program is a sophisticated system that
4. Observing the new technology and then updating should be based on the knowledge base
module: the function of this module observing the representation scheme used in the knowledge base
new technology and then updating the existing and in cooperative with the problem solving
technology base accordingly. methodology and searching techniques used in the
5. Communication with the next step: this activity is inference engine. Alternatively, the design and
required for manufacturing in the virtual implementation of this technology program is a
engineering module as seen in Fig. 1. sophisticated system that should deal with editing
deferent multimedia types and multimedia sources.
2.4.2 The Protocols Modules
The protocols modules provide means of 3 APPLICATION
languages used between the others modules. The
protocols modules can have many formats, these Since the structure of the proposed system is as a
simulation of the human product designer during the
1. Software Calling Format: Format for calling design of a required product according to the given
software packages, in which one of them can be
requirements, therefore the applications of the
passing the parameters for drawing the shape of
proposed system is in the areas where human product
product (production sheet). designer works. However, the proposed system can
2. Specifications Format: Format for entering the
be used as a core part for different real life
product specifications which can be as production
applications in engineering domain. In this context
sheet. the application areas vary from one area to another
3. Technologies Format: Format for the observing
such as electrical engineering, mechanical
new technologies which can be in two forms, one
engineering, civil engineering, and can be in any area
for passing the characteristics of the new of designing product.
technology to the CAD system to produce its
In all of the above areas, the human works is
shape and the other one for passing the drawing of
regular and traditional, but there are some of the
the new technology to the editing facilities of human designers are expert in their specialized area.
technology base, or updating the existing one. The specialty of them usually in specific and narrow
4. Knowledge Format: Format for observing new
domain of engineering, and they are different from
knowledge also can be in two forms, one for others colleagues in their line of deduction and their
representing the new knowledge in the knowledge
decision making abilities. These abilities can be
base and the other one for updating the existing
added to the proposed technology and knowledge-
knowledge. based system to become expert system.
5. Communication Format: this format consists of all
Therefore, the definition of expert system
the information and data required to communicate according to this philosophical view is Technology
between the design process and the manufacturing and Knowledge-based system with the facilities of
stages. In other words, this format is responsible
correctly deduct and correctly making decision. In
other words, it is the Technology and Knowledge- expert system to be applied in the domain of
based system with the facilities of answering the automation of a product processes will be as shown
questions WHY and HOW correctly . in Fig. 3. These expert systems are represented as
Consequently, the proposed new architecture for sophisticated software within the computer system.
Behavior Protocols Editing Facilities Editing Facilities
Module Modules for Knowledge for Technology
Making Technology Base
Figure 3: Architecture of Proposed Expert System
6, pp. 460–464 (2005).
4 CONCLUSION  Owaied H. Hussein, Abu-Arr’a M. Mahmoud:
Functional Model of Human System as a
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