nstructions and Prompt

nstructions and Prompt

In this assignment, you’ll develop new use scenarios for a technology using functional thinking.


You will need a technology seed in order to complete assignments. Technology options are listed in the library of technologies. (If you prefer to use a technology that you have developed, or one that you have an existing interest in, then you may do so.)

It is recommended that you review the Participation Agreement included in the course syllabus before posting/sharing your response via the OPTIONAL discussion board activity.


·       Generate two new use scenarios for your technology using functional analysis.

1.    What is the technology seed? What are the main parameters of value and the functions?

2.    For each use scenario, what is the need? How does the technology fit within the broader context (i.e., what problems/pain points is it addressing, for whom, and how). What is the potential value that could be created by using the technology? You can think of value to your customer in terms of the economic benefits they derive from your product or service, any experiential value they can derive, and any social value created such as network effects. Beyond these, you can think of broader value to society in terms of environmental benefits, for instance.

Example Response

The following example response uses the “Structural Health Monitoring” technology outlined by Sam Kogan in the section on functional analysis. If you need help getting started, we recommended reviewing the example.

Technology Seed, Main Parameters of Value, and Functions

Selected Technology: Structural Health Monitoring by measuring difference in thermal conductivity across surfaces.

This technology essentially allows “real time,” rapid and non-invasive monitoring of changes in thermal conductivity from a baseline value across an interface between two mechanical components leveraging a standard SHM technique. The patent describes its applications in satellites, where the structural integrity of bolted joints, which are subjected to thermal cycling, is highly important. Stock parts, if damaged before assembly and launch during shipping or storage, need to be evaluated for integrity and performance as per design and any shortcomings detected therein. The described technique can greatly reduce the cost associated with such evaluation and testing, which currently, is done by repeated thermal cycling in a vacuum environment. The latter procedure can cost several thousands of dollars and takes several weeks to months.

As illustrated in the lectures, a starting point in the application of functional thinking is to define our technology’s main parameters of value and functions. The technology in question (US. Patent No. 8585283) was developed with the function of allowing rapid testing of the thermal integrity of the joints (and the comprising components) and structural interfaces in satellites. An auxiliary function that it performs is to generate a pressure and shear wave (vibrations) in the components being tested. The main parameters of value are: (1) It is fast (2) it provides real-time information (3) it is inexpensive. We could also define a fourth (4) it is non-invasive and does not damage the structures being monitored.

Using this information, we then searched through the US Patent Database for applications using several keywords describing the primary functionality. One of the patents we found, for instance, US Patent No. 698730B2 describes a method to evaluate the changes in the structural integrity and thermal conductivity of heat-protective coatings applied to gas turbines. This leads us to a potential use case for our technology. Similarly, other patents (such as US Patent No. 9952593) describe the visual inspection that is done on aircraft to detect damage, pointing to the application of our technology to aircraft maintenance as we described in example 2.1. Note that we are particularly interested in applications where the thermal conductivity is being evaluated.

Use Scenario 1

Similar to satellites, aircraft joints (such as those between laminates on the wing) are subjected to repeat impact, corrosion and thermal stresses. The dominant methods of evaluating aircraft integrity are (1) visual (the pilot and maintenance crews walking around and taking a look at the craft) and (2) an occasional, regularly scheduled advanced diagnostic test which involves disassembling the components. Inspection alone accounted for 70 million man hours and $10.5 billion in the aircraft industry in 2003. An inexpensive continuous SHM system can allow for on-going monitoring of the structural integrity of these joints, and can help maintenance engineers predict the remaining time to failure. It can also help identify any corrective measures that are necessary when necessary without the need for disassembly. The application of SHM techniques can thereby help reduce aircraft downtime and costs (as SHM can provide real-time feedback), reduce the number of maintenance calls required overall and improve system reliability and safety.

Use Scenario 2

The blades and column of wind turbines are subject to thermal loads both because of changes in ambient temperature when they are deployed in harsh environments (e.g. offshore turbines in the North Sea) and due to energy dissipation of the mechanical stresses they experience in operation. This SHM system can allow for continuous or rapid monitoring of the integrity of several turbine joints. Similar to the maintenance process for aircraft, turbines undergo scheduled (preventive) maintenance and unscheduled (failure related) maintenance, both of which typically require the turbine to be taken offline. These costs can account for 10-20% of the total cost of electricity finally produced by turbines. The SHM technology here can reduce the down time involved and failure prediction by again, allowing continuous monitoring to evaluate system integrity and time to failure.

Question 1

What is the technology seed? What are the main parameters of value and the functions?

Your Answer

Question 2 (Use Scenario 1)

Enter your first use scenario here.

Your Answer

Question 3 (Use Scenario 2)

Enter your second use scenario


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