Institute of Visual Informatics

Institute of Visual Informatics (IVI)

Leading Digital Technology Across Industrial Revolution

A Novel Framework to Support Innovative Product Design based on TRIZ and Shape Grammars

– Headed by Dr Ang Mei Choo.

Innovation is a key factor in determining the success of any products in a competitive global market and crucial for the sustainability of enterprises that indulge in the development and manufacturing of technological products. Top innovative enterprises such as Samsung, Procter & Gamble, Apple and Intel have applied TRIZ successfully and extensively to innovate their products.


TRIZ is a useful design tool to derive innovative design. However, it is a text-based tool and the efficacy of the final detailed design solutions is subject to the interpretation of designers based on their knowledge and creativity. For local industries that are trying to build-up their R&D capabilities to create new innovative products, the difficulties of interpretation faced by our local designers in applying TRIZ are inevitable. Hence, there is a need to help designers in interpreting the general solutions derived from TRIZ to detailed solutions. Shape grammars which have been successfully applied to define and create new detailed designs were identified to be able to perform this role. Therefore, in this research, a novel framework linking TRIZ and shape grammars to support designers was proposed. The novel framework of TRIZ-based shape grammars was derived with the aim to generate new solution concepts into shapes representations. Extensively exploration and analysis of TRIZ tools have concluded that the physical contradiction and ARIZ were suitable to be linked with shape grammars because shapes are usually defined by parameters. An experimental prototype was developed based on this novel framework. The validation process of this framework was carried out on solving over-tightening and under-tightening of oil filters problem, where a TRIZ-based shape grammar for screw thread design were created to manipulate parameters of a screw thread to generate new potentially innovative detailed solutions


In this research work, we have tried to identify the best TRIZ concept and tools, including TRIZ improving and worsening features in the contradiction matrix, the TRIZ inventive principles, engineering contradiction, etc. to be integrated with shape grammar. After extensive studies and investigation, we have determined that engineering contradiction of TRIZ provides general conceptual solutions of high level abstraction to all engineering problems. These general conceptual solutions also have specifications on the physical parameters which are required to define a shape or profile of a solution. In addition to that, the translation of these general conceptual solutions to specific solutions are dependent on the interpretation of the designers and it is common for different designers to derive different specific solutions for the same engineering problem.

However, an engineering problem can also be defined as a physical contradiction instead of an engineering contradiction. One engineering contradiction can have more than one physical contradictions. A physical contradiction focuses on the zone of conflict of the problem and considers features as well as the parameters of an engineering system. As shapes are usually defined by parameters, such as length, width, diameter, angles, etc, we find that it is suitable to explore the use of physical contradiction and link it to shape grammar in this project. A framework was built where parameters identified from TRIZ physical contradiction for an oil filter tightening problem was used to match with parameters in shape grammar rules. This will allow shape transformation and generate potential solutions for users. In our experiment, a shape grammar for screw thread design was developed where several shape rules was created to manipulate parameters of a screw thread. This screw thread shape grammar was tested to generate potential innovative solutions using our novel framework