Archive for September, 2011

What a dreadful title! However, it is of such conceptual distinctions that fortunes are made and lost.
At the Ergoship conference in Gothenburg last week, I asserted that the next stage in the ship design cycle is TRIZ dynamization, giving examples of robotics starting to appear on ships.
The other keynote speakers spoke of the coming of multi-function ships. Sounds much the same thing, perhaps. Wrong.
Dynamization is the use of re-configuration to extend the performance envelope, and perhaps increase the range of tasks the platform can perform. In aircraft this introduced retractable undercarriage, variable-geometry wings, and ‘droop snoots’.
A multi-function platform is designed with several specific roles from the outset. The history of this in military platform design is ‘mixed’ at best. Cross-over cars generally do several things badly. “A camel is a horse designed by committee” comes to mind as a warning. I wish the designers of multi-function platforms every success, but they should not underestimate their task. Dynamization sounds a much more promising conceptual starting point.

Update: a comment from a (different) Brian at EUReferendum points me to the wonderful multi-functionality proposed (and never used) for the VC10 aircraft.

Update: Yay! TRIZ life cycle rocks! A Materials KTN report on ‘Morphing in Marine Structures’ has  been published.  You need to join the Smart Materials Group before the download works.

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