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12.6.1. Logic: Trends


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 12. The TAO Design Process > 12.6. The Logic Cloud > 12.6.1. Logic: Trends

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Trends are a part of the logic cloud, a group of thinking tools and processes that can help you find your way through innovative and creative problems.

Fig. 12.6 The logic cloud

When man invented the wheel, he later created the cart and, later again, the train. Trains without wheels would be very slow. Some things lead to other things, and not vice versa. There is a natural progression in invention that you can often spot.

Where are you now? What are your current problems? What were yesterday’s problems? What will be the problems after you have solved today’s problems? It is possible to predict how devices develop simply because after a while someone wants something to work better. To work better you have to use smarter science and smarter science has rules built in.

Look for trends in activities, such as:

  • Adding. Adding something new (material, process, system). Adding a modification of what we have already. Adding to the surface, filling gaps, improving the environment. We add material at first which has constant properties, then we get smart and add materials which have properties which change the way we want them to change (shape, phase (liquid to gas etc), rigidity, fluidity).
  • Taking away. A way of saving work and money is to remove things. We start with reducing the number of parts and then eventually find a way to throw whole sections out altogether.
  • Dimensions. We begin with regular shapes and slowly, and sometimes ever so slowly, think about how maybe we could change something on one dimension, and then two dimensions and finally all three.
  • Simplification. We start with designs where everything does just one job and then we combine functionality so that one part does two jobs and then slowly we move to a design where one part does all the jobs!
  • Structure. We start with regular solid things and then we begin to add voids in them, spaces because we want less material or because we want to use that space. At first we have big voids then we move to having voids with complex patterns and shapes. Our structures begin as rigid devices and then we make them more flexible, or even fluid and gaseous. We move from solid devices, which we can handle easily, to highly unstructured devices, which we can tune in responses to environments (so there is then a trend towards computer control).

Look at how you or someone else does something and see where they are in these trends. Now ask yourself, if I were to move one step or two steps along these trends what benefits would I get. Sometimes moving a long way makes the device simpler. In one invention we were involved in by moving three steps along we made the device a fraction of the price and weight and it had much more functionality and reliability. The less there was there the better it worked!

Other parts of the logic cloud are:

Other sections in this chapter are:

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