Keywords: education, TRIZ, patent, theory of inventive problem solving, creativity, product design, design process
Training students on the TRIZ method using a patent database
The objective of this research is to develop a better method of teaching invention to young students with little engineering experience. The project used for this purpose was aimed at: 1) the creation of a new engine subsystem for better automobile fuel economy and 2) a feasibility study of a variable compression system. This project was conducted as an undergraduate thesis by three mechanical systems engineering students. Engineering design was chosen as the process tool for this project. At the conceptual design stage, students tried the TRIZ (Russian Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) method. Though TRIZ gave abstract solutions to the students, they could not find specialised solutions because of their poor engineering knowledge base. To solve this situation, inventions appearing in past patents were used to complement their paucity of experience. By this method, the students were able to get to specialised solutions easily. After this training, they invented a new type of ski vibration test stand.