Bioinspiration of Product Architecture: Trading-Off System Effectiveness for System Robustness Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract This work analyzes the role of bioinspired product architecture in facilitating the design of robust engineering systems. Prior works have proposed design guidelines to facilitate the implementation of bioinspired product architectures for engineered systems. This work shows that implementing a bioinspired product architecture may improve a systems robustness to random module failures, but may degrade the systems effectiveness in the absence of any module failure. To demonstrate such a trade-off between the robustness and the undisrupted effectiveness of a system, this study quantitatively compares biological systems to their functionally equivalent modular systems. The modular equivalents of biological systems are first derived by utilizing Functional Modeling. The application of the bioinspired product architecture guidelines is then modeled as a transition from the modular product architecture of the modular equivalents to the actual product architecture of the biological systems. The effectiveness and the robustness of the systems are analyzed after the application of each guideline by modeling the systems as multi-flow directed networks. Such an analysis is performed by introducing metrics that quantify a systems expected effectiveness and the degradation in the systems expected effectiveness with increasing severity of random disruptions. The findings are validated by designing and analyzing a COVID-19 breathalyzer as an engineering case study.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bhasin, D., Staack, D., & McAdams, D. A.

complete list of authors

  • Bhasin, Devesh||Staack, David||McAdams, Daniel A

publication date

  • May 2022