Biology has long been recognized as an excellent source of analogies and stimuli for engineering design. Previous work focused on the systematic identification of relevant biological analogies by searching for instances of functional keywords in biological information in natural language format. This past work revealed that engineering keywords couldn’t always be used to identify the most relevant biological analogies, as the vocabularies between biology and engineering are sufficiently distinct. Therefore, a method of identifying biologically meaningful keywords that correspond to engineering keywords was developed. Here, we apply and refine this method by generating biologically meaningful keywords for the terms of the Functional Basis, which is widely accepted as a standardized representation of the functionality of engineering products. We present insights gained on the selection of biologically meaningful keywords for the function sets based on semantic relations. We then observe the use of our keywords by providing 4th year undergraduate design students with the biologically meaningful keywords that are related to the desired functions of their design projects.

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