Bioinspired design is the adaptation of methods, strategies, or principles found in nature to solve engineering problems. One formalized approach to bioinspired solution seeking is the abstraction of the engineering problem into a functional need and then seeking solutions to this function using a keyword type search method on text based biological knowledge. These function keyword search approaches have shown potential for success, but as with many text based search methods, they produce a large number of results, many of little relevance to the problem in question. In this paper, we develop a method to train a computer to identify text passages more likely to suggest a solution to a human designer. The work presented examines the possibility of filtering biological keyword search results by using text mining algorithms to automatically identify which results are likely to be useful to a designer. The text mining algorithms are trained on a pair of surveys administered to human subjects to empirically identify a large number of sentences that are, or are not, helpful for idea generation. We develop and evaluate three text classification algorithms, namely, a Naïve Bayes (NB) classifier, a k nearest neighbors (kNN) classifier, and a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. Of these methods, the NB classifier generally had the best performance. Based on the analysis of 60 word stems, a NB classifier's precision is 0.87, recall is 0.52, and F score is 0.65. We find that word stem features that describe a physical action or process are correlated with helpful sentences. Similarly, we find biological jargon feature words are correlated with unhelpful sentences.

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