We utilized text-to-image generation techniques to generate designs for "Catuums," a line of vacuum cleaners inspired by cats. Our objective was to evaluate the capabilities of generative AI models in creating innovative and functional designs that are visually reminiscent of friendly furry felines.
Researchers and designers can look at the anatomy, behavior, and abilities of cats to inform the development of new products in fields such as robotics and prosthetics. For example, the agility and flexibility of a cat's spine and its famed ability to land upright on its feet can inspire the design of more efficient robots, while the retractable claws of a cat can be potentially used as inspiration for developing mechanical products. Studying the way cats move may also lead to improved treatment for human spinal cord injuries.
The concept of using a cat as inspiration for a vacuum cleaner is particularly intriguing, as it allows for the application of analogical sensemaking. Similar to how a pet cat moves around a house, it is common to see vacuum cleaners traversing the entire space of a home. Additionally, it is interesting to note that while a pet cat is known for shedding hair, the Catuum does the opposite by effectively removing hair and debris from surfaces. Overall, the project aimed to use AI to generate designs that are visually appealing and functional, leveraging the natural characteristics of cats in the design process.
We employed generative AI models to quickly create a diverse range of designs for Catuums. Some of these designs, like the ones below in the collage, appear very similar to common vacuum cleaners.
Another set of designs using a different set of prompts generated Catuum concepts that showed a much closer resemblance to the feline form but appeared to be more whimsical in appearence. These Catuum designs fanciful quality to them, and may be more suited for use as a childrens' toy rather than a functional product
This post is part of a series of articles on the use of generative AI for bioinspired product ideation. The use of AI for product concept generation allows for the quick creation of many potentially novel designs, which could then be evaluated and refined to select the most promising concepts to move to the next stage of the product development process.
- Cat-inspired mechanical design of self-adaptive toes for a legged robot | IEEE Conference Publication | IEEE Xplore
- Bioinspired Soft Robotic Caterpillar with Cardiomyocyte Drivers - Sun - 2020 - Advanced Functional Materials - Wiley Online Library
- How Cats’ Tongues Are Inspiring Smarter Hairbrushes For Humans (fastcompany.com)
- Capsuled Cat-Like Fasteners: The 'Biomimicry Pin' Makes It Easier to Carry Them in Your Pocket (trendhunter.com)