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Eaglex: AI Product Ideation for Eagle Inspired Trains

By Tojin T. Eapen

One of the best-known examples of biomimetics is the Shinkansen bullet train, whose design is inspired by the kingfisher bird. The story of the Shinkansen's design is recounted in the following animated BBC podcast.


Japanese engineers redesigned the front of the Shinkansen train based on the appearance of a kingfisher's beak. This redesign was inspired by the way that these birds are able to slice through the air and dive into the water with minimal splashing. The engineers observed that kingfishers are able to do this because they can transition smoothly from low-resistance air to high-resistance water. By mimicking the shape of a kingfisher's beak, the engineers hoped to create a train that would be able to move through the air with minimal drag, just like these birds do. The result was a more aerodynamic and efficient train that uses less energy to move through the air and requires less maintenance over time.

Eaglex: Concept High-Speed Train Inspired by Eagles

It would be interesting to consider how the design of the Shinkansen train might have been different if a different bird had served as the source of inspiration. To explore this idea further, we used generative AI tools to create concept images of trains called "Eaglex," a contraction of "Eagle Express." These trains are intentionally inspired by the appearance of eagles, known for their powerful wings and keen eyesight.

Through the use of generative AI tools, we were able to generate a range of designs that incorporated elements from eagle anatomy and behavior. For example, some of the designs featured long, narrow wing-shaped exteriors for enhanced aerodynamics, while others incorporated eagle-like colors and patterns into the design, such as brown and white feathers or piercing yellow eyes.

Eaglex: AI Product Ideation for Eagle Inspired Trains

To begin our design process, we first created a generic description of our concept for a high-speed train inspired by the powerful wings and sharp beak of an eagle. We outlined the key features that we wanted to incorporate into the design, including a bold, eagle-inspired color scheme such as dark brown or black with accents of white and gold. Additionally, we wanted the interior of the train to include luxurious amenities like comfortable seating, large windows, and a panoramic observation deck.

We used the following prompt to generate images of a high-speed train design concept inspired by the powerful wings and sharp beak of an eagle: "Generate a product design concept for a high-speed train with an exterior featuring a bold, eagle-inspired color scheme such as dark brown or black with accents of white and gold. The interior should include luxurious amenities like comfortable seating, large windows, and a panoramic observation deck."


This description was used as input for a text-to-image converter (Stable Diffusion) to create visual representations of the Eaglex train concepts based on the given description. This allowed us to systematically generate a wide range of Eaglex concepts for consideration. The top 100 designs are depicted in the above video.

Several of the designs that were generated using the text-to-image converter were visually interesting and captured the essence of an eagle as described in the prompt. However, we were unable to evaluate the technical feasibility or aerodynamic properties of these designs. Despite this limitation, we were still able to select (and name) our top 20 designs based primarily on their aesthetic appeal.

Top 20 Eaglex Design Concepts

Eaglex Concept #20: Paramount

Eaglex Concept #19: Prestige

Eaglex Concept #18: Celestra

Eaglex Concept #17: Frolic

Eaglex Concept #16: Maestro

Eaglex Concept #15: Silverline

Eaglex Concept #14: Stagent

Eaglex Concept #13: Tangent

Eaglex Concept #12: Silkedge

Eaglex Concept #11: Shimmer

Eaglex Concept #10: Luxor

Eaglex Concept #9: Ranger

Eaglex Concept #8: Grandiose

Eaglex Concept #7: Prime

Eaglex Concept #6: Greyelid

Eaglex Concept #5: Groundsman

Eaglex Concept #4: Forerunner

Eaglex Concept #3: Soundbite

Eaglex Concept #2: Starcrest

Eaglex Concept #1: Goldyne


We also used similar prompts to generate Eaglex concepts using Midjourney, another popular text-to-image convertor. One prompt simply requested for a "train inspired by an eagle," and generated the following concepts:

Eaglex: AI Product Ideation for Eagle Inspired Trains

Another prompt included detailed descriptions of the functional features of the train. This request generated the following concepts: 

Eaglex: AI Product Ideation for Eagle Inspired Trains

It should be noted that while these designs may not have had any superior aerodynamic properties compared to the kingfisher-inspired Shinkansen, they were still an interesting and imaginative way to explore different bioinspired design concepts. The generative AI tools allowed us to quickly and easily generate a wide range of designs, giving us a starting point for further development and refinement.

Resources

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.

To learn how leading Fortune Global 500 companies such as ABB, Bosch, Google, Samsung, and NetApp have used Innomantra's Functional Innovation Methodology to turbocharge their idea management process, schedule a meeting today at calendly.com/innomantra.


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