Reverse Engineering of Known Solutions

a USIT Pedagogical Tool

Reverse Engineering Exercises to Hone Your USIT Skills

Reverse engineering exercises are designed to help you understand better the USIT process and your level of USIT expertise. An outline of the USIT process is provided for your use. Be sure to write down each new solution concept when it comes to mind as you proceed through the exercise. Do not save it and try to fit it into a solution tecnique later. Keep notes on your process including any diversions from the outline. Diversions can be interesting especially when you stop to reflect on your path and the results. You will note that this is not really a reverse engineering procedure. In this case, "reverse" refers to knowing a particular solution and then working toward it using the tools of USIT. Thus, there will be no surprise upon arriving at the target solution. Surprises occur along the way as you see how USIT helps you to discover new solution concepts. This discovery may convince you of the value and efficiency of a structured inventive thinking process and help you see how to invent.

Reverse engineering exercises will use the following outline. You will recognize this outline as having the typical components of the USIT approach to a well-defined problem. Keep in mind during a reverse engineering exercise that we are not trying to improve the given design (although that may happen) but to focus instead on how we might arrive at the given design from its former design using USIT. The order of the steps in the outline is not so important as it is to remember and take advantage of each one.

Outline for USIT Reverse Engineering

1. Brainstorm (5 minute pre-USIT analysis)

Now begin your USIT process.

2. Uniqueness

3. Problem(s) addressed

4. Functions utilized

5. Minimum set of objects

6. Plausible root causes

7. Phenomenology involved

8. Closed-World Analysis

9. Apply USIT solution techniques

Capture every non-whimsical solution concept as they occur during your USIT exercise.

Refer to your USIT textbook for definitions, explanations and examples of the terminology and techniques.

Reverse Engineering Exercises

1. The Sicilian Dolly

2. (TBD)

Solutions to USIT Reverse Engineering Exercises

Here I will show you how I reversed engineered the examples of known designs. As you work through an exercise, you may wish to refer to only certain sections for ideas and then complete the exercise on our own. Where you find opportunities for improvement and new solution concepts, please share them with our other eUSIT readers. (See USIT Feedback) Solution concepts are numbered as SC##.

1. Solution to the Sicilian Dolly exercise.

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