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An apparel product (or “apparel”) is a human product. The design of an apparel product (or “apparel design”) should share many features of general product design and be conducted with a high degree of systematics and rationality. However, the current practice of apparel design is relatively more experience-based and ad-hoc than it should be. Besides, computer support to apparel design is quite limited in that there are several software systems available for supporting apparel design but they are isolated. Two reasons may explain this above situation: (1) absence of the ontology of apparel and apparel design, and (2) absence of a systematic and rational apparel design process. Furthermore, apparel is a specialized type of product in that all three inherent requirements (i.e., function, comfort related to ergonomics, and pleasure related to aesthetics) are equally important, especially the latter, which creates positive affects in the human wearer. In general, knowledge of how to design an apparel product for pleasure/affects is missing from the current design. The general motivation for the research conducted in this thesis is to locate and articulate this “missing knowledge” in order to advance design technology including computer-aided design for modern apparel products. The specific objectives of the research presented in this thesis are: (1) development of a model for the ontology of apparel or apparel system so that all basic concepts and their relationships related to the apparel system are captured; (2) development of a systematic design process for apparel that captures all the inherent characteristics of design, namely iteration and open-endedness; and (3) development of a computer-aided system for affective design for apparel, whereby human feeling once described can be computed with the result that an apparel product meets the wearer’s “feeling needs” (functional and ergonomic needs are assumed to be satisfied or not the concern of this thesis). There are several challenges to achieving the foregoing objectives. The first of these is the understanding of ontology for apparel and apparel design, given that there are so many types of apparel and ad-hoc apparel design processes in practice. The second challenge is the generalization and aggregation of the various ad-hoc apparel design processes that exist in practice. Third is the challenge presented by imprecise information and knowledge in the aspect of human’s affect. All three above challenges have been tackled and answered in this thesis. The first challenge is tackled with the tool of data modeling especially semantic-oriented data modeling. The second challenge is tackled with the general design theory such as general design phase theory, axiomatic design theory, and FCBPSS knowledge architecture (F: function, C: context, B: behavior, P: principle, SS: state and structure). The third challenge is tacked with the data mining technique and subjective rating technique. Several contributions are made with this thesis. First is the development of a comprehensive ontology model for apparel and apparel design that provides a basis for computer-aided design and manufacturing of apparel in the future. Second is the development of a general apparel design process model that offers a reference model for any specific apparel design process. Third is the provision of new “data mining” technology for acquiring words in human language that express affects. It should be noted that this technology is domain-independent, and thus it is applicable to any other type of product for affective design. The final contribution is the development of a method for searching apparel design parameters which describe an apparel product meeting a wearer’s required feelings described by “feeling words”. The database of words and the algorithm can be readily incorporated into commercial software for computer aided design of apparel products with the new enabler (i.e., design for affect or feeling).



intelligent, rational, process, conceptual, affective



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical Engineering



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