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Unlike other phases of product development, conceptual design lacks computer-based support. The process is qualitative and requires expertise and creativity. In an attempt to support or automate this process, researchers are applying techniques from the field of AI. We discuss the application of knowledge-based systems (KBSs) to conceptual design. We proposes an approach for automating the generation of design concepts. With this approach, conceptual design is regarded as a configuration problem. New design solutions are generated automatically by adapting and configuring existing subsolutions. The technique has been applied to the area of robot gripper design.