Real time integration of user preferences into virtual prototypes

LIU, Bingjian and CAMPBELL, R Ian (2009). Real time integration of user preferences into virtual prototypes. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Within new product development (NPD), both virtual prototypes and physical prototypes play important roles in creating, testing and modifying designs. However, in the current design process, these two forms of prototyping methods are normally used independently and converted from one to the other during different design phases. This conversion process is time consuming and expensive and also introduces potential information loss/corruption problems. If the design process requires many iterations, it may simply be impractical to generate all the conversions that are theoretically required. Therefore, the integration of virtual and physical prototyping may offer a possible solution where the design definition is maintained simultaneously in both the virtual and physical environment. The overall aim of this research was to develop an interface or a tool that achieves real time integration of physical and virtual prototyping. “Real time integration” here means changes to the virtual prototypes will reflect any changes that have been made contemporaneously to the physical prototypes, and vice versa. Thus, conversion of the prototype from physical to virtual (or vice versa) will be achieved immediately, hence saving time and cost.

A review of the literature was undertaken to determine what previous research has been conducted in this area. The result of the review shows the research in this area is still in its infancy. The research hypothesis was developed through the use of a questionnaire survey. Totally 102 questionnaires were sent to designers, design directors or design managers to address the issue: will industrial designers want to make use of real time integration and if so, how? The outcome from the literature review drove further development of the research hypothesis and an initial pilot experiment to test this. The pilot trial was designed to address the research questions:

• Can real time physical and virtual prototyping integration be conveniently demonstrated?
• Will designers and users be comfortable using the integration method?
• Will users recognise the benefits of the integration?

The results showed that real time integration between physical and virtual prototyping is necessary in helping designers develop new products and for getting users more closely involved. The future research suggested is that more investigations and experiments are needed to explore a proper method that simultaneously employing these two types of prototyping in product development process.

Physical Prototyping; Virtual Prototyping; Integration; Real Time.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:06

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