PHYSICAL VERSUS VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING AND THEIR EFFECT ON DESIGN SOLUTIONS
Editor: Elies Dekoninck, Andrew Wodehouse, Chris Snider, Georgi Georgiev, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Euan Coutts, Campbell Pugsley
Section: PROTOTYPING FOR CREATIVITY
Physical and virtual prototypes are widely used throughout industry in the development of engineering designs. There have been many studies documenting the benefits of both. This work discusses and tests three key areas within this topic: Does the use of virtual prototyping early in the design process lead to design outcomes with poorer functionality? Does the use of virtual prototyping in product development lead to more complex design outcomes? Does early physical prototyping improve design efficiency? To examine these questions, a controlled experiment was conducted that involved nine designers tasked to design a device to protect an egg when moving down an incline and dropped from a table. The results drawn regarding complexity were inconclusive due to low sample size. Other results found that solutions developed using physical prototyping methods possessed superior functionality and fewer features that required rework.