Computer Graphics World. Feb 1995, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p42, 5 p. photograph
Medical Profession (Industry), Rapid Prototyping, CAD/CAM software, Prosthesis industry, Modeling, Technology Information, Surgical technology, Medical equipment and supplies industry -- Production management, and Surgical technology -- Product development
A new computer-based rapid prototyping (RP) procedure known as stereolithography can aid physicians in planning surgery or prosthetic aids by generating 3D anatomical models. Computer models can be compiled from successive 2D computed tomoggraphy (CT) scans of the body part being treated. The 3D data sets generated from CT scans are then converted into a format appropriate for use in stereolithography equipment. A Belgian software firm, Materialise, developed the software necessary to produce the models. RP can be used to design implants and prosthetics accurate to within .0003 inches. Surgeons can also employ the plastic models to better visualize how a surgical procedure will be conducted with minimum damage to surrounding tissue. Medical instruments, probes and devices can also be developed with RP techniques.
Computer Graphics World. Sept, 1997, Vol. 20 Issue 9, p55, 5 p. other
Modeling, CAD/CAM software, Technology overview, Simulation methods -- Innovations, CAD-CAM systems -- Usage, and Prototypes, Engineering -- Innovations
It is difficult to describe digital prototyping. The technology was developed to eliminate the need for expensive physical prototypes of products and now encompasses the total design and development process. Some implementations include mechanical analysis and virtual reality technologies. Digital prototyping reduces the costs of product development through such capabilities as interference checking, analysis and testing performed prior to manufacture. Electronic prototypes are frequently superior to physical models, especially because they allow parts of the product to be tested and evaluated during the development process, instead of at the end of it. Computer-based simulations can demonstrate how the product will perform in various environments.
Conceptual design is driving demand for rapid prototyping (RP) technology. Earlier RP technologies are prohibitively expensive and take too long to produce a model that will be used for conceptual purposes. Concept modeling, or 3D printing, is a variation of RP designed for developing prototypes that will be used as visual aids. These models need to be inexpensive and quickly developed because most of them will only be looked at briefly and then thrown away. Concept modelers produce physical prototypes from a CAD model. The approaches employed vary from ink-jet modeling, which deposits a wax-like material to form the model, to the use of powder that is hardened with a binder. These models are not highly precise, although the ModelMaker II does provide a high level of precision.
Virtual reality and CAD systems usually model physical characteristics of products rather than behavioral. It does little good however, if you can reach the radio in your car, but can't use it. Behavioral simulations provide useful data to market researchers, human factors engineers and software engineers. Market researchers use simulations to find what product features are desirable to a focus groups. That information then helps determine whether the project goes forward and in what form. Human factors designers use simulations to learn about product usability. What may be intuitive to an engineer may not be intuitive to the public. Software engineers can see if their designs work in a prototype form. Combining focus groups, specification generation and documentation into continuing process speeds cycle time and increases productivity.
Computer Graphics World. Sept, 1997, Vol. 20 Issue 9, p65, 5 p. other
Modeling, CAD/CAM software, Technology application, CAD-CAM systems -- Usage, and Computer simulation -- Usage
Digital prototyping is increasingly replacing physical modeling in the design of products. The Stewart Ford Formula One racing team was the first to completely design a race car with digital-prototyping tools. All aspects of the car, from the gearbox and suspension to the hydraulics, were designed with digital prototyping, with the exception of the engine, which was provided by a third party. Sandia National Laboratories employs digital prototyping in the development of devices ranging from a weapon's safing mechanism to next-generation computer chips. Boeing used digital prototyping to develop the Boeing 777 twinjet, the first airplane completely designed with digital technology. The goal of the project was to develop a plane with the simplicity and reliability of the 737, but one that could fly higher, faster and farther. The 777 is also quieter, easier to maintain and less expensive to fly.
It is critical to define object-oriented (OO) technology within a framework of a powerful solution to particular, existing programmer/user needs. One attractive option is the Rapid Application Prototyping, Integration and Deployment (RAPID) architecture. Using a tool that utilizes a RAPID-like strategy gives programmers and users a practical framework in which OO can address business problems quickly. The RAPID approach results in OO applications that can be created more rapidly and remain more useful than applications created with conventional tools. A RAPID/OO prototyping method also provides for programmers to build program objects once and use them in various combinations to develop distinct programs.