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.