By: Shraddha Gopalakrishnan  and Preetish Limaye RIG Cooperative Researchers

For many years, Virtual Prototyping (VP) has been a transformative topic of discussion in technology. The basic idea of VP involves a digital model of mechanical hardware, a circuit board and electrical systems with embedded software. Using the definitions & simulations of every element together the performance requirements of the product can be verified to ensure the expectations are met & that it works with numerous types of constraints.

VP is an important step in the process of product development. It involves using computer-aided design (CAD), computer-automated design (CAutoD), and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software to validate a design before making a physical prototype. [1]

Now, many companies are transitioning from traditional mechanical products to smart connected products. A product is no longer just the physical “thing” which is operating independently but also an artificial entity connected to an IoT platform. Part of the verification process isn’t only performance, requirements & constraints but also how are these accomplished virtually?

The concept of digitally prototyping an IoT platform and how it’s going to run when connected to the developed product can be achieved today. The method here is to set-up a 1-D simulator having blocks in a diagram with each block containing a specific formulation that represents the functional performance of a subsystem or components of the product to be integrated with the IoT.

For example, we can set-up a 1D simulation representing  our system behavior & we can run it digitally on the computer & send data from virtual sensors to the required IoT platform. An exciting thing about Virtual Prototyping is that there is no requirement for a physical model. VP is a catalyst for SD— Service Design (the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve quality and the interaction between the service provider and users). [2]  SD model includes all intangible aspects of how an organization scouts to build a relationship with its end-users over a period of time. The intent of prototyping these service design experiences is to bring tangibility to these intangible experiences. Three considerations for the existence of Virtual Prototyping—

  1. A powerful tool to organize our service around the needs of the end consumer
  2. An essential entity for determining what lands correctly and what’s missing
  3. It’s a way to depict how the experience might play out over time which allows for instant user feedback on the product

Classically, the design and development process of a product relies primarily on an engineer’s experience and judgement in order to even produce an initial concept flow. Thus, a physical prototype is constructed and tested to evaluate its performance. Without a means to evaluate the performance in advance, the initial prototype is highly unlikely to meet expectations. Engineers usually have to re-design the initial concept multiple times to address weaknesses that were revealed in physical testing.

Today, manufacturers are under pressure to reduce time to market and optimize products to higher performance and reliability levels. A much higher number of products are being developed in the form of virtual prototypes in which engineering simulation software is used to predict performance before constructing physical prototypes. Engineers can quickly explore thousands of design alternatives’ performance without investing significant time and money required to build physical prototypes. The ability to explore a wide range of design alternatives leads to improvements in performance and design quality. Yet the time required to bring the product to market is usually reduced substantially because virtual prototypes can be produced much faster than physical prototypes. [2]

Considering the significance of Virtual Prototyping, development teams of interns, subject matter experts (SME), and market professionals are diligently working on building various prototypes for different viable use-case scenarios, one of which VP is a hybrid emulator for developing an ad-blocking application. RIG Inc as a start-up is already using this approach to boost productivity, address design challenges earlier, and proactively respond to increasing design complexity.

With the steely determination of interns, the clear vision of senior management and advisors, and access to tightly integrated solutions at both the virtual prototype and the emulator levels coupled with the most appropriate debugging tools, Team RIG has push off the starting block of Rapid Model Testing— Virtual Prototyping !

Despite the numerous portrayals of Artificial Intelligence as the villain in science fiction and pop culture references, the future isn’t likely to be as dystopian as skeptics make it out to be. Virtual prototyping solutions consist of IoT Platform Architect & Virtualizer and the industry’s largest portfolio of transaction-level models (TLMs). The solution yields early software development with services ensuring project success. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and strategic resources (designers, developers, etc.) in product development, speeds up the prototyping process and has the potential to reduce the product’s time to market significantly. While virtual prototyping approaches are still in their infancy, once fully developed, the potential for their application is limitless!!!

 

Find out more on https://rigroup.co/!

 

 

References:

[1] Quinn, C. (2017, November 8). 6 Tips for Prototyping Service Design Experiences. IDEO U. https://www.ideou.com/blogs/inspiration/6-tips-for-prototyping-service-design-experiences

[2] The Audiopedia. (2017, May 5). What is VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING? What does VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING mean? VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING meaning. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxnFXdIo0E0