A comparison of contemporary prototyping methods

Coutts, Euan Ross and Wodehouse, Andrew and Robertson, Jason (2019) A comparison of contemporary prototyping methods. Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, 1 (1). pp. 1313-1322. ISSN 2220-4342

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    Abstract

    Prototypes are a common feature of many product design and development endeavours. An ever widening range of prototyping options are available to designers and engineers. May particular options be superior to others, or more appropriate for particular endeavours? This paper reviews current literature on the nature of what constitutes a prototype and the benefits they offer to the discipline. They principally facilitate communication, aid learning, help gain and provide feedback, inform decision making and generally provide superior design outcomes. In order to determine if any particular manner of prototype is preferable for achieving these benefits a comparative study of some of the contemporary prototyping methods is subsequently conducted: A 3D printed prototype (physical prototype), a CAD prototype (represented using a computer monitor), an augmented reality prototype (represented using a tablet device) and a virtual reality prototype (represented using a stereo projector and polarised glasses). The results indicate that while all provide benefits, overall the physical prototype performs best and the augmented reality prototype performs most poorly.