Title: Virtual customisation of product physical properties: a case of real time product stiffness customisation

Authors: Y.H. Chen, L.L. Lian, Z.Y. Yang

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Abstract: In the early design stage, frequent design changes are often made. In order to assist the designer to make sensible changes easily and quickly, a computer system should provide functions that model not only product geometry, but also some aspects of product properties such as stiffness in real time. Current Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems mainly support product geometric properties and visualisation. Physical properties such as stiffness are difficult or even impossible to be perceived in existing CAD systems. In this paper, a haptic system is developed to evaluate the product physical properties such as product surface textures and stiffness that are directly related to customer comfort. A toothbrush design and evaluation case study is implemented to showcase how effectively the haptic system could help a designer in the early design stage. Since these physical properties of a product, traditionally evaluated based on physical prototypes, can now be perceived and customised in a virtual environment in real time, the product development cycle can be shortened and the cost in making prototypes can be reduced.

Keywords: ergonomics; haptics; mass customisation; virtual prototyping; product stiffness; human factors; early design stage; design changes; toothbrush design; product design; product development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2007.015714

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2007 Vol.30 No.3, pp.171 - 175

Available online: 10 Nov 2007 *

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