Virtual prototyping and product testing uses simulation to build digital versions of physical products and assess the response of users early in the design cycle before products go into production. It involves using Computer-Aided Design (CAD), computer-automated design (CAutoD) and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software to validate a design before committing to making a physical prototype. This is done by creating (usually 3D) computer generated geometrical shapes (parts) and either combining them into an "assembly" and testing different mechanical motions, fit and function. The assembly or individual parts could be opened in CAE software to simulate the behavior of the product in the real world. It is increasingly used as a substitute for rapid prototyping. The simulation allows designers to see design flaws and optimize features at the drawing stage. With the analysis results, designers can build better physical prototypes to confidently approach physical testing in critical areas. Virtual product testing helps meet the demands of global competition for innovative products and rapid development timelines at the best manufacturing cost. It typically takes place in a collaborative, web-based environment and gives the insight into the relationship between performance design phase. Virtual or Augmented Reality technology can be used to provide the experience of using the technology in a real life environment.
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