PTC has published an article about the ways Augmented Reality is reshaping product design.
AR breaks the barrier to 3D: A CAD engineer can use AR to superimpose a model on the physical world as a hologram. This creates new and more efficient ways to evaluate and improve designs.
1. Reduce development cycle time. As one example of an AR-based design technique in use today, an engineering team can use AR to superimpose a CAD model of a construction machine in the terrain of its intended outdoor setting. Team members can then virtually “move” around the model to view it from over, under, around, or inside and evaluate its sight lines and ergonomics in this setting. This richer context can help teams make sound design decisions earlier in the development cycle—speeding the path to create and test a more mature physical prototype and ultimately decreasing design cycle time. On top of all that, AR models are easy to share. All it takes is a free app to view an experience.
2. Improve Product Quality. Design engineers can also use AR to superimpose a CAD model over a physical prototype to compare how well the digital and physical models match. Volkswagen uses this method today in its digital design reviews to catch any anomalies between the virtual and physical designs. One result has been better quality assurance—and higher-quality end products. And since the engineering team no longer has to painstakingly compare each 2D drawing with its prototype, the AR-assisted technique is 5-10 times faster than its manual predecessor—again shortening the development cycle.
3. Provide Data to Fuel Next-gen Product Design. Finally, combined with data driven design, broader use of AR will come in the near future. Once out in the field, AR-enabled products with embedded sensors can harvest unique streams of data and analytics on how users interact with these products under a range of real-world conditions. The resulting insights then appear right on the AR model, informing next-gen product design and giving design teams a competitive edge and a clearer path to creating products that meet customer needs.