Prototyping with Augmented Reality

While I’d like to think I’m a good storyteller and an artist, I’m pretty sure I’m not ‘awesome’ at either. That’s one more reason to pay attention to Augmented Reality (AR) these days.

As an engineer and a designer, I frequently find myself trying to explain a widget, a feature, or a design to someone. Often this takes lots of hand-waving, white-board markers, and innumerable sketches. This got better over time with improved drawing skills and communication techniques. It was even better still when I could put a physical model in someone’s hands by using a 3D printer for rapid prototyping. Well, things just got a lot more interesting when we started using AR through ThingWorx Studio to do virtual prototyping.

While I spend most of my time designing business strategies for the IoT and connecting products using ThingWorx as an IoT platform, the AR portion of ThingWorx is simply fun to use. One great way to employ the tool is to super-impose streaming data and information directly onto the product while looking through a mobile device. AR Prototyping, on the other hand, is the ability to superimpose alternate designs into the real world through a mobile device such that you can experience a design as it was intended. The kicker is that you can whip together a couple dozen designs, review them virtually — in person or remotely — and have a fabulous understanding of the design in less time than it takes to print even one prototype.

In the video below we’re playing with the app ThingWorx View by PTC. Watch this model of a motorcycle come to life with Augmented Reality (AR). We’ve used this technology for virtual prototyping. For some of our customers we are able to swap in and out CAD models to virtually prototype new designs and configurations.

So, if you’re like me and you want to convey a design idea in a hurry — even faster than a rapid prototype — you should really look into AR Prototyping. This has sliced-bread beat no problem.

If you want to start virtual prototyping, ask us how here! We’d love to help you transform the way you design and connect to your products.