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Prototyping Software in Different Industries

23rd January 2012
By pidoco1 in Business Law
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Prototyping software is gaining popularity in all industries without exception. That is not so surprising. The development process, even for a small product, is often costly. In an effort to reduce process times and late reiteration cycles and, consequently, development costs, many engineers and developers resort to various rapid prototyping tools to create prototypes and mock-ups of products during the planning and concept phase before starting the actual development. Recently-appearing prototyping tools are quite powerful and some beyond any imagination. Here are some examples of innovative prototyping tools from different industries.

A prototyping tool that caused a manufacturing revolution

3-D printing is a new prototyping tool that is used today in many areas, such as industrial design, architecture and civil engineering. The New York Times said in an article last year that 3-D printing caused a manufacturing revolution. This prototyping tool is based on additive manufacturing technology, where layers of material are added gradually to form a shape. First, 3-D printing was only used in manufacturing but thanks to its relatively low cost and efficiency it rapidly became a prototyping tool used across industries. 3-D printers can create prototypes of almost anything: bottles, iPad cases, bags, furniture… According to the New York Times, there is even a company in California that does 3-D printing of houses. The 3-D printer they use is big enough to produce layers of concrete to form walls of a house, all based on preset designs. Prototyping software that goes with 3-D printers allows designers to create a digital prototype at home, send it to a 3-D printing company and receive the printed product in the mail the next morning. Use of a prototyping tool that took months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars before is now available to anyone.

Prototyping software in the aerospace industry

Prototyping tools in the aerospace industry have advanced considerably in the recent years. Wind tunnels are a technology that is used to test aerodynamic capacities of an aircraft. In the not so distant past engineers built real-life size prototypes of airplanes and placed them in wind tunnels where powerful fans blew air in different directions simulating an actual flight and turbulence. They would then make photographs and videos to analyze the performance of the prototype. When something was not satisfactory, the entire prototype would have to be rebuilt. To save costs, engineers would break the prototyping process into many stages and create smaller-scale prototypes first. Today this massive and costly technology is being replaced by rapid prototyping software. This advanced prototyping software allows engineers to create 3-D prototypes of aircraft and simulate a flight in a virtual wind tunnel. Not only can this prototyping software reproduce numerous variations in airflow, but it can also take snapshots of your prototype at any moment and show what effect the airflow had on your model.

User interface design prototyping tools for websites and software applications

Another area where prototyping tools have become indispensable is user interface design in the IT industry. When web developers and designers realized the importance of UI prototyping they resorted to any software that would allow them to quickly put together a wireframe of a user interface. These were not necessarily applications designed as prototyping tools for prototyping purposes. In the last few years specialized user interface prototyping software became a norm. With the help of these prototyping tools it is possible to create a website prototype in a matter of minutes. New user interface prototyping software allows collaboration with a team, simulation of prototypes and even prototype testing by unbiased users.

The significance of prototyping tools in all industries is not questionable. With every year prototyping tools are becoming increasingly advanced and automated. Regardless of the industry, they are all aimed at reducing human effort and minimizing development costs. What can we expect from prototyping tools in the future? Perhaps, they will all merge into one elaborate computer program that will understand humans' verbal instructions and will design, test and produce an optimal prototype of the required product itself.

About The Author:
================== – Interface Design, Wireframe, Wireframes, Wireframe Software, Interface Design Tool, Online Wireframe Tool, Wireframe Tool, Interface Prototyping, Prototyping Software, Clickable Wireframes, Usability Testing and Digital Paper Prototyping. User centered design for improved UI Design. Read More:
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