Functional virtual prototypes using OS emulators and haptics

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Purpose: To prove design concepts, explore design alternatives and to present functionality of a digital mockup to an audience

In today's world, Software development for Mobile phones, takes place independent of the hardware/ physical design. These two branches are initiated separately, work separately and at the end, put together to be released as the product. This approach, not only reduces productivity (as one team waits for the other at different stages) but also increases cost as the teams have to go back and change their design to better suit the other team. This project aims at developing an application that solves this problem by enabling software and hardware co-design and co-verification.

In my previous project - Graphical User Interfaces for virtual prototypes, I built a basic virtual device that simulates the UI of the phone using Mozilla firefox engine. Even though it was a very interactive environment, it could not posses any functionality, being limited by the capacity of a web browser.

To move this on to a more solid application where even functionality of a futuristic phone could be simulated and tested would be ideal. In this project, I integrated the Windows CE device emulator into the virtual environment, creating a completely functional virtual prototype where all programs could run and new programs could be installed for testing. What we have now is a very powerful application which could be used to study the relationship between physical form and user interfaces of futuristic phones. A good example would be a simple game where the user interacts by touching the screen. Here, we can build the game to work with windows CE, install it in the emulator and test the ease of interaction before we even completely design the phone.

If used appropriately, this tool could alter the whole design cycle of mobile phones, pushing a lot of the software development into the earlier stages of the cycle, thus drastically reducing development time and cost.

Functional Virtual prototype interaction demo from arun rakesh yoganandan on Vimeo.

Functional virtual prototype of a PDA using windows CE from arun rakesh yoganandan on Vimeo.

Questions this application can answer.

  • Would my customer like this kind of an application on his cellphone? Why or why not? What should I change and how?
  • How should I change my mobile application to work better with the stylus or finger interaction?
  • How does the color and look of my application match with casing?
  • How will my new application work for this screen size? Will it still work if I change it to something else?

 Video demonstrating a flexible PDA.

Flexible PDA from arun rakesh yoganandan on Vimeo.

Current work:

Currently, I am working on building a suitable interface for the finger that would enable more realistic haptic interactions using our finger. This project is aimed towards improving the experience while simulating touch screen mobile phones as the Iphone.