New product development teams often need to create the illusion of a production-ready system before the product is even complete. Altia is proud to offer seamless integration to off-the-shelf, low-cost electronic hardware components that can be connected to a PC running an Altia simulation. These hardware components are available with different sensor options – like pressure, voltage/current, motion, and distance/range – that allow development teams to build physical prototypes of volume knobs, washing machine rotary controls, warning lights and more. By integrating an Altia Design model with these “plug and play” building blocks, users are able to create extremely high fidelity mock-ups for use in user studies and management reviews.
Developers begin by creating a graphical user interface (GUI) in Altia Design. This prototype can have the exact appearance and behavior of the final product – including graphics, sound, touch screen interactivity and logic. Pre-built Altia connection code can be used to integrate a test-ready Altia GUI with these electronic components and their respective USB-attached physical components. When a user interacts with a physical component connected to the electronic hardware, that event registers with the Altia prototype. Similarly, when an event is triggered with the Altia prototype, the electronic hardware receives that data and triggers the appropriate response from the connected physical component. These physical components can be anything from momentary buttons, dials, touch sensors, LEDs, switches or servo motors. With some extra plastics work, these prototypes can be indistinguishable from the final product.
Since these electronic hardware components are simple to program and use – no knowledge of hardware, microprocessors, USB, communication protocols, is needed – then development teams now have the ability to install them within a full or partial scale mock-up of a physical system. User studies and management reviews conducted with the combined Altia GUI and system’s physical components offers a reliable and accurate method for measurement and test. This combination of tools can be used successfully during development of applications ranging from automotive and medical to consumer electronics, fitness and white goods.
Altia, Inc. (altia.com) is a software company that provides user interface design and development tools that can be used from concept to final product code. Since the company was founded in 1991, Altia has served customers in the automotive, medical, consumer electronics and white goods industries. Customers include Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Visteon, Motorola, Medtronic, Haemonetics, Siemens, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Bosch, Bose, Kodak, Panasonic and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.