Virtual prototyping is the replacement of hardware prototypes by computational prototypes of systems and the processes that they may undergo. The particular domain of investigation is product demanufacture and service. By catching downstream problems early in the design process through the use of virtual prototypes, more environmentally friendly and easily serviceable products should result. The approach to virtual prototyping pursued here is to combine simulation and human interaction with virtual environment technologies, resulting in a Virtual Design Studio. In the Studio, people will simulate demanufacturing and servicing processes on product models, then incorporate the simulation results into design decision making. The Studio will operate on a design studio metaphor, analogous to the desk-top metaphor utilized in Macintosh computers. This paper represents work in progress. The research program undertaken to construct such a Studio is reported and motivated, an initial design studio metaphor is articulated, and current progress is summarized.

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