The future of product design
: how games technology is evolving the design process

  • Jack Gullen

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters by Research


The process of design has constantly evolved over the years to embrace new forms of technology that have provided numerous benefits to product designers and others in the field. This project explores how modern examples of 3D visualisation tools including Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), have been enhanced through innovations in the video game industry to combine and become powerful pieces of games technology that can help shape the future of design. Discussed throughout is a vast array of hardware and software solutions that although may have been primarily researched academically decades prior, have seen increased adoption and benefits through the addition of tools, mechanics and processes commonly found within the games industry. Various methods were undertaken to research past and present work in the field including the analysis of existing solutions, as well as the development of new technological applications. Four case studies explored games technology in the world today and the many ways in which it can be repurposed for use outside of entertainment. These case studies, combined with prototyping carried out using games technology for experimental purposes, provided insight into how best to develop two applications for evolving product design (Reality Works and the VR Camera Tool). Once these were developed, they were evaluated in terms of their usability and fitness for purpose. Two test sessions featuring a total of thirty participants provided feedback on both applications. The results were largely positive, indicating that the software did stand to benefit design and provide new processes for product designers. The results also highlighted the need for clear and concise tutorial systems when introducing new solutions to participants. Whilst there is further work to be done in the form of User Interface (UI) research and additional software development, test participants indicated that designing using the games technology utilised was easier, faster and likely to be useful going forward. This research evidences that games technology, particularly that which encompasses AR and VR, has a place outside of the entertainment world and can help shape the future of design.
Date of AwardMar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorIain Donald (Supervisor) & Paul Robertson (Supervisor)

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