Modelling - the activity of creating a representation of a physical object - has a very important role in modern product design. Modelling has benefited greatly from the use of a computational environment to construct models. We present here the concepts of an approach known as Empirical Modelling (EM) that offers an environment with a high level of interaction with a computer-based model. This environment allows the construction of models with a richness of interaction, openness and flexibility. Two case studies, simulating real products, are used to show how the interesting principles of EM can be applied in the development of tools to support product modelling. The application of EM in an educational environment is also discussed.
Product modelling, product design, computer-based model, empirical modelling, computer simulation.