It is common in engineering design practice for designers and engineers to evaluate design concepts to determine if the design solutions meet requirements. The common practice has been to use virtual models on visual display terminals and/or physical models to evaluate design concepts. The emerging heterogeneous terminal devices — including mobile terminal devices with miniature displays such as smartphones and tablet PCs — offer alternative ways of visualizing design concepts and of performing the evaluation tasks. In the work presented in this paper, we attempted to address the challenge of using handheld terminal devices with limited computational resources and miniature displays in design concepts evaluation. We propose a new distributed and collaborative product design concepts evaluation scheme in which the evaluation is performed based on virtual models and product data displayed on heterogeneous terminal devices, including handheld devices. This scheme consists of methods and mechanisms that help to sync the needs of the evaluation task at hand with the available computational resources and display specifications. A practical example is used to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed product design concept evaluation scheme and how it can be used in practice. The major contribution of the reported work was creation of novel high-level model pre-processing algorithmic procedures for adapting product models to meet the evaluation task requirements and terminal device resource constraints.

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