The paper describes the results of a research activity on the design of a positioning system which includes both a physical 3-DOF and virtual platforms which carries out a Desktop Haptic Interface (DHI). The positioning system allows the user to interact with a virtual shape through a combination of linear and rotation motions, some of them driven by the user and some driven by the virtual shape. On the other hand, by rendering a physical 2D cross-section through the DHI permits the assessment of virtual prototypes of industrial products with aesthetic value. Typically, virtual objects are modified several times before reaching the desired design, increasing the development time and, consequently, the final product cost. The desktop haptic system (which includes the positioning system and the DHI) that we propose here, will reduce the number of physical mockups during the design process allowing designers to perform several phases of the product design process continuously and without any interruption. In particular the system is developed with the aim of supporting designers during the evaluation of the aesthetic quality of a virtual product.

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