Nowadays, Virtual Prototyping (VP) methods are widely used for product design and development purposes. In particular, VP methods are now used also for the orthopedic products development process, to better understand the functional performance of prostheses or implants within the musculoskeletal system. In fact, developing validated virtual models of joints or of other anatomical structures may reduce design and prototyping costs and compress development cycles. The purpose of this paper is to point out first the state of art of both the VP technologies and the kinds of virtual models used in the medical field, with particular attention to those used for the design and development of orthopedic products. Then, it focuses on a qualitative analysis of some biomechanical simulation software packages (LifeMOD, AnyBody, and OpenSim) as tools for the improvement of the product design and development processes.

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