Why are you building prototypes?


So you have built a prototype.

Congratulations! This is the first step in testing the requirements of your design.


I think that our requirements are more like assumptions until they're tested.


Of course, there are always legal and regulatory requirements like IP, CE, UL, FDA, etc, etc. These requirements are less negotiable.


I'm talking about made up requirements like this: ​Device must have 4" diagonal capacitive touchscreen display.


Is the screen size an assumption or a requirement? Put the prototype in the hands of your ideal clients/customers and get their feedback.


What if you put a prototype in user's hands that has a 2" diagonal display. Also a prototype with a 8" display. Maybe even a prototype that has no display, just a few buttons and a companion phone app.

I call this bookending the design requirements. Find the smallest acceptable size, and the largest acceptable size.


I like to do this with many design variables: Is it too large? (let's try to find largest and smallest acceptable sizes) Too complicated? (add more and strip things away until we find the sweet spot) Is the display angle correct for viewing in direct sunlight? (try minimum angle and maximum angle) etc...


Finally, a prototype doesn't ensure that your idea can be made at a profitable cost.


I've been working on a particular device for over a year, that has grown, morphed, and changed over time. Each prototype has changed the requirements. Each prototype has increased trust from investors. Each improved prototype has incrementally increased complexity (and estimated cost). If this continues, we'll eventually lose the business case for building this device.


Make it a great week!


Side note:​ It's taken me a year of writing these newsletters to find my true value in development programs.


I'm not good at production releases. I'm not good at ECOs I'm not good at working within a highly-structured process-driven development environment. I'm just not detail-oriented.


But if you need an engineering mockup or prototype, I'm your guy.


I'm creative, and enjoy thinking outside the box. I love to explore how we can use technology to make the world a better place. I have a strong understanding of a wide range of manufacturing processes. I can help estimate manufacturing costs early in the design.


You want a proof of concept model to go and get funding? You need a feasibility prototype for user testing? You looking for quick manufacturing analysis? You need early estimates of product cost?


Give me a call.


Caleb


763-229-9516

 

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