Proof of Concept
Prototypes Part 1

Multipurpose prototype

For starters, let’s look at common proof-of-concept prototypes that are typically used during the early development process of your new product. Think of these prototypes as simple experiments for now. These proof-of-concept prototypes can be used for multiple purposes including:

  • Testing a functional concept
  • Demonstrating an idea
  • Working out manufacturing methods
  • Testing Materials
  • Testing Geometries
  • Exploring Aesthetics
  • Communicating an idea
  • Exploring variations
  • Identifying weak points in a design

Like all experiments, the goal with a proof-of-concept prototype is to either “prove” or “disprove” a hypothesis. Skipping this step is a great way to burn through funds and get discouraged. You want to discover dead-ends as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Trust But Verify

I once helped develop a garlic press that was presented to us as having a mechanism that would dramatically improve leverage. We went all the way to pre-production prototypes based on the inventor’s claim (ignoring our usual process!) and then finally tested it. The device actually made it harder to crush the garlic! Needless to say the inventor was… crushed. We learned an important lesson: always verify before you invest.

Ask the right questions

At each point in the process of developing and commercializing a product, you must ask yourself these questions: “What do I need to prove to feel comfortable moving forward? Am I banking on anything that I am assuming will work, but haven’t tested yet? Would a prototype help me push my project along? And, if so, what is the right type of prototype to get the result I want?” The guiding principle should be figuring out the least expensive way to achieve your specific goal. And as I said previously, the goal is always to either prove something works, or discover that it won’t.

It’s unrealistic to expect that every prototype will work, especially the early ones. Many prototypes fail (on purpose) and you want these iterations to be as inexpensive as possible. I remember one inventor who made the first prototypes of his dusting machine with injection-molded parts. He blew all his capital on the first prototype, only to discover it needed substantial reworking. This inventor’s promising project died young.

Trident: Prototyping experts

Trident can help you take your idea for a product and transform it into a tangible item you can help in your hands.  We’ll help you work through the right type of prototyping based on where you are with your invention idea.

Getting started with Trident is easy!  All you have to do is submit your idea to our secure inventor’s portal called the ThinkBank™.  The ThinkBank allows you to organize all of the information you have about your idea and product in one secure space.  Everything you upload is safe and is under your control.  Once you complete the submission steps, a licensing expert from Trident will review your submission and let you know if your idea is a good fit or not.  We accept all ideas and have worked with many different types of inventions – from kitchen gadgets to advanced nanotechnology.  If you’ve got a great idea, we want to help you make it a reality!

check back for more invention information

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