Prototype

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Prototype (disambiguation).
An array of prototypes leading to the final design.

A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming. A prototype is designed to test and try a new design to enhance precision by system analysts and users. Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one.[1] In some workflow models, creating a prototype (a process sometimes called materialization) is the step between the formalization and the evaluation of an idea.[2]

The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον prototypon, "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος prototypos, "original, primitive", from πρῶτος protos, "first" and τύπος typos, "impression".[3]


Basic prototype categories[edit]

[4] There is no general agreement on what constitutes a "prototype" and the word is often used interchangeably with the word "model" which can cause confusion. In general, "prototypes" fall into two basic categories:

  • Proof-of-Principle Prototype (Model) (in electronics sometimes built on a breadboard). A Proof of concept prototype is used to test some aspect(s) of the intended design without attempting to exactly simulate the visual appearance, choice of materials or intended manufacturing process. Such prototypes can be used to "prove" out a potential design approach, such as range of motion, mechanics, sensors, architecture, etc. These types of models are often used to identify which design options will not work, or where further development and testing is necessary.
  • Form Study Prototype (Model). This type of prototype will allow designers to explore the basic size, look and feel of a product without simulating the actual function or exact visual appearance of the product. They can help assess ergonomic factors and provide insight into visual aspects of the product's final form.

Differences between a prototype and a production design[edit]

[5] In general, prototypes will differ from the final production variant in three fundamental ways:

  • Materials - Production materials may require manufacturing processes involving higher capital costs than what is practical for prototyping. Instead, engineers or prototyping specialists will attempt to substitute materials with properties that simulate the intended final material.
  • Processes - Often expensive and time consuming unique tooling is required to fabricate a custom design. Prototypes will often compromise by using more variable processes, repeatable or controlled methods; substandard, inefficient, or substandard technology sources; or insufficient testing for technology maturity.
  • Lower fidelity - Final production designs often require extensive effort to capture high volume manufacturing detail. Such detail is generally unwarranted for prototypes as some refinement to the design is to be expected. Often prototypes are built using very limited engineering detail as compared to final production intent, which often uses statistical process controls and rigorous testing. An example of a lower fidelity or lo-fi prototyping technique is a paper prototype. These can be used as a tool for discussion. They are commonly used for early testing of a software design, and can be part of a software walkthrough to confirm design decisions before more costly levels of effort are expended.[6]

[7]==Characteristics and limitations of prototypes==

A prototype of the Polish economy hatchback car Beskid 106 designed in the 1980s.

Engineers and prototyping specialists seek to understand the limitations of prototypes to exactly simulate the characteristics of their intended design.

It is important to realize that by their very definition, prototypes will represent some compromise from the final production design. Due to differences in materials, processes and design fidelity, it is possible that a prototype may fail to perform acceptably whereas the production design may have been sound. A counter-intuitive idea is that prototypes may actually perform acceptably whereas the production design may be flawed since prototyping materials and processes may occasionally outperform their production counterparts.

In general, it can be expected that individual prototype costs will be substantially greater than the final production costs due to inefficiencies in materials and processes. Prototypes are also used to revise the design for the purposes of reducing costs through optimization and refinement.

It is possible to use prototype testing to reduce the risk that a design may not perform as intended, however prototypes generally cannot eliminate all risk. There are pragmatic and practical limitations to the ability of a prototype to match the intended final performance of the product and some allowances and engineering judgement are often required before moving forward with a production design.

Building the full design is often expensive and can be time-consuming, especially when repeated several times—building the full design, figuring out what the problems are and how to solve them, then building another full design. As an alternative, rapid prototyping or rapid application development techniques are used for the initial prototypes, which implement part, but not all, of the complete design. This allows designers and manufacturers to rapidly and inexpensively test the parts of the design that are most likely to have problems, solve those problems, and then build the full design.

This counter-intuitive idea —that the quickest way to build something is, first to build something else— is shared by scaffolding and the telescope rule.

==Characteristics and limitations of prototypes==[8]

A prototype of the Polish economy hatchback car Beskid 106 designed in the 1980s.

Engineers and prototyping specialists seek to understand the limitations of prototypes to exactly simulate the characteristics of their intended design.

It is important to realize that by their very definition, prototypes will represent some compromise from the final production design. Due to differences in materials, processes and design fidelity, it is possible that a prototype may fail to perform acceptably whereas the production design may have been sound. A counter-intuitive idea is that prototypes may actually perform acceptably whereas the production design may be flawed since prototyping materials and processes may occasionally outperform their production counterparts.

In general, it can be expected that individual prototype costs will be substantially greater than the final production costs due to inefficiencies in materials and processes. Prototypes are also used to revise the design for the purposes of reducing costs through optimization and refinement.

It is possible to use prototype testing to reduce the risk that a design may not perform as intended, however prototypes generally cannot eliminate all risk. There are pragmatic and practical limitations to the ability of a prototype to match the intended final performance of the product and some allowances and engineering judgement are often required before moving forward with a production design.

Building the full design is often expensive and can be time-consuming, especially when repeated several times—building the full design, figuring out what the problems are and how to solve them, then building another full design. As an alternative, rapid prototyping or rapid application development techniques are used for the initial prototypes, which implement part, but not all, of the complete design. This allows designers and manufacturers to rapidly and inexpensively test the parts of the design that are most likely to have problems, solve those problems, and then build the full design.

This counter-intuitive idea —that the quickest way to build something is, first to build something else— is shared by scaffolding and the telescope rule.

Characteristics and limitations of prototypes[edit]

[9]

A prototype of the Polish economy hatchback car Beskid 106 designed in the 1980s.

Engineers and prototyping specialists seek to understand the limitations of prototypes to exactly simulate the characteristics of their intended design.

It is important to realize that by their very definition, prototypes will represent some compromise from the final production design. Due to differences in materials, processes and design fidelity, it is possible that a prototype may fail to perform acceptably whereas the production design may have been sound. A counter-intuitive idea is that prototypes may actually perform acceptably whereas the production design may be flawed since prototyping materials and processes may occasionally outperform their production counterparts.

In general, it can be expected that individual prototype costs will be substantially greater than the final production costs due to inefficiencies in materials and processes. Prototypes are also used to revise the design for the purposes of reducing costs through optimization and refinement.

It is possible to use prototype testing to reduce the risk that a design may not perform as intended, however prototypes generally cannot eliminate all risk. There are pragmatic and practical limitations to the ability of a prototype to match the intended final performance of the product and some allowances and engineering judgement are often required before moving forward with a production design.

Building the full design is often expensive and can be time-consuming, especially when repeated several times—building the full design, figuring out what the problems are and how to solve them, then building another full design. As an alternative, rapid prototyping or rapid application development techniques are used for the initial prototypes, which implement part, but not all, of the complete design. This allows designers and manufacturers to rapidly and inexpensively test the parts of the design that are most likely to have problems, solve those problems, and then build the full design.

This counter-intuitive idea —that the quickest way to build something is, first to build something else— is shared by scaffolding and the telescope rule.

Scale modeling[edit]

A scale model of an airplane in a wind tunnel for testing.

In the field of scale modeling (which includes model railroading, vehicle modeling, airplane modeling, military modeling, etc.), a prototype is the real-world basis or source for a scale model—such as the real EMD GP38-2 locomotive—which is the prototype of Athearn's (among other manufacturers) locomotive model. Technically, any non-living object can serve as a prototype for a model, including structures, equipment, and appliances, and so on, but generally prototypes have come to mean full-size real-world vehicles including automobiles (the prototype 1957 Chevy has spawned many models), military equipment (such as M4 Shermans, a favorite among US Military modelers), railroad equipment, motor trucks, motorcycles, and space-ships (real-world such as Apollo/Saturn Vs, or the ISS). As of 2014, basic rapid prototype machines (such as 3D printers) cost about $2,000, but larger and more precise machines can cost as much as $500,000.[10]

Metrology[edit]

In the science and practice of metrology, a prototype is a human-made object that is used as the standard of measurement of some physical quantity to base all measurement of that physical quantity against. Sometimes this standard object is called an artifact. In the International System of Units (SI), the only prototype remaining in current use is the International Prototype Kilogram, a solid platinum-iridium cylinder kept at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (International Bureau of Weights and Measures) in Sèvres France (a suburb of Paris) that by definition is the mass of exactly one kilogram. Copies of this prototype are fashioned and issued to many nations to represent the national standard of the kilogram and are periodically compared to the Paris prototype.

Until 1960, the meter was defined by a platinum-iridium prototype bar with two scratch marks on it (that were, by definition, spaced apart by one meter), the International Prototype Metre, and in 1983 the meter was redefined to be the distance in free space covered by light in 1/299,792,458 of a second (thus defining the speed of light to be 299,792,458 meters per second).

It is widely believed that the kilogram prototype standard will be replaced. There are two likely replacements. One is a definition of the kilogram that will define another physical constant (likely either Planck's constant or the elementary charge) to a defined numerical value, thus obviating the need for the prototype and removing the possibility of the prototype (and thus the standard and definition of the kilogram) changing very slightly over the years because of loss or gain of atoms. The other definition is using a system that finds the amount of force needed to counteract the pull of earth's gravity on a one kilogram artifact. [11]

Natural sciences[edit]

In many sciences, from pathology to taxonomy, prototype refers to a disease, species, etc. which sets a good example for the whole category. In Biology, prototype is the ancestral or primitive form of a species or other group; an archetype.[12] For example, the Senegal bichir is regarded as the prototypes of its genus, Polypterus.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prototyping Definition". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  2. ^ Marcelo M. Soares; Francesco Rebelo (15 August 2012). Advances in Usability Evaluation. CRC Press. p. 482. ISBN 978-1-4398-7025-9. 
  3. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  4. ^ Roebuck, Kevin (2012). 3D Printing: High-impact Emerging Technology - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Emereo Publishing. 
  5. ^ Roebuck, Kevin (2012). 3D Printing: High-impact Emerging Technology - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Emereo Publishing. 
  6. ^ "Prototyping". Brown University - User Experience, Independent Study Project. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  7. ^ Roebuck, Kevin (2012). 3D Printing: High-impact Emerging Technology - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Emereo Publishing. 
  8. ^ Roebuck, Kevin (2012). 3D Printing: High-impact Emerging Technology - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Emereo Publishing. 
  9. ^ Roebuck, Kevin (2012). 3D Printing: High-impact Emerging Technology - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Emereo Publishing. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]. HuffingtonPost.com. Huffington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  12. ^ prototype. CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved December 07, 2012.