A Hardware start-up (4) : Prototyping

Prototype

Once your MVP (Minimal Viable Product) and your Proof of Concept (POC) is ready you must move to the next phase of your design: Prototype.

MVPs and POCs are usually made from development kits. They are only meant to prove that your idea is workable. But POCs don’t give you an idea of what you can do on your own. You CANNOT use development kits in a production environment since they were never designed with that purpose in mind.

Hence the goal of the prototype development is to give you an idea of what you can do using your own designs. Ready development kits provide an illusion that you have got the design right but when you sit to get your hardware designed a lot of new challenges crop up and it is important to weed these challenges out.

Going forward with the idea of a prototype here are several other advantages of building your own prototype:

  1. Manufacturing cost of the product – This includes the bill of material, the cost of the PCB, the cost of assembling the PCB etc.
  2. Industrial designs are finalized hand in hand with the prototype design.

It is imperative to mention that any discrepancies in the cost that you arrive at after the prototyping stage and the cost that your marketing team provided to you needs to be resolved at this stage or in the next stage called the Design for Manufacturability (DFM).

Hence at the end of this phase you will get a fair idea of how your final product is going to look since the size and the shape of the PCBs are finalized. You can, now, start moving forward with product demonstrations to potential clients, investors, stake holders and well wishers to get real world feedback.

In conclusion, this stage should give you enough confidence in your product, with understanding the look and feel of your product, realistic cost estimates and provide motivation to take things forward with your product development.

This is the fourth article of a series of articles that we are publishing. If you have just logged in please refer to the previous article here.

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