A Functional Prototype is a sample or model of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a visual prop to be replicated, improved and learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming but most common in product development. A visual prototype is designed to test and try a new design to enhance precision by inventors, investors and potential consumer users. Visual prototyping serves to provide a visual product impact instead of an individual imagined view.
Functional prototypes are the step between the mental formalization and the actual look, feel and basic function of an idea, invention or new product.
Functional Prototype Building using 3D printing, fabrication and “off the shelf” parts is usually the best for building and developing real life functioning prototypes. Don’t underestimate the importance of a “Functional Prototype”. Don’t try to cut corners by skipping the functional prototype stage and moving forward without having shown yourself and others how your product functions. As they say; a picture is worth a thousand words and a functional physical prototype will help convey your seriousness and professionalism about your new product or invention.
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