An introduction to prototyping lighting products.
A prototype is a modelled representation of a product. A prototype is simply the earliest model of a device or tool created to test an idea or innovation. It practically forms the basis upon which other models can be created and the design refined before production. This article aims at discussing the various phases and considerations taken in making a prototype, stay tuned!
Prototypes enable you to see how your target audience interacts with the products, the flaws and core marketable benefits in your product. It is an efficient way of assessing how the product will perform before investing in expensive tooling and production.
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Prototyping a new lighting product or any electronic product requires 2 major stages: Electronics Prototyping and casing prototyping.
A. ELECTRONICS PROTOTYPING
Most new lighting designs use Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the light source as they are cheap, compact, energy efficient and safe. LEDs used in lighting products requires PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) to control the core functionality and transfer heat generated by the bulbs. The PCB is also the physical connection which links other electronic components such as transformers or batteries. Getting a PCB layout that is efficient, cost effective and compatible with your design is vital.
D2M has a team of expert engineers, and we partner with top and well trusted electronic and app development partners to make your development process smooth even if your ideas required complex circuitry.
B. DESIGNING THE CASING After developing an initial Printed Circuit Board prototype, we can then move on to designing the outer form of the product. Blue Foam hand sculpting can be used to create a visual but non-functional model. We can also make use of 3D printing to help provide a representation of the shape you want. At this phase, we give aesthetics, manufacturability, and design equal considerations as they are key requirements when producing a successful product.
C. REEVALUATE AND ADJUST
It is highly unlikely that your first prototype will work perfectly, it is part of the process. Evaluating your product and getting continuous and reliable feedbacks will help you develop a better product.
Each type of prototype has a function to serve. Here, we take a look at 3 common types of prototypes
Proof of Concept (POC)
Although POC is used interchangeably with basic physical model, they are terms to describe the same thing. The proof of Concept shows if the development of a product feature is feasible – it is all about core functionality not aesthetics. It is seen as the earliest, low cost demonstration of an idea and increases your confidence in the idea.
This is quick, cost effective non functional to check the overall size, shape and ergonomics before more expensive functional and aesthetic prototypes are produced.
Mark 1 Prototype
This is a more refined version that is closer to the finished product than the POC prototypes. They are constructed incorporating adjustments and enhancements and will be aesthetic and functional but without the final branding, finishes, colours etc. They are a development model before the next level prototype can be made. Initial electronics will need to be incorporated in order to effectively show the functionality and enable you, key stakeholders and potential buyers to evaluate light levels, light colour, usability etc.
Mark 2 Prototype
This prototype takes into account all the learning of the previous models to improve, simplify and develop the design before production. Final colours, material finishes, branding and detailing will be applied during this prototyping phase.
In conclusion, the prototyping phase requires a plethora of skills which D2M offers. Prototyping a new lighting product or any electronic products can seem intimidating for many people, don’t lose courage, D2M has got you covered.
The feasibility and viability of a product significantly affects development costs, it is therefore imperative to pick a reliable and efficient development company like D2M.
Read more about developing a lighting product.