Invention prototypes are 3D embodiments of how your invention idea will look like or how it will work, when it is actually produced and manufactured.
It’s the real life manifestation of your product concept.
There are two types of prototypes:
The general idea behind having any kind of prototype is to have something real and tangible that communicates your ideas in a 3D product form.
There is no legal or other obligation to have a prototype for your invention.
You can get a patent without a prototype, as long as your invention can be created and is not an amorphous idea.
Why should you still consider building a prototype?
There are two main reasons:
If you are convinced of the benefits of having an invention prototype, the next step is to build one!
But before you do that, it’s best to spend some time thinking of your invention strategy.
What are you trying to achieve with your invention prototype?
Which benefits or characteristics of the product are its most important selling points?
Do you want to show that your product design works well with other products on the market?
Do you want to show how the way your product is designed makes something happen easily and conveniently?
Are you interested in projecting an image of luxury or is function the key thing here?
Who is your prototype audience? Are you targeting marketing people? manufacturers?
What is the single most important feature your prototype needs to communicate?
Answering such questions will help you decide how your prototype needs to look. Is it enough to have an empty shell that shows how the product will look like, without actually doing what it needs to do?
Is it more important to have a functioning model, even if it looks horrendous, as long as it communicates that the idea behind the product works?
Invention prototypes are often created in the early stages of a product life cycle At this stage, you don’t yet know if your product will be a success or not, and if all your investment will amount to something.
Working within a budget is probably of the utmost importance. You want to get the greatest benefits at the minimal cost.
By prioritizing what your prototype needs to achieve, you can make some important choices on what to invest in and how to build your prototype.
Now that you know what you want to achieve with your prototype its time to decide whether your objectives can be reached by making the prototype yourself, or by getting some professional help to help you build your prototype.
In the next article, you can read all about how to make a prototype.