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LX Prototyping within the product development processPrototyping is a valuable tool within the product development process and can serve a number of different purposes. At LX we seek to understand your needs and develop a prototype that is best aligned with your target outcomes.

The primary types of prototypes are:

  • Proof-of-concept prototypes – provide a mock-up (functional or non-functional) to see if the concept works in practice
  • Demonstration prototypes – to secure pre-sales agreements, management approval, government grants and assist in raising capital
  • R&D prototype platforms – to facilitate further research and development
  • Commercial product iterations – to develop the first iteration of a commercial product for refinement, trials, functional and stress testing, verification and certification testing

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Proof-of-Concept Prototypes

This often involves developing a prototype for the purpose of satisfying key stakeholders that the concept is technically feasible. The key purpose of proof-of-concept prototypes is to focus on, understand and address identified risk areas. Addressing technical risks upfront can significantly reduce the risk and cost of the commercial product development process.

Demonstration Prototypes

These prototypes are often useful for obtaining management commitment, government grants, and securing investment and pre-sales agreements. A focus here is often to present the prototype so it appears to function as the final product. However, demonstration prototypes do not need to be fully functional, thoroughly tested and ready for production or commercial sale.

R&D Prototype Platforms

In some projects, algorithm development precedes hardware development as it can define the hardware requirements. In some instances it can also be the longest and most risky aspect of the development process. R&D prototype platforms are a vehicle on which algorithms can be developed and are often useful for engineering and research teams.

Commercial Product Iterations

When developing a commercial product, there are several design iterations, including:

  • Alpha Prototype Iterations
  • Beta Prototype Iterations
  • Pre-Production Prototype Iterations

Alpha Prototypes are the first revision of a commercial product design and aim to meet all aspects of the product specification. They are developed for the purpose of facilitating a review of initial design requirements and implementation.

Beta Prototypes incorporate design changes that were identified during alpha prototype testing. Beta prototypes are often used for certification testing, trials and stress testing. These activities may prompt changes to the design specification and implementation.

Pre-Production Prototypes are for verifying the design and manufacturing set-up prior to large scale production. This often includes optimising production yield, component suppliers, test processes and other considerations that can help streamline the manufacturing process.

Prototyping Techniques

The types of techniques and approaches we use in order to preserve budget for non-commercial prototypes include:

  • Rapid custom hardware development on using quick-turn PCB’s
  • Rapid “go live” approach to custom software development
  • Pre-configured LX hardware and firmware design sections
  • Modifications to existing and/or similar products
  • Use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) hardware modules and development kits
  • Systems such as Labview, Matlab and other PC-based programs
  • 3D printing of enclosures (SLAs)

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