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Prototype Definitions - What are the different types of "prototypes" that Genesis develops? Click Here


A prototype of any device or system is the first of its kind. Prototypes are important in the development process in that they allow engineers (and other stakeholders) an advance look at the product. Depending on the primary use, prototypes are named according to that use.

Functional Prototype

A functional prototype, as the name implies, contains most, if not all, of the functionality of a device. The functional prototype is used to create, mimic, or duplicate the precise operations or functions of the intended product. A functional prototype has none of the cosmetic or physical appearances of the final product. A "breadboard" of an electronic device is a functional prototype. A functional prototype is also used for initial software loads and checks.

Physical Prototype

A physical prototype is fabricated for such purposes as assembly process verification, fit checks, space constraints, and sometimes weight or volume checks. The physical prototype may not necessarily have the finish, color, or other aesthetics of the final product. The physical prototype certainly has no functionality.

Marketing Prototype

The marketing prototype is fabricated for the purpose of exhibiting the product prior to production, demonstrating progress for investors, and market testing. The marketing prototype usually has the finish, color, and perhaps the weight of the final product. In the event of market testing, multiple "versions" of a marketing prototype may be made to determine consumer acceptance.

Production Prototype

The production prototype is the ultimate prototype. It contains all aspects of the finished product, including functionality and physical characteristics. It is usually built by hand to ensure that everything is perfect before committing the design to the production line. In fact, several production prototypes are "run" through the line to validate the production. The only thing that distinguishes the production prototype from actual production products, is that the production prototype is typically not sold, but rather archived.

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