J. Mech. Des. 2018; 140(6):061102-061102-12; doi: 10.1115/1.4039340
Prototyping is an essential part of a company’s product development process. It is critical to launching new products to market; these products can range from the next generation iPhone to surgical devices for doctors to your favorite shoes. Currently, there are limited research studies conducted within companies, meaning we lack an understanding about how companies engage in prototyping activities. This research project observed the entire product development process within three companies in the fields of consumer electronics, medical devices, and footwear. Through our analysis, we uncovered that prototypes are tools for enhanced communication, increased learning, and informed decision-making.