3 Tips to help you Prototype SMARTER
The prototyping process is so fun! But doing it right takes a bit of common sense, a lot of experience and intentional, thoughtful design. Here are a few quick tips to make the physical prototyping process smoother.
Write Modular Code
Your code needs to work. But it also needs to be WORKABLE, which means it needs to be clean and clear. Make sure you're keeping your code flexible. For embedded systems, that means keeping functions separately so they can be easily extended, using names that make sense, keeping settings in a configuration file for easy access and tweaking, documenting variable size constraints for easy reference and ensuring backwards compatibility as you go.
When you're designing your first revision (hardware, software, middleware), make sure you consider things like loading, debugging, serializing/identifiers, provisioning and testing ahead of time. Add test points, logging, connectors and circuits to support these ancillary activities. This will all save you time in the future and help avoid unnecessary rework.
Be the User
Don't get stuck in your own space. Be the user, by going through the actions they will go through. You don't need to have your design in hand, but find something that's a similar size or shape and act out what the user will do with it. I mean this quite literally. It's amazing what you'll quickly think about when you try to install something, perform functions with it or collect data from it. You learn so much more by doing something than by thinking about doing it!
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tincubate supports a variety of different initiatives all being incubated together. We incubate our own ideas into solutions people can buy, and we help incubate other people's ideas into solutions they can own. We also own and operate a collective space where entrepreneurs and businesses can grow their ideas into reality, called the tincubator.
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