Prototype – an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. A prototype is designed to test and trial a new design to enhance precision by designers and users. Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system.

Bubble wrap insulated jacket (video) – Watch as Deysi takes a user-submitted design from Design Squad’s Build it Better challenge and makes a prototype of a bubble-wrap insulated jacket!

The [/Engineering%20Design%20Process Engineering Design Process] is outlined as though it is a series of steps – work through them in order and you are done. It doesn’t usually work like that!

If you find a problem along the way, stop there, go back and rethink, but be sure to work through the process steps again.

Rethinking Prototypes and Iterative Development – Once the concept is selected from the brainstormed ideas, the product enters the prototype phase. IDEO defines a prototype as a rough draft, and expects to go through several iterations of prototype development. Prototypes need honest feedback from testers who will tell the design team if the part is useful and answers the problem statement.


Engineering notebook

  • keep an engineering notebook for project – doesn’t need to be paper, ok to be digital, but be sure that it is safe.
  • record everything, write everything down – including thinking behind any decisions
  • record everything AND reasons


  • apply constraints

Prototype – first iteration, testing method – prove it is improved, what does that mean

consensus – agreement, group decisions – nobody is happy but nobody is really angry either – if it doesn’t work, will come back – let

cyclical process

nothing physically to start – lots of recorded info

Marshmallow Tower Challenge (variation)
Build the tallest possible free standing tower using 15 sticks of uncooked thin spaghetti and 30 mini-marshmallows

What’s the problem?
prototyping (video 7:00) – the process of using materials to create real-life drafts of ideas you have.
Ask – clarification

  • ok to break spaghetti, marshmallows
  • time limit
  • must be moveable – not stuck to table
  • approx 14 x 14 inches
  • tallest 18in via webinar, 31″ in person


  • pyramid, triangle

That’s engineering

  • iterative – repetitive or cyclical. The engineering design process involves the completion of project tasks or phases in repetitive cycles until a desired result is achieved.

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