In this episode Jack & Holly are thinking all about prototypes, why they’re important and how they can make one for their new vacuum cleaner.
What is a prototype?
A prototype is the first one of your product that you make.
It’s the one all the others that you might make in a factory are based on.
Have a look at this prototype of an electric car…Embed from Getty Images
Why do you need a prototype?
Prototypes are super useful to see how your idea works and it helps you see if there are any problems that you didn’t think of while you were dreaming up the idea.
For example, you might be trying to make the first hover car. You would want to make one and test it before you launch into mass production, it might not work at all!Embed from Getty Images
Prototypes are also a great way to let other people test out your idea before you spend lots of money making lots of them. At this stage in the process you can still go back and change things that you don’t like or that don’t work now you have the physical thing to play around with.
People will also make prototypes to show to people who, if they like the idea, might pay for lots to be made in factries and help get them into shops. These people are called ‘investors’.
Investors can sometimes offer the inventor hundreds, thousands or even millions of pounds to get the idea in the shops. But they will want to see the idea and test it first to make sure they like it and that it’s worth their money. This is when you would make a prototype to to show them.
A good example that you might have seen is the prototypes for the new folding phones. These we’re not the exact phone that phone companies are going to sell, but it gives them a good idea of how their new folding phones will work.Embed from Getty Images
How do you make a prototype?
Making prototypes can be very easy or very complicated depending on what you’re trying to make.
If you were making a prototype of a new doll for kids to play with then it could be as easy as making it out of toilet roll and sticky tape. If you were making a car it can be as difficult as making a whole car from scratch!
Just because your idea is complicated, doesn’t mean you can’t make a simple prototype though. If you’re idea is for a new car you can make it out of cardboard boxes just to see how it will look and work, you could even just draw out your ideas!
In the episode at the top of the page, Holly & Jack didn’t know how to make a working vacuum cleaner so they make a pretend one out of things they found around their house instead. You can do the same!
How many prototypes do people make?
As many as it takes until you’re happy with it!
The iPhone had loads of different prototypes before that was first put in shops.Embed from Getty Images
Make your own prototype!
Have a go at making a prototype for your own idea.
You can make it out of anything you can find, or you could just draw it!
Listen to ‘There’s Got To Be a Better Way’ at 6:45am on Fun Kids Radio every weekday starting Monday 14th December or subscribe to the podcast below…
This series is produced with help from Shark
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