The creation of prototypes is a big part of the engineering process as it will ultimately decide whether your product or design is viable or not. Establishing a workable prototype is by no means easy and requires a great deal of detail and intricacy in order to give you the best opportunity to see what the finished article could look and perform like; even if it is only in concept form at that moment.
Many engineering ideas have reached the prototype stage without going any further towards becoming an actual product, however many others have given their designers and engineers a great indication of how they can make it work. Here are some great recent prototypes for inventions that could soon be hitting the mass market.
The Flexible Phone –
During the annual Consumer Electronics Show at the start of 2013, Samsung unveiled their prototype for what could be the world’s first bendable smartphone. The addition of flexible but strong technology will make the worry of breaking your most prized electronic devices a thing of the past and will make way for a new generation of lighter and more compactable gadgets. Although there is no word yet as to when Samsung will bring this product to the masses, there have been rumours that we could get the first taste of ‘Youm’ in the launch of the new the Galaxy Note 3 Active in the near future.
A Motorcycle GPS –
Some of the best engineering minds often come from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT, one of the most prestigious universities in America, and this year’s mechanical engineering students recently showed off the prototypes they have created. Among these was a concept for a heads up motorcycle GPS unit that can be attached to a rider’s helmet and help then navigate without being distracted from the road. The device could also be used for cyclists and the technology could help to create new satnavs for cars which are much safer than those currently available.
The Bubble Pod –
The amount of pictures that are taken and uploaded to social media sites has grown dramatically in the last year alone and so there are more and more products being brought to the market that take advantage of this. The Bubble Pod is a prototype that became possible through the online crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Simply slide your smartphone into this windup, rubber gripping device and it will gently rotate a full 360 degrees whilst taking beautifully perfect panoramic photos. Check it out here.
The Flying Car –
The idea for a flying car has been around for years and has featured in many sci-fi films. However, you may be surprised to learn that it is not just a product of fiction as there have been a number of flying car prototypes produced in recent years. US company Terrafugia are developing not one, but two, air/road hybrid vehicles in their bid to be the first company to enter into this market. You can even reserve one of their ‘Transition’ models on their website here. This is certainly exciting news for everyone who hates the rush hour traffic and we could soon see parts for flying cars being produced by precision engineering companies, such as this, all over the world.
By Chris Mayhew
Chris Mayhew is a big fan of technology and loves the engineering side of product design. He would recommend Griffiths Engineering to anyone looking for a reliable precision engineering sub-contractor.