"prototyping" entries

Robert Bodor on digital fabrication

The O’Reilly Solid Podcast: Software intelligence in the manufacturing process.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Solid Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.


In this episode of the Solid Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Robert Bodor, vice president and general manager for the Americas at Proto Labs, a rapid-prototyping service that’s been able to digitize large parts of the fabrication process.

Discussion points:

  • Proto Labs’ contribution to the Pop-Up Factory at the Solid 2015 conference
  • How Proto Labs infused software into the injection molding process, enabling 24-hour turnaround on tooling
  • 3D printing vs. injection molding (that old battle)
  • Parts of the process that defy automation
  • The pros and cons of in-house prototyping

Read more…


The validated learning process for building a hardware startup

How to validate your idea, and get your community engaged.

Buy “The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand,” by Renee DiResta, Brady Forrest, and Ryan Vinyard. Note: this post is an excerpt from the book.

puzzle-696725Hardware founders should strive for hypothesis-driven development and validate their ideas with customers as early as possible. This can be done before or alongside the prototyping process, but it should absolutely be done before moving toward tooling.

Changing your design or switching technologies becomes much more expensive once you’ve moved beyond a prototype, so it’s important to get it right the first time.

The foundation of effective validated learning is conversation. You want to talk to — and, more importantly, listen to — several distinct groups of people who will be critical to your success as a company.

Your fellow hardwarians

The first group of helpers on the road to building your product are fellow hardware founders. Not everyone within the hardware community is a potential customer who will help you unearth the roots of a particular pain point. But within this community are the people who have done it before. They have extensive experience and can provide invaluable guidance for specific problems. They’ll help you reduce waste in the production process. Certain steps in the development process, such as finding a contract manufacturer, are often driven by word-of-mouth referrals. Networking with other founders building products in your space will give you a better chance of getting these things right the first time. Read more…


Coming up at Solid Amsterdam

A look at our unified program for unified creators.


Register now for Solid Amsterdam 2015, our conference exploring the intersections of manufacturing, design, hardware, software, and business strategy. The event will take place in Amsterdam on October 28, 2015.

Creating a great product means knowing something about many things: design, prototyping, electronics, software, manufacturing, marketing, and business strategy. That’s the blend that Solid brings together: over our one-day program at Solid Amsterdam on October 28, 2015, we’ll walk through a range of inspiration and insight that’s essential for anyone who creates physical products — consumer devices, industrial machines, and everything in between.

Start with design: it’s the first discipline that’s called on to master any new technology, and designers whose work has been confined to the digital realm are now expected to understand hardware and connected systems as well.

Design at Solid begins with our program co-chair, Marko Ahtisaari, who was head of product design at Nokia from 2009 to 2013, and is now CEO and co-founder of The Sync Project. We’ll also hear from Thomas Widdershoven, creative director at Design Academy Eindhoven and co-founder of thonik, a design studio whose work specializes in interaction and motion design. Read more…

Four short links: 9 July 2015

Four short links: 9 July 2015

Conservation of Attractive Profits, Prototyping Tool, Open Source PM, and Dev Snark

  1. Netflix and the Conservation of Attractive Profits (Stratechery) — Note the common element to all three of these companies: all have managed to modularize the production/delivery of their service which has allowed them to move closer to the customer. To put it another way, all of this new value is being created by specialized CRM companies: Airbnb for travelers, Uber for commuters, and Netflix for the bored.
  2. Origami — Facebook’s prototyping tool.
  3. Go as Open Source — keynote from this year’s Gophercon. I’ve been pondering lately how successful open source projects go beyond “anyone can scratch their itch,” and instead actively manage the tendency for scope creep. We’d rather have a small number of features that enable, say, 90% of the target use cases, and avoid the orders of magnitude more features necessary to reach 99% or 100%.
  4. The Universal Data StructureGiven the abysmal state of of today’s software engineering, I believe that a full embrace of the universal hash will result in better, simpler programs. Your weekly dose of snark.

Prototype and adapt with the MEAN stack

Rapid web development with MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js

Web development may seem like a bustling space where everything changes every 5 minutes, but, in reality, the fundamental high-level concepts of building a web application haven’t changed much since the introduction of Ajax. The libraries and concepts, like the MEAN stack, that people have built up around HTTP and browser-side JavaScript simply provide abstractions to help people build sophisticated browser-based tools more easily. However, the fundamental challenges of web development remain mostly unchanged, and the ultimate arbiter of the value of a web development framework is how easily it enables you to overcome these challenges. In this article, I’ll highlight what I believe to be the fundamental categories of web development problems, and how the MEAN stack, consisting of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js, helps you solve them.

Problem 1: Prototyping, or, how do I build the damn thing?

With the growing popularity of the lean startup model, the pressure to shorten product development cycles and churn out a prototype application quickly and cheaply has never been greater. And, as developers, we’re doing this better at an exponential rate. Projects that once required hundreds of millions of dollars of capital in the late ‘90s became projects that you could build in a month or two with a couple tens of thousands of capital at a startup accelerator around 2008. Now, these sorts of projects are being churned out at hackathons around the country in a matter of days. As great as this seems, we can do better.

Read more…

Four short links: 17 October 2013

Four short links: 17 October 2013

GUI Prototyping, Linux Containerisation, Searchable Apple Text, and Infosec Wargames

  1. PencilAn open-source GUI prototyping tool that’s available for ALL platforms.
  2. lmctfyopen source version of Google’s container stack, which provides Linux application containers.
  3. ASCII WWDC — searchable full-text transcriptions of WWDC sessions.
  4. Cryptogeddon — an online infosec wargame.