What's The 10 Prototypes Rule?


Hey :smiley:
I’m back with another blog post. The 10 Prototypes Rule is based on mistakes I noticed during the development of Moment-Rec. Read it at: https://5upermakers.com/whats-the-10-prototypes-rule/

Would be awesome to know what you think about my approach. Can you relate? Is it good?

Here’s an exerpt

So, you want to build, market and sell your own products. Creating your first prototype is probably not new to you. But make no mistake. Just creating a single prototype is not going to cut it. In fact, you should create at least 10 prototypes before releasing your product.


Yes, I have certainly fallen into the traps of prototyping the wrong way. Its so important to use tech that exists and stick it together for prototype 1. I have made the bad mistake of jumping ahead and wasting a lot of time on what was really the end product and not on the concept - ie the product designer as you say.

Once you have a quick and dirty prototype that proves the concept (ie the point where you start to look at proper investment or product approval), then you can start in the engineering / coding detail and decisions. You will have learned a lot by then and have a much better idea of how to proceed.

I can think of one project where I could have gotten a prototype up and running using arduino , off the shelf GPS modules etc in a few weeks. I ended up coding my own stuff from scratch and designing hardware that took way too long. (along with more mistakes that was necessary)


It was exactly the same for me with Moment-rec. I basically jumped ahead and tried to produce the end product in one go :yum:
Do you have much experience with Arduino?

I think in the future I probably often use Raspberry Pi for early prototypes. The Raspberry Pi Zero W is very compact yet powerful. The advantage in my opinion is, that you can run python on it. It’s a very high-level language with tons of libraries available. I could even run the program on my computer first (maybe mocking some hardware) and then move the code to the raspberry Pi + connect actual hardware.

Another interesting aspect for me is that python can run many AI algorithms. So, if AI becomes a huge thing in embedded, then I’d be pretty well prepared with a Raspberry Pi + python setup.

Do you see any disadvantage in using Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino? Or would you just use the platform that is closest to a solution?


I have to admit that I have only recently bought and played with Arduino. I had this stupid thought about how it was not ‘real’ (ie all done for you … must do it the hard way!)… but… wow - what a useful platform for getting things done quickly. Especially with prototyping and being able to test sensors and concepts etc before you plug them into other processors or projects.

I have a few Raspberry Pi’s - On my to-do list is to get use them more. Python does seem to be a big player. Not used it much yet, but again on my to-do list. Its a very useful platform and as you say the Pi Zero starts to become a really good base for simpler projects.

Its hard to compare Pi and Arduino. They are so different. I would use Arduino for quick prototyping but probably nothing esle (at this stage). Raspberry Pi for more complicated projects that need TCP/IP, Display etc. Also more useful for AI and data processing. For a hobbyist I think the Pi is better if you are a top level programmer and have little or no embedded knowledge.

I still see Arduino as a play thing and a (very) useful prototyping tool. I’m not sure I would use it in any production product.

Do people use Pi and Arduino in production? I guess so. I did have a client who was looking at a monitoring system and wanted to use the Pi - it makes sense from a production point of view as you just don’t have to worry about 95% of the electronics production and also its a known device and operation system. Easier to maintain.

I wonder how much Raspberry Pi is disrupting the bespoke industrial computer controllers?


I’ve actually never used Arduino so far. And mostly for the same reason you hesitated as well. Many people I talked to believe that Arduino is bad, because it hides so much from the user. So, people never learn the hard/real way of doing things. But, as you said, I think there is a lot of value in Arduino.

I’ve done a couple projects with Raspberry Pi 3, but I’m also not an expert with python. I think you are right that Arduino is best for sensor stuff, when you need to access a lot of hardware. Raspberry Pi is (probably) really good for AI and TCP/IP stuff or very big complicated projects.

I’ve recently read an article about people who tried to use Arduino in a real product (was for a kickstarter). I think the costs are a big problem. There’s probably quite much markup on Arduino’s so you won’t be very competitive with your product, if you try to sell in large quantities. Especially if it’s a consumer customer. But, I think it’s perfectly ok for industrial customers and also research.

Raspberry Pi also has industrial versions, with almost all I/Os exposed via an industrial interface.

I mean Raspberry Pi in general was a huge change for the whole market. It was the start of a new era. A computer that fits on the palm of your hand. It think it also played a huge part in shaping the maker community. It’s incredible what Makers create in their own free-time.