Concept Prototyping

Whether it begins from the evocative lines of a ‘napkin sketch’ or a detailed requirements document, Exponent assists our client’s internal design teams looking for a particular capability or immediate capacity to rapidly evolve their concepts for a part, component, or system into functioning prototype solutions. With more than 20 years’ experience prototyping military and commercial designs, Exponent delivers solutions by combining modern rapid prototyping techniques with solid systems engineering fundamentals and deep domain expertise across a wide range of industries and applications.  Our highest client value is delivered when we can structure an engagement to closely couple the design task with our broad range of specialized test and analysis resources – simultaneously validating the concept as it is being reduced to prototype. In many cases it is this validation speed which is most valuable to the client.

Exponent’s client engagements in the area of concept prototyping may begin with a client’s own concept or simply a client’s problem statement. In some cases Exponent is asked to assist in developing and down-selecting candidate concept solutions before embarking on the prototyping task. Exponent may work alongside a client’s internal development group, or it may work as a temporary specialized R&D service on the client’s behalf. Our project specific prototyping teams are built by pulling from Exponent’s entire portfolio of traditional engineering consultants – most with a PhD and possessing very specific domain knowledge – as well as core group of mechanical designers, electronic engineers, software developers, and test and instrumentation engineers.

The Technology Development practice at Exponent in particular has a long history of performing prototype development activities. In the early years of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, where the needs for stop-gap measure solutions were urgent, the prototype itself often sufficed as a final solution for our military clients. Today, clients from all sectors typically see an early concept prototype as a way to quickly explore constraints, validate requirements, and ultimately move faster and more effectively to  a future product. Exponent may stay engaged with the client through this later technology transfer phase, where the engineering know-how behind the prototype is conveyed in detail to the client or the client’s manufacturing partners. As part of the process Exponent can also assist in generating the documentation which supports patent filings, regulatory applications, or simply stakeholder buy-in.