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Rapid Prototyping Definition

Rapid Prototyping Definition

In network design, rapid prototyping can be used to map the architecture for a new network.  A rapid prototype tool called Mininet, for example, allows the user to quickly create, interact with, customize and share a software-defined network (SDN) prototype on a single computer which simulates a network topology that uses Openflow switches.

In software development, when a small team quickly builds a working software program for users to review, it is also called rapid prototyping. It may also be called rapid application development (RAD).

3-D printing technology poised for growth in 2014
The year 2014 could be a big one for 3-D printing technology, but when it comes to accessibility and safety, there's still much room for improvement.

If 2013 was the year that 3-D printing technology eked its way into the mainstream thinking of businesses and consumers alike, 2014 is shaping up to be a key stepping stone for the still nascent technology. With growing numbers of companies devoting resources to investigate the technology's potential, and with prices of 3-D printers dropping as mass interest builds, this year could bring significant advancements not only in the technology itself, but in the way it's used, experts say.

n a reversal of the consumerization trend that's been taking hold in enterprises, business will be leading the way. Whereas those in the industry agree that the consumer 3-D printing market is at the peak of the hype cycle, enterprises are much further along on the adoption curve.

"We've crawled out of the peak of inflated expectations and have gotten to the productivity stage," said Pete Basiliere, a Gartner Inc. analyst who watches the space closely. "Virtually every business worldwide can benefit in some way from 3-D printer output."

How 3D printing impacts manufacturing
With the ability to create on-demand specialist tools, any initial investment in 3D printing technology could quickly pay for itself. A world in which manufacturing on-demand is a reality might not be that far away, as the price of 3D printers is dramatically falling.

The technology has the potential to fundamentally change the economies of scale for small, innovative enterprises. For decades 3D printing – or additive manufacturing – was the preserve of larger enterprises, as investment costs were prohibitive for smaller companies.

But with costs for lower end plastics-printing machines having plummeted in the last few years, the technology is now on the cusp of becoming mainstream. Paul Doe, chief designer at motorsport technology designers Prodrive, says 3D printing is already transforming the way the company does business. His previous experience with the technology had been making prototypes and the main reason Prodrive initially bought its 3D printer in 2009 was to make non-functional prototypes. “But our use of the machine changed quite a lot in 18 months to actually making production parts,” he says. “We discovered the technology was good in terms of strength, when we were using technology to make parts to test on the car.”

Rapid prototyping for quality software
A simple paper prototype can be drawn on poster board, notebook scrap, even the back of a napkin. But a rough-sketch software prototype is not necessarily simple and, if done incorrectly, is not necessarily cheap. A striking UI prototype may be helpful and economical or it may be a gorgeous, error-ridden disappointment that is largely irrelevant to the final product.

"The paper prototype is as important as the finished high-fidelity one, but only if they're used at the right time," said Nevin Berger, one of the three authors of Effective Prototyping for Software Makers, the first comprehensive guide to the prototyping process.

Prototyping in context
Berger, Jonathan Arnowitz and Michael Arent have examined the various kinds of prototypes, from paper to digital, and how and when to fit them into the software development process. As Arent puts it, "prototyping is not an isolated activity -- it takes place within a context." This point is emphasized throughout Effective Prototyping.

See more at: http://searchmanufacturingerp.techtarget.com/definition/Rapid-prototyping

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