Why Medical Device Prototypes are Essential

A doctor working on a table with test tubes.

When you have a great idea that you know will ultimately improve the world of health care, it’s hard to be patient. You want to get the new product designed, manufactured, and distributed as soon as possible so you can start having a positive impact.

However, quality medical devices aren’t made quickly. They require copious prototyping, testing, and tweaking to create. Our team of medical device design and prototyping experts broke down some of the most important reasons why prototypes are essential.

Third Time’s the Charm

Or maybe it’s the fourth, or fifth, or even the thousandth time. When it comes to inventing or designing, it’s more important to get it right than to get it done quickly. In fact, Thomas Edison famously went through over ten thousand prototypes for the light bulb before he came up with his finished product.

That doesn’t mean that medical devices can’t be produced quickly, but it does mean that prototypes are an essential step that can’t be skipped.

Different Prototypes Have Different Purposes

This might be surprising, but there are four different types of prototypes that each serve a distinct purpose. It’s important to use each and every type of prototype in order to create an effective and easy-to-use medical device.

The four different types of prototypes are Proof of Concept, Form Study, Visual, and Functional Prototypes.

  • Proof of Concept Prototypes are designed to do just that – they prove that something is possible and that the design is worth continuing with.
  • Form Study Prototypes are purely made to test the look and feel of a device. These aren’t intended to be functional but are great for determining what aesthetic elements need improvement.
  • Visual Prototypes are a refined version of the Form Study prototype. These are used to create the final look and feel of a device and are then tested accordingly.
  • Functional Prototypes are the step before a finished device. These reflect all of the critiques and work spurred by the previous prototypes. Functional Prototypes are the closest prototype to the final working device and are typically made with slightly less expensive materials than the finished product.

Each of these prototypes offer information that’s crucial for a successful final design.

Picking the Right Process

There are several different ways to manufacture medical devices nowadays. Because of that, it’s important to test out several different manufacturing methods to see which is the best for your project. We’ve written before about the different uses for 3D additive printing and injection molding, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other ways to create the final device you’re looking for. Our team can help you decide what fits your project best.

Do you have a medical device in mind that needs prototyping? Let us help you get started. Reach out to our capable team today to learn about how we can help your dream become a reality.


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