Prototyping is an effort to determine whether an inventor can actually produce their vision in the real world... for meatspace based humans. Meatspace is where users live..... Sometimes it is called *proof of principle*. A prototype can be examined ..... tested. (note: I guess an M2M app can be prototyped .... M2M does not happen in meatspace ).
What is being prototyped can be completely physical. Build a prototype hammer. Swing it. See how it feels in the hand. Does it break on a rock ?
What is being prototyped can be a software application. How well does it satisfy the end user ? How easy is it to maintain ? How fast is it ?
What is being prototyped is an idea .... How do people respond ? Does it continue to flesh out ?
Some great tools for prototyping......
When choosing tools always look for Open Source ( FOSS , FLOSS ) tools and products. These are often cheaper and better supported. Not all claims for Open Source are true. Check new tools and products out carefully.
3D printers , 3D scanners .... these let you copy an existing object and print an object from CAD files.
Android Tablets Tablets can be as lower than $60 in cost. They give you a lot of features.
Fritzing.org ( also SeeedStudio.com and Upverter.org ) These are quickie, low cost manufacturers
RealBasic , now called Xojo ...... Fast development of WYSIWYG apps for OS X , Windows , Linux and the Cloud. I like this non-FOSS development platform.
SBCs There are lots of really powerful and cheap Single Board Computers. these are really great. Some examples are the pcDuino , the Arduino , the Rapsberry Pi, the BeagleBone Black ......
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