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Über dieses Buch

In this book, the authors describe the findings derived from interaction and cooperation between scientific actors employing diverse practices. They reflect on distinct prototyping concepts and examine the transformation of development culture in their fusion to hybrid approaches and solutions.

The products of tomorrow are going to be multifunctional, interactive systems – and already are to some degree today. Collaboration across multiple disciplines is the only way to grasp their complexity in design concepts. This underscores the importance of reconsidering the prototyping process for the development of these systems, particularly in transdisciplinary research teams.

“Rethinking Prototyping – new hybrid concepts for prototyping” was a transdisciplinary project that took up this challenge. The aim of this programmatic rethinking was to come up with a general concept of prototyping by combining innovative prototyping concepts, which had been researched and developed in three sub-projects: “Hybrid Prototyping” developed new prototyping approaches to validate and evaluate holistically developed systems with their services, infrastructure and business models. “Blended Prototyping” addressed a new technique whereby prototypes for user interfaces of software applications can be generated from hand drawings and immediately be tested. “Beyond Prototyping” examined the issue of the prototype in connection with algorithmically generated design for producing

tailor-made products.




Ideas and approaches for practical solutions become manifest in prototypes. They enable us to consider and test them as well as to communicate about them. Prototypes inspire new ideas, demonstrate problems and let us test solutions. They are tools in the creation, development and design process, which have traditionally been shaped in different ways depending on the field.
Christoph Gengnagel, Emilia Nagy, Rainer Stark

Perspectives on Prototyping


Perspectives on Future Prototyping—Results from an Expert Discussion

The role of prototyping in today’s product development processes has been examined in numerous empirical studies and investigations. In various disciplines, prototyping is understood as a significant methodology for supporting clarification, conception, and design phases. Due to this significance, the question how prototyping will evolve in the future is of high relevance for those who are planning development processes, developing prototyping tools and for design researchers generally. However, quite little is known about possible future evolutions in prototyping and only few authors explicitly address this topic in the literature. This article explores perspectives on future prototyping based on the results of a focus group discussion that was conducted amongst ten prototyping experts from academia and industry. The results suggest that prototyping will maintain and even expand its general importance for product development processes. Moreover, significant changes are expected in the fields of prototyping design methods, prototyping technologies, and societal impacts of prototyping.
Johann Habakuk Israel, Benjamin Bähr, Konrad Exner

Design Prototyping for Research Planning and Technological Development

Research planning and technological development are part of our ongoing social and cultural development that can be shaped in a user-centred way with prototyping models from design. As an interdisciplinary form of communication, prototyping from design can create a collective understanding of the use of technology and enables the aspirations and requirements of future technology to be determined. This added value for research planning and the development of technology is demonstrated through examples provided in this text. Various prototyping models such as design prototyping, co-prototyping and participatory prototyping are outlined as important indicators for research planning and technological development and are described in terms of their effectiveness. The respective prototyping model determines on the one hand how daily life experts can be integrated into the development process, and on the other it specifies how concretely the given model can be applied to the technology in development. Accordingly, the appropriate prototyping model must be selected for the specific issue in technological development. The detailed description of the parameters and qualities of the prototyping models as well as the graphs and visuals of them should help with these decisions.
Kora Kimpel

Prototypes as Embodied Computation

The development of computational constructs that span the physical and digital realm opens up a new domain referred to here as embodied computation, a term introduced in my research at Princeton University. The role of prototyping is shifting from that of the confirmation of design assumptions in the early design stages to that of the embodiment of a design idea deployed into the world at large and continuously tested and updated digitally and if necessary physically throughout its lifetime. Feedback and control based on sensors and network-based information is enabling relatively simple mechanical structures to perform a wider range of tasks. There is a shift from mechanical complexity towards algorithmic complexity resultant from this change in many areas. In this article a number of prototypes are discussed in developing the concept of embodied computation through material and actuated constructs.
Axel Kilian

Prototyping Practice: Merging Digital and Physical Enquiries

This paper examines the role of the prototyping in digital architecture. During the past decade, a new research field has emerged exploring the digital technology’s impact on the way we think, design and build our environment. In this practice the prototype, the pavilion, installation or demonstrator, has become a shared research tool. This paper asks how this practice has formed by tracing the different roles of the prototype from ideation and design, to analysis and evaluation. Taking point of departure in CITA’s own prototyping practice, we explore the relationships between physical and digital prototyping as a particular means of validation and verification. Here, a breadth of physical prototypes take on varying roles, in turn informing, testing and proving the research enquiry. The paper addresses how we can differentiate between these modes of prototyping and how.
Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Martin Tamke

Prototyping the Unfamiliar: New Dilemmas of Scale Within an Evolving Digital Design Landscape

Designing spaces that are entirely unfamiliar in terms of cognitive spatial arrangements present particular difficulties for architects in cases where floor surfaces are not level, for example, walls are not vertical, and ceilings richly sculptured. One such space is presented here as an example of new dilemmas of scale that architects face—the ‘Sala Creuer’ above the crossing of the Sagrada Família Basilica. In such situations the only prototypes that can fully reveal the designers’ intentions are full-scale mock-ups, or more typically, the completed built space. Scaled prototypes have other important roles to play especially within a rapidly evolving digital design landscape, but offering the end-user a credible preview of the anticipated spatial experience entirely unfamiliar in cognitive spatial terms is probably only a remote possibility.
Mark Burry

Rethinking Prototyping


The Evolution from Hybrid to Blended to Beyond Prototyping

The traditional understanding of prototyping among different disciplines comprises technological and conceptual limits. With respect to user-oriented design of complex products, systems and services, new opportunities are emerging through innovative information, communication and manufacturing technologies. The growing technical complexity and the increasing individualization of products in turn require intelligently designed representations and test environments. In this way, design, production and interaction processes can be optimized for the respective users.
Kai Lindow, André Sternitzke

Hybrid Prototyping

Innovative ideas and solutions are a decisive competitive advantage in today’s global markets. The concept of Product-Service Systems (PSS) integrates services, products, infrastructure and business models in an individual solution for the customer. In order to receive the full benefit in providing PSS systematic development methodologies are needed to cope with the complex structure of these systems. Hybrid Prototyping combines physical prototypes and digital models in Virtual Reality. The utilization of this concept enables a prototyping of PSS in early development phases. The main objective is the integration of the customer in this process and enable a realistic experiencing of PSS concepts in order provide the means for the validation of PSS.
Konrad Exner, André Sternitzke, Simon Kind, Boris Beckmann-Dobrev

Blended Prototyping

This chapter summarizes the research carried out in the project “Blended Prototyping”. It surveys prototyping mechanisms that enable early testing of user interfaces for apps, mobile applications running on smartphones or tablets (apps). A new prototyping approach has been designed, which provides groups of app designers with mechanisms to use paper sketches as a basis, for a quick creation of mobile app prototypes in group work. The approach primarily addresses early design stages, but includes processes to build more complex prototypes as well, which can be applied in later development phases. Tools were designed, developed, and tested that allow designers to use the approach in productive prototyping sessions. The development of the “Blended Prototyping” approach was shaped by feedback we gained from fellow designers, industry experts, scientists, and amateurs. The collaboration in the research project “Rethinking Prototyping” taught us new aspects and views on prototyping that found their implementation in the “Blended Prototyping” idea. This chapter summarizes this journey and explains the motivation and concept behind the approach. It demonstrates the use of the implemented tools and tells the story of their development. Results from two studies we conducted in the course of the project are shown. The lessons learned from these can help in the development of prototyping tool in the future.
Benjamin Bähr, Sebastian Möller

Beyond Prototyping

“Beyond Prototyping” is a research undertaking exploring the possibilities of algorithmically defined products that can be easily manufactured using digital fabrication techniques. Using interdisciplinary teaching between two universities and collaborations with small commercial studios as well as a series of product-service systems to evaluate the feasibility and appeal of such products, beyond prototyping proposes a vision of service model that sits between atelier and mass production. Locatable, Ciphering and Highlight, three case studies implemented as web and material services, chronicle the challenges and opportunities of such products. To evaluate their success, the services are offered to the public, who are subsequently sent surveys to reflect on the products. The case studies demonstrate that such products have potential to complement the current market with new business models.
Jussi Ängeslevä, Iohanna Nicenboim, Jens Wunderling, David Lindlbauer

The Results of Rethinking Prototyping

The scientists and academics in the transdisciplinary project called “Rethinking Prototyping” have not only been working on concrete hybrid prototyping approaches in their research, but also on a joint understanding and a general concept of prototyping as well. A differentiated analysis of the terms used in contexts connected with prototyping led to the finding that their application both differs from discipline to discipline and is partially complementary, too. In the transdisciplinary context of complex interrelated developments, it is not expedient to attempt a definition that will cover all prototyping concepts. Rather, the prototyping methods and concepts should be placed and described in a multi-dimensional matrix. This article discusses considerations in this regard and presents their reflection in the “layer cake” publication format.
Jussi Ängeslevä, Benjamin Bähr, Boris Beckmann-Dobrev, Ulrike Eichmann, Konrad Exner, Christoph Gengnagel, Emilia Nagy, Rainer Stark

Joint Research


Reflections on Transdisciplinary Research

In this chapter, the project coordinators reflect retrospectively upon the most important elements of the transdisciplinary collaboration in the “Rethinking Prototyping” project. On the macro level, the fundamental importance of reflective-coordinating support is outlined against the backdrop of ambivalent exp
eriences with inter-/transdisciplinary research, and the assumed added value of transdisciplinary research for this project—the integration of knowledge—is described. A general overview provides the challenges within the science system that reflecting-moderating support of transdisciplinary processes must address in various ways, depending on the project. With recourse to project-internal documentation, empirical values and the results of an accompanying study, the most important elements of the collaboration are then elucidated on the micro level and assessed with regard to their potential for the promotion of the process of knowledge integration. Based on the results of this evaluation, beneficial factors for knowledge-integration and transdisciplinary collaboration are worked out. Throughout the course of the project, the guiding principle that each transdisciplinary project is unique and must be understood as prototypical was developed. Transdisciplinary projects are implemented in the form of a continuous development process that, as summarised at the end, is to be understood as part of a global prototyping process in transdisciplinary research. This paper makes a contribution to this subject.
Ulrike Eichmann, Emilia Nagy
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