Coming up with an idea for a new piece of electronic hardware can be an exciting process that lets you exercise your innovation and imagination in a way that could have a tangible impact in the real world. However, actually bringing your idea from a concept to a prototype is usually easier said than done. Sadly, the vast majority of excellent invention ideas are never brought into fruition due to the educational barriers involved. Of course, not everyone who has a great idea for a device will also have the degree or skill set that is needed to facilitate the actual design and creation of that device. With that said, here are a few ways you can still bring your invention to life even if you have zero experience as an inventor or hardware developer:
1. Use an Online Design Tool
Believe it or not, there are now tools that let you create PCB layouts, motherboard configurations, and all sorts of other essential components without having any electrical engineering experience. One of the most popular platforms for achieving this is Upverter.com where you can use a convenient user-friendly interface to experiment with various design configurations in the virtual realm before committing to any prototypes.
2. Collaborate with a Freelancer or Consultant
Hiring a freelancer is obviously the most streamlined approach to having a piece of hardware created, but it isn’t always the easiest. Keep in mind that you could wind up having to request numerous revisions and there’s no guarantee that the freelancer you choose will produce the product that you had in mind. Thus, you should be prepared to do some vetting when searching for an ideal candidate. Alternatively, you can try to take the do-it-yourself approach while relying on a consultant for advice and guidance along the way.
3. Use a 3D Printer
Finally, 3D printers provide another possible solution for designing and developing your own prototypes at home. There are already huge repositories of designs that you can download and modify to quickly produce your own bespoke hardware devices, which can then be printed out in-house to eliminate shipping costs and wait times between prototypes.
Hardware Design Isn’t What it Used to Be
Not too long ago, you needed a degree in electrical engineering or another related field to even make a decent attempt at developing an advanced piece of hardware. Luckily, within the past few years, we’ve seen the advent of numerous software and web-based tools that drastically simplify the process of conceptualizing, developing, and testing devices. While these design interfaces will certainly carry their own learning curves, it’s much easier to learn how to use a single piece of software than it is to endure years of studying just to wind up manually piecing things together. Tools like Upverter make it very difficult to mess up because they incorporate the fundamentals of electricity as rules that can’t be broken.
Of course, these tools can also help you learn about circuit board design and other advanced aspects of hardware invention because they essentially hold your hand throughout the process.