Measuring prototypes-a standardized quantitative description of prototypes and their outcome for data collection and analysis
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This paper addresses the need to learn about the characteristics, functionalities, and intended purposes of prototypes by proposing a standardized framework to describe (1) the characteristics of prototypes and (2) their generated (intended) outcome in a quantified and generally applicable way. Text-analysis software enabled us to merge the diverse concepts from literature regarding definitions and descriptions on the characteristics of prototypes and their generated outcome into one single reference, and to further cluster the entire content into newly defined themes. We further defined 51 closed, quantifying questions, which consistently inquire the entire scope of content-definition of each theme and therefore (indirectly) quantifies prototypes and their generated output in a standardized way. Lastly, we provide a case scenario applying these 51 questions as input values in a prototype library to uniformly capture standard parameters of prototypes and their outcome at any stage within a product development process. The analysis of the library data will allow identifying first principles of prototypes and their intended purposes for the engineering design community.