Prototyping is the dessert of design. It’s fun to do, rewarding and everyone wants to try what you come up with. It also vastly enriches research when done correctly and thoroughly. Lo-fidelity prototypes rapidly inform the function of a product and can be done repeatedly without significant investment. Mid-fidelity prototypes allow stakeholders to provide input, while hi-fidelity masterpieces sell the design and push the project into production. This page is a mixture of lo and mid-fidelity prototypes that have been done to either inform a design or practice a new skill.


A Rubik’s Cube has over 6500 different combinations. The idea was to assign a single photo to each combination then simply twist the faces of the cube to bring up the images randomly on a television or screen. It turns your photo album away from being a linear slideshow towards being a voyage of discovery.

Learning by doing is a critical part of human understanding. Making a game of the science behind vacuums meant young students could grasp the concept while having fun. By turning two household vacuums into the best two-player maze race to date, the vacuum vault won a place in the local science centre.


Getting a child’s-eye view of a product or service can spark great insight and help get new miniature stakeholders on board to push a design forward. CarCam was used to explore various children’s surroundings, how they interacted with them and also their ability to control the CarCam itself. Empowering children to talk about design is a fantastic tool to wield.

Visual sound, or music making as a visually stimulating process, was the brief. A classic wooden child’s toy, the Gyrophone is hand-built from tropical hardwoods, chosen based on their resonant and visual qualities. By moving the pegs and turning the handle children can create a new combination of notes.

The technology behind is expensive and relies on considerable usage to be feasible. The experience had to be tested more thoroughly than was affordable so the experience was mocked-up using available technology. Though awkward and clunky, this access to the experience was invaluable to the project’s final state.

The Rubens Tube experiment is a perfect example of the aforementioned visual sound. Building a version of the experiment from readily available materials and testing it the same day gave the Gyrophone project new possibilities.

Redesigning everyday objects can be a difficult process as built-up biases can prevent us from objectively questioning design decisions. A table lamp with a bulb and a power switch may be simple but how can it’s functionality be increased or value strengthened?

Vacuum Vault
Cubic Control
Light Chest
Rubens’ Tube

© Garry Burns 2012 ・