Over the holiday weekend, in the midst of doing a variety of home projects I watched the 1st (only) season of Prototype This.
The show has a core team of 4 (an electrical engineer, special effects guru, Robotics guy, and a material specialist) that join together to put together some amazing prototypes during a 10 day to 2 week period. Some of the projects they tackled were a mind controlled car that went into neutral when the driver got angry,
a backyard water slide simulator, and a flying life guard, supplying life saving floatation devices to unmanned beaches.
I liked the series, and would recommend it for several reasons.
-They use alot of materials that are used in theatre
-They show alot of different machining technologies, cnc machines, vaccuforming, laser cutting, water jetting
-They use a variety of animation / feedback and other items useful to automation.
-It shows that you can do some amazing things in 2 weeks with the right resources (granted they weren't two 40 hour weeks).
-While cash certainly wasn't an issue (budgets other than time were not even mentioned), using resources wisely was important to meet their goals. They often went to the top of the field for what they were trying to accomplish to get ideas and gain knowledge.
-I think the prototyping process is important, and too often overlooked. And, on top of being important for the realization of a finished product, challenging yourself to do a proof of concept can help you learn a variety of skills even if a finished product is not the end goal.
So if you have a few hours, take a look!