A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming. A prototype is generally used to evaluate a new design to enhance precision by system analysts and users. Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one. In some design workflow models, creating a prototype (a process sometimes called materialization) is the step between the formalization and the evaluation of an idea.
The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον prototypon, “primitive form”, neutral of πρωτότυπος prototypos, “original, primitive”, from πρῶτος protos, “first” and τύπος typos, “impression”.[5
In this section we will look at various techniques for prototyping your idea to make sure it works as you want. With recent rapid prototyping tools available including 3D printers, CNC machines, middleware platforms like Unity, etc. it is easier than ever to test out your ideas before you start full production.DEN Stage 2 - Prototypingv2
Here are some additional tools and links if you are interested in learning more about this topic