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1. one of the first units manufactured of a product, which is tested so that the design can be changed if necessary before the product is manufactured commercially
2. Biology the ancestral or primitive form of a species or other group; an archetype
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an actual person serving as a writer’s model for a character in a literary work. A literary character is far more meaningful than its prototype. The character created by the writer is so transformed that he no longer resembles the original. The prototype of Alesha Gorshok in L. N. Tolstoy’s story of the same name was a “holy fool” who worked as a cook at Iasnaia Poliana. But the figure of the Iasnaia Poliana “halfwit,” utilized as an element of a literary concept, became an important Russian peasant type, one that had awakened from patriarchal slumber to view the world in an aura of love and happiness. This type is in contrast with the old-fashioned, submissive Kar-ataev in Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The literary character modeled after a prototype reproduces some of the prototype’s traits and reflects a personality type engendered by a certain era; it also represents the creation of a new personality with an independent existence. This explains why a literary character may in turn become the prototype for a category of persons in real life: an example is Turgenev’s women. Such a character may also become a prototype for a literary work of another era; an example is Griboedov’s Molchalin in the works of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin.

The role of the prototype changes according to genre and literary school. The maximum identity with the prototype is found in documentary prose, but even here there is a substantial difference between the prototype and the literary character, reflecting the author’s personal viewpoint. This is seen in N. Ostrovskii’s How the Steel Was Tempered and in the sketch-type novellas of such writers as A. Iashin and E. Dorosh.


Al’tman, M. S. “Russkie pisateli i uchenye v russkoi literature XIX v.” In the collection N. A. Dobroliubov: Stat’i i materialy. Gorky, 1965.
Andronikova, M. I. Otprototipo k obrazu. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A model suitable for use in complete evaluation of form, design, and performance.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A first or original model of hardware or software. Prototyping involves the production of functionally useful and trustworthy systems through experimentation with evolving systems. Generally, this experimentation is conducted with much user involvement in the evaluation of the prototype.

A primary use for prototyping is the acquisition of information that affects early product development. For example, if requirements for human-computer interfaces are ambiguous or inadequate, prototyping is frequently used to define an acceptable functional solution. It is a method for increasing the utility of user knowledge for purposes of continuing development to a final product. Information obtained through prototyping is important to designers, managers, and users in identifying issues and problems. Prototyping conserves time and resources prior to the commitment of effort to construct a final product.

In many hardware and software development projects, the first prototype product built is barely usable. It is usually too slow, too big, too awkward in use. Hence, the term throwaway prototype is generally applied to describe this early use of prototyping. Usually this is due to lack of understanding of user requirements. There is no alternative but to start again and build a redesigned version in which these problems are solved.

A developmental prototyping approach for incremental design of subsystems is often used to reduce the risk involved in building a system-level prototype. In this prototyping environment an incremental approach to rapid prototyping of subsystems development is used. This provides for management oversight of the entire process to assure that resource usage is effective and efficient. Product assurance is implemented throughout the process to make certain that the prototype operation contains the necessary components to satisfy subsystem requirements. Requirements analysis is performed and reviewed, then incremental specifications are developed and reviewed, followed by design of the approved specifications, and completed by implementation of the product. See Model theory, Software engineering, Systems engineering

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A model suitable for evaluation of design, performance, and production potential.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
References in periodicals archive ?
The use of virtual prototypes speeds design cycles and cuts costs because that "virtual" prototype is actually the real product design.
MDMs are eager for feasibility or proof-of-concept prototypes to facilitate quick turnarounds prior to investing in prototype development.
"The 5G NR prototype further demonstrates our leadership in developing a unified, more capable 5G air interface, building upon our long-standing expertise in delivering OFDM chips and technology with LTE and Wi-Fi," said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
In this environment, higher risk and more innovative prototypes are avidly pursued and honestly assessed, unlocking new insights that can lead to potentially game-changing solutions.
Since most of the product lifecycle costs are committed during the design and prototype phases, it behooves all parties to select the correct materials and processes prior to large scale production.
By showing the design to the prototype machinist--even before a physical prototype is made--the machinist has the insight to know if the in--house machines will have the capability to efficiently produce the parts or whether a certain feature make it difficult, costly or impossible to run through full production.
The mechanical properties, surface quality of prototypes and final cost with time of part building have been tested in comparison of both methods.
"It's natural to drive off the PTO side," Tim notes, "and with addition of the reduction housing to the rear end, the differential was set up to run that direction." The yellow-and-white color scheme is an exact duplicate of the original prototype.
(1) The motivation for creating the model was the high cost of prototype builds and the large number of wasted prototypes that were built but never used or that were built and used only to justify their high cost since they did not help in developing the new product.
From conception, prototype designs are meant to be repeated at several sites; a prototype school design must meet the generic requirements of typical educational programs and be able to adapt to different sites without substantial modifications." 'Prototype' is a term we use to define the reuse of a building type or building design," says Tom Hughes, principal at Raleigh, NC-based SFL+a Architects.
has used the desert environment here as a test bed for its latest prototype high-efficiency store.
Rapid prototyping and engineering applications; a toolbox for prototype development.