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Inventors FAQ

Or how to develop a prototype with LastBasic

Our platform is built around the collaborative economy, this gives you the opportunity to find the best designers or engineers around the world, with the best ideas and solutions to create your invention/prototype.

Our ambition is to make LastBasic as affordable as possible for inventors and companies of all sizes, so that we can ensure democratization in prototyping to all people.

But we also make great prototyping possible thanks to our community of experts, curated and validated by our team.

Almost a thousand validated inventions in 2022 prove that our concept is sustainable and valid.

Sharing economy, or collaborative economy (aka collaborative consumption), refers to systems of resource circulation that allow for a bilateral consumer role, in which consumers can act as providers or recipients of resources.

Sharing economy as a phenomenon is a class of economic arrangements in which participants mutualize access to products or services, in addition to finding original forms of individual ownership. The phenomenon arises from the growing desire of consumers to control their consumption rather than being "passive victims" of hyper-consumption.

For us, this means that inventors and companies with great ideas can access prototyping of their invention at a cost 80% lower than other traditional solutions.

Yes, we have an NDA agreement available for all inventors to sign if necessary. In addition, all our experts must sign an NDA to participate in the platform's contests. This way, we guarantee the privacy of the inventors' ideas at all times.

Once you register, you receive an email with the NDA. If you wish to sign it before, contact our sales department. All ideas, as well as any improvements that arise during the creation of the project, remain the property of the inventor.

Our platform is open to all kinds of invention ideas that meet some simple rules.

We do consumer products; devices that may be found in your home, office or a public place. We like to work with products that fit in the sport and fitness category, crypto, NFT, wellness, children's safety, home security and image & sound, among others.

    • We typically prototype small to medium-sized devices that fit in an average size of 40 × 40 cm (16 × 16 inches).
    • We turn ideas into prototypes that have mechanical and/or electronic components.
    • We like creating prototypes that can be connected or fit into the Internet of things - IoT- category.
    • We also create the firmware for the prototype, we assemble it, test it and deliver it to your doorstep.

In short, we create prototypes of technological products but they can also be purely mechanical.

There are certain types of prototypes that we don't do, either because they do not fit into the device category or because of their complexity and size.

    • We do not prototype clothing or footwear, although we can do the electronic part if they have one.
    • We do not prototype devices that involve chemical reactions, shoot or fly.
    • We do not prototype motor vehicles, such as cars or motorcycles.
    • We do not prototype software, beyond the basic firmware that the device uses.
    • We do not prototype beauty products, such as creams or body oils.
    • We do not prototype medical devices that require official certifications.

If you have any doubts about the suitability or not of your device idea, please contact our sales department.

Prototyping is a process that requires multi-person teams to manage the defining, designing, and fabricating of your idea to make it a reality. Setting your expectations at the beginning of the LastBasic process will result in a more successful project. Your expectations will then be converted into defined requirements for the prototype which will be used by our experts to follow throughout the development process.

Prototyping is also a learning and testing process, so there will always be unknowns and some risks. LastBasic's goal is to help educate you on this process and get you as close to your minimum viable product - MVP - vision for your prototype as possible, with the help of our experts providing you with realistic proposals that will define your future product direction.

Before starting your project consider your own expectations for prototyping.

1. What do you want to achieve by making your prototype?

2. Who do you want to show the prototype to?

3. What are your priorities?

Answer these questions as clearly as you can in the onboarding process and those requirements will be maintained throughout the process. The LastBasic platform will ask you more detailed questions as you work through each contest, and these inputs will be used to communicate with the experts designing and developing your project.

Prototyping time will always depend on the scope and complexity of your project. The more parts your project has, the longer the development and manufacturing time. This is a reality that you must take into account when adding features to your project. Additional features will require additional time to integrate the new ideas into your original idea, so be sure to prioritize what is most important to you.

Our Sketch, 3D Design, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering contests normally have a set duration (10 days) once you have confirmed the requirements through our contest card process (also called CCard). Once the winner is chosen, they have 7 days to finalize the design files and make any minor revisions to the work based on your feedback.

Prototyping your final design can take more or less time, depending on whether electronics need to be integrated into the device. The prototyping process, which includes budgeting, fabrication, finishing, assembly and testing, typically takes 5 to 6 weeks.

Follow these steps:

    1. Review the briefing of your project idea or invention and confirm the information is correct as the experts will view this on their side of the platform as their starting point.
    2. Upload and confirm additional material to the section Raw material. Additional materials can be images, screenshots of similar products, and PDFs of your idea. There are no limits on the number of files. So if you want to summarize your idea in a .pdf file and submit it, feel free. All information is welcome to help us and our experts define the vision for your idea.
    3. Answer the setup questions we have set for each phase as clearly as possible.
    4. Confirm that you are ready to start.

Once we receive your confirmation and have a clear definition of your invention, we will convert your information into a one-page document named Contest Card (or CCard). This contest card will be confirmed by you and then sent to our expert community to start the design process.

Is there a refund policy?

Yes, we always guarantee your money back. However, this policy is only valid during the Sketching phase, where if you don't like any of the designs and decide you don't want to continue, we will refund your money in full.

Otherwise, if you select one of the designs and move on to the next phase, we will understand that you want to go ahead with your prototype and no refund will be possible.

What currency do I pay in?

All payments are made in euros (EUR). When you make the payment you will see that the currency is in euros (EUR) because our headquarters is in Europe, but when you activate our secure payment gateway with Stripe, it will automatically convert the value to your local currency. 

Is my payment secure?

Yes, your payment is secure. All payments are made through the payment gateway of our partner Stripe, which provides extra third-party security to our users.

Stripe's platform enables individuals and businesses to receive payments online. It provides the technical, fraud prevention and banking infrastructure necessary to operate secure online payment systems.

I want to make the payment, what should I do?

It is very simple. You just have to click on the link that we have sent you by email or on the platform and follow the steps that the payment gateway will indicate.

Do I have to pay by credit card or by bank transfer?

At LastBasic we accept payment in both ways: by credit card or by bank transfer. You can select the method that suits you best when proceeding with the payment.

Time to deliver

Please note that credit card payments are immediate while bank transfer payments will take a couple of business days. Once we confirm your payment, your onboarding and prototyping process will begin.

If you need more information, please contact our sales department.

A CCard is a one-page document that summarizes all the requirements for the respective contest phase. This document acts as a contract between both parties as to what the agreed objectives are once LastBasic drafts it and the client confirms it.

We collect the necessary information for defining the bullet points via different sources as it is the briefing for the earlier phases of the setup questions that you're answering before we start the phase.

In case we need to clarify some aspect that is not well understood by our engineering team, we'll require additional information via chat or email in case we need to reach out directly.

With all this content, we define the requirements for your project in the corresponding phase.

Take into account that each phase requires different types of specifications. For example, the Sketch phase will include only the look, feel, and intended user experience aspects of your project. We can't define the finish or the final materials in this phase. It will belong to the Prototyping phase. That's why is important for you to understand what is included in each phase (read the section on "What to check in each phase?").

The CCard must be confirmed by you once you receive the notification. If, after reading the CCard, you are not satisfied with any of the information it contains (images or text), please reject the CCard and write the reasons very clearly.

Our operations team will receive your request and update you for further review. In case your requests are not technically feasible or reasonable, we will explain the reasons and agree on the best option to meet your needs and objectives for your project.

Once the CCard is approved by you, the notification will be triggered for our community of experts who will receive an alert of a new open contest they can join.

Now it's time to wait for them to work on their proposals for you. Be patient and visit the platform regularly to see their proposals. Check the deadlines to be aware of when their contest starts and ends.

Some experts, submit their proposals when they are ready and don't wait until the last day, so our platform is prepared to send you the notification when any proposal is ready to be reviewed, receive feedback and be scored - don't worry, we will send you an email every time they upload one or through browser notifications.

You will be able to select the winner when these 3 conditions are met:

1. The deadline has passed.

2. Comment on all entries received.

3. Evaluate all submissions received.

To learn more, read the faq section "How to score the proposals?".

Ranking proposals is the way to provide feedback to our community of experts and decide which proposal is the best solution for your design vision. This is an important feedback step that will drive the development of your design and turn your idea into a reality.

Review each proposal individually and give feedback to each proposal. Check the requirements we have agreed on the contest card you confirmed at the beginning of the phase.

You can print the proposal and take notes or discuss it with your team, friends or family. You can view at any time other proposals to compare them until the deadline.

It is necessary to rate each proposal between 1 and 5 stars depending on your satisfaction, also you have to leave a written feedback on the platform about all the proposals received in a mandatory way.

Therefore your ratings and comments are mandatory to close the contest, and you can only give 5 stars to ONE of the proposals.

Once you have given your opinion and rated all the proposals received, and the deadline is over, you will be able to select the winner of the phase.

Keep in mind the "What should I check at each phase?" section as you consider your rating for the expert.

Sometimes, reviewing electrical proposals can be difficult if they are too technical. That's why here are some points to pay attention to in order to select the best candidate:

1. The simpler, the better: If the proposal is simple, to the point and meets expectations, you can know that the candidate has perfectly understood your idea. In addition, a simple prototype will save you a lot of expense when you make the big leap to market.

2. How do users interact with components? Does the prototype have the buttons you expected? The lights you need? The switches you want? etc. Sometimes engineers forget about the user, so this point is critical when validating a proposal.

3. Communication is essential: How does the electronics communicate with the outside? Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, wiring, etc. It is critical that the connectivity of the prototype suits your needs.

4. Electronics also need power: How will the proposed electronics be powered: will it use batteries or a USB connection? This point is fundamental to know if the candidate has understood the philosophy of his prototype.

5. Details make the difference: Sometimes a solid prototype is not convincing because of its details: Too bright a screen? Too low resolution? Too bright lights? USB-B connection? (That's something for the past!). Pay attention to these details, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Remember that at LastBasic we are by your side during the whole process of creating your prototype, so that no doubt is left unresolved before choosing the candidate that will make your idea a reality.

If you want a reminder of what to check at each phase, read "What should I check at each phase?"

The Prototyping phase (PR) is the last step in the process of turning your idea into a device. It is the time when all design files created by LastBasic experts are reviewed by our network of prototype providers.

The prototype providers provide the customer with an RfQ (Request for Quotation). This is a document that describes how the supplier will manufacture the custom parts for your device and what material and process will be best for your prototyping priorities and goals.

The PR phase includes sourcing and manufacturing the mechanical components, electrical components and firmware programming required to bring your idea to life. Typically, the prototyping vendor will provide you with a quote for the mechanical components only, and the electrical experts will source and manufacture the electrical components and perform the firmware programming. Don't worry, we will notify you as each step of the process is completed until final assembly and testing of the device.

When you receive an RfQ proposal for the PR phase, your role as the customer is to find out how much it costs to prototype your design and how long the various processes will take. The cost of the prototype is already included in the initial payment from LastBasic, but it is still important to find out the cost from rapid prototyping suppliers to manufacture each component of your device. The prices listed by the suppliers in this document represent the components for a single unit of your prototype. If you want more than one prototype, the production costs will differ depending on the desired volume.

Mass production is a follow-on process that we may be open to discuss with you once we deliver the first prototype, you have time to test it, and you want to move forward with your project with our help.

To provide useful feedback to suppliers, please comment on the price and schedule, the completeness of the proposal, and how clear the proposal is to you. These comments will help our suppliers communicate and tailor their proposals to your actual needs.

Depending on the complexity of your device, the timing of the prototyping phase may vary (read the What to expect from a prototype? faq section for more information). Again, don't worry, LastBasic will keep you informed of the progress of these milestones.

1. Designs are approved for manufacturing.

2. Electronic manufacturing completed.

3. Mechanical fabrication completed.

4. Firmware development completed.

5. Final assembly completed.

6. Final testing completed.

7. Shipment has been arranged.

Sketch (SK)

The SK contest is the first and most basic of the phases and serves to help you visualize your prototype or invention idea, with all features clearly defined and desired and how the user will interact with it (the ideal user experience). Proposals should combine your original vision with the expert's perspective on how best to develop your device taking into account the technical limitations of your design choices.

Top 3 questions to consider:

    1. Do the proposals address the potential user and how you want them to interact with your prototype?
    2. Do the proposals achieve the desired look and feel of your design?
    3. Do the experts understand your design vision and have they included all your must-have features?

Electrical Engineering (EE)

The intent of the EE contest is to clearly define the system architecture of the device, including how it will produce and maintain the required product user experience: the goal is to provide you with a clear proposal for the electronics needed to achieve the desired user experience.

Top 3 questions to consider:

    1. Do the proposals meet your technical requirements in terms of device communication, user experience interfaces and device power consumption?
    2. Do the proposals achieve the desired look and feel of your winning design?
    3. Do the experts understand your design vision and have they included all your must-have features?

3D Design (3D)

The intent of the 3D contest is to convert the vision of the winning sketch into a realistic 3D model and include the appropriate size and spacing for the necessary electronics provided by the winning electrical engineering contest proposal to achieve the desired user experience. The goal of the 3D contest is to provide a realistic image of what your prototype will look like.

Top 3 questions to consider:

    1. Do the proposals meet your technical requirements in terms of how the user interacts with your prototype?
    2. Do the proposals clearly achieve and communicate the desired size and finish of your prototype vision?
    3. Do the experts understand your design vision and have they included all of your must-have features?

Mechanical Engineering (ME)

The intent of the ME competition is to provide you with a final proposal on how the winning EE and 3D designs proposals will be integrated into a functional device.The goal of the competition is to perform the detailed engineering work to achieve the design intent, including communicating what your material and finish will be for prototyping, and any additional design updates needed to make the design fully functional.

Top 3 questions to consider:

    1. Do the proposals allow you to see how many parts are needed to achieve your design intent?
    2. Do the proposals clearly communicate the color, material, and final finish for the fabrication of your prototype?
    3. Do the proposals maintain the desired feature set that was defined and refined in previous development phases?

Prototyping (PR)

The intent of the PR contest is to provide you with a clear RfQ (Request for Quotation) proposal on how the completed prototype will be sourced, manufactured and assembled. The objective of the competition is to deliver to you a final prototype that meets your requirements and the quality levels defined throughout the development process.

Top 3 questions to consider:

    1. Do you know the level of complexity to produce a unit of your prototype?
    2. What shipping address would you like the LastBasic team to send your prototype to?
    3. Do you have a plan for how you will test your prototype when you receive it at home?

What happens when I have created my prototype? What can I do with it?

When you've finished your prototype, it's a good time to validate the idea with your potential customers. Take your prototype to those you hope to sell it to in the future and ask them a few customer discovery questions…

Here are a few to keep in mind:

1. Does my prototype achieve the user experience I envisioned?

2. How can it be improved or simplified?

3. Does my prototype delight my customers the way I intended?

4. How can I make it more enjoyable or useful?

5. What features are unnecessary?

6. Are there any problems I noticed in my prototype that are worth fixing in future iterations?

7. Does my prototype help me make a decision about how to move forward with my idea and what I should do next?

What do I do after I test my prototype?

Now that you've tested your prototype, it's a good time to consider how you want to proceed in bringing your idea to market.

There are many avenues you can take once you have a validated prototype, and that prototype will come in handy in the many conversations you may be thinking about having with potential customers, investors or collaborators on your idea.

Consider your options:

1. Test, Iterate, Refine: Are there new features you see a need to include in your idea that you hadn't considered before?  Perhaps now is a good time to create a second iteration of your prototype that addresses those new findings.

2. Present, Market, Sell: Do you feel confident that your new prototype allows you to tell the value of your idea to outsiders?  If so, consider taking your prototype to interested parties and presenting your idea to them, and consider the next level of investment you may need to bring your prototype to market.

3. Refine, Detail, Deploy: Do you believe your prototype is complete and that the remaining problems you observed in your testing are easily fixable?  Consider taking your design one step further and detailing your prototype design into a pre-production design. Refinement will include a design-for-manufacturing round that will ensure your prototype design is close enough to production that a production supplier can provide you with a quote for your product.

4. Invest, Test, Build: Is your prototype design ready to be quoted by a production supplier? Do you need help finding the right partner for your project?  Think about your ideal logistics and supply chain - what makes sense for your business?

The LastBasic team can address all four of these options. We are here to help you progress your idea and turn your prototype vision into a reality. And remember that at LastBasic we only commit to creating a single unit of your prototype called an MVP.

So if you are interested in taking your project further, need more units or a second or third iteration, just let us know. Please contact our sales team for information on any of the following issues.

Deliverables are the files that we automatically request from the winning expert of each phase, once you, as the client, have been previously selected as the winner on the platform (see the FAQ section How to score proposals? for more information). We also call them shared files, as this content is the starting resource for the other experts to use in the subsequent phases.

There are different deliverables depending on each contest.

1. Sketch phase (SK): We ask experts to upload to the platform the high quality images in .png and .jpg format that make up their final concept design.

2. Electrical Engineering phase (EE): We ask experts to upload device schematics, electrical bill of materials or BOM, circuit design, firmware control guide, critical component datasheets and 2D/3D PCB files in a zip folder to the platform.

3. 3D Design phase (3D): We ask the experts to upload to the platform the 3D CAD files in STEP (Standard for the exchange of product model data) format of the entire design and the parts included in the design to serve as a basis for the engineering phases.

4. Mechanical Engineering phase (ME): We ask experts to upload the necessary release files to the platform for final prototyping. This includes an updated bill of materials, the standard operating procedure or assembly instructions - SOP -, color/materials/finish document or CMF, and the final views and CAD files in STEP format.

5. Prototyping phase (PR): These files are special, because the suppliers need a request for quotation (RfQ) for the final prototyping agreement. An invoice is sent with the quotation and we have to approve it. In addition, they have to send the following files: photos of the finished parts, a prototype user guide and a completed build document, all in a zip folder on the platform ready to download as in the previous cases.

You have access to all this downloadable content in the area called "All files" in the top menu of your project page. You can find the files for each phase: competition form, winning proposal, and the corresponding deliverables mentioned above.

These files are yours, so you can view them whenever you want during the different completed processes, download them and save them on your own computer.