Prototyping with Fab

Prototyping our future

In a changing world, where new technologies are ubiquitous and increasingly sophisticated, where time scales are shrinking and certainties never last very long, having an idea is no longer enough to successfully complete a project.

Everyone has ideas, it's even the easiest part, but to succeed in transforming that idea into something tangible, we have to do it, and that's often where the first difficulties come in.

An excellent way to get from idea to realization is prototyping.

This course will allow you to dive into prototyping through different projects, providing you with professional resources and tools.

You can consult the syllabus for this course here

As Early Makers you have to be able to anticipate problems and adapt to all kinds of situations : in this course you’ll learn to use prototyping techniques to go quickly from a concept to a working prototype.

Prototyping is not new and all companies, before launching a new product on the market, make several prototypes (sometimes tens or even hundreds) in order to test various things such as feasibility, interface, size, weight, shape and even perception of the product.

The common point between the iPhone, the first MacDonald's restaurant, Uber, Decathlon's bikes and the Space X rocket? Prototyping has been one of the keys to their success today.

Anything can be prototyped: from a simple object to the organization of a company.
Source: Stewart MacDonald on YouTube

A prototype can take various forms, various degrees of advancement. We can prototype an object, an application, a website, a building, a service or even a game, but all prototypes perform the same function: validate or invalidate a hypothesis.

It is true that, at first sight, if we want to prototype a connected object for example, it seems essential to surround ourselves with engineers who have all the answers to our most advanced technical questions before starting.

However, if we want to call on a developer, a design office or even a UX designer, we need to know how to communicate with them and understand their problems. Moreover, it can be very expensive, lack flexibility, take time and above all take away our ability to make technical choices (which are clearly strategic for the success of our project).

Stop letting others do our project for us and start doing it ourselves!

Think with your hands!

The objective of this course is to learn how to prototype a product.

We can see your concern from here: "I'm not an engineer", "I'm not manual" or "I'm not very comfortable with new technologies".

Don't worry, this course, like all the others at the makers'lab, has been designed for beginners, with step-by-step guidance. With time and perseverance, we'll soon be amazed at what we've managed to accomplish!

Bicycle compass
Prototyping a bicycle compass.
Source: Map

Why this course in emlyon ?

It would be utopian to believe that a school can still teach you a profession.

Lots of jobs are disappearing or are currently being reinvented, and many new ones will be created in a near future. In 1984, a competency was valid for approximately 38 years. Today it’s approximately 5 years. In a constantly mutating labour market it is essential to learn how to become agile: at the makers’ lab we believe that the best way to do this is to make, unmake, and remake. That’s why we give you the opportunity to discover how to prototype, test, design and share a product quickly, by making it yourself.

Useful for all

Whatever career you choose when you leave the emlyon, this approach centered around design and rapid prototyping and these vocabulary bases will allow the projects you carry to stand out from the crowd, gain credibility and materialize (or not) faster than ever.

Liquid transfer machine prototype

Course theme

Being able to make a prototype is good. Being useful is better!

That's why we chose Emerging futures as the theme of the course. During the whole course we will have to work around the 17 themes proposed by the United Nations to Transform our World. 🌍

We will find all these themes here

Our program

The first two parts of the course are individual projects and research that will allow you to understand the basic concepts and techniques. The third part is a group project with a tutor.

Part 1: Basics (3 weeks)
In this part a bit of theory and a lot of practice! We will make a prototype of an object that responds to one of the themes proposed by the United Nations, of course we will have at our disposal all the resources to accompany us step by step! All we need to discover the basics of prototyping techniques and methodology in a concerted exercise.

Part 2: Explorations (1 week)
After discovering prototyping and making a "quick and dirty" prototype of a first object, we will acquire new knowledge by exploring the applications of digital manufacturing. To do so, we will identify and analyze an existing project that responds to a UN theme! This project will have to use at least one technique from one of these two fields: subtractive manufacturing or additive manufacturing. This individual part will allow us to collect information that will serve as a basis for the group project in the third part of the course.

Part 3: Group Project (4 weeks)
Now that we have all learned and practiced the techniques and methods of prototyping, it's time to pool our talents for a group work followed by a professional tutor for whom prototyping has no more secrets! This part is the pinnacle of our creativity since with the help of our group everything becomes possible and we will be able to take our prototype even further than we could have imagined. As a group, we will once again choose a UN theme and prototype further than we have ever done before.

You will be able to follow your progress throughout the course on the page Progress Overview
This page sums up all the work you have done, get into the habit of consulting it regularly.


This course has been designed so that you can progress at your own pace and independently, so all course content is accessible at any time from BrightSpace. This does not mean that you will not be accompanied throughout the course! The Prototyping with Fab team will always be there to answer any questions you may have and help you overcome any difficulties you may encounter.

Théophile Thomas

Théophile Thomas

Makers'lab of Écully (Ground floor of building C)

Tatiana Reinhard

Tatiana Reinhard

Makers'lab of Paris (4th floor)

Sacha Mallet

Sacha Mallet

Makers'lab of Saint-Étienne (Ground floor)

Non contractual photos


Makers' labs are accessible on each of the three French campuses: Paris, Saint-Étienne and Écully. The access hours, the conditions of use and the equipment are the same in the three makers' labs.

Opening Hours


From 1pm to 8pm


From 9am to 6pm


From 1pm to 8pm


From 9am to 6pm


From 9am to 6pm

Where do I start?

Before we begin the first part of the course we have to make sure that we respect a few rules.

You're awesome