I have an idea for an "invention" that is related to wireless technology (involving cell phones). Need someone who can actually build a prototype. Can anyone suggest where I would go to find such a person?? Thanks
Welcome to the exciting world of invention and design!
Now with the platitudes out of the way, in order to start your search, the first thing you need to do is spend some money! I am sitting at my computer surrounded by electronics in various prototyping stages and I'm almost crying since I'm laughing by the though of the look on your face when the first piece of free advise I gave is for you to come off some of those dead presidents, but bear with me and my crazy sense of humor for a few paragraphs and I promise you'll learn something .
If you feel you really have a good idea (which we all do, or we wouldn't be moving forward now would we!) the first thing you must do with that money I told you to spend is get an attorney and hammer out a rock solid Non-Disclosure Agreement. This is to protect you as much as it can, but to be truly honest, the protection may be minimal.
Here is the rub: You need to find a Corporation/Company/Individual to design you widget that has to do with cellphones. So you need to tell them what you want so they can tell you if they can do it. Here is an example of how that conversation may go:
You: I need you to create something to do with cell phones. Can you do it?
Me: Uhh. What exactly do you want to do?
You: I will have a NDA sent to you ASAP, then we can discuss the details.
***(NDA signed and notarized in triplicate and a copy sent back to you, one for me and one for the road)
Me: Okay, what do you want to do?
You: I have an idea for a new TFT display technology to transmit holographic images into the sky using UV lasers.
Me: Sorry, I have to No Bid. Out of my realm of capability.
You: I have an idea for a new RFID cellphone payment system that is ultra secure that I'd like someone to develop.
Me: I see. We can do a preliminary investigation of the feasibility of the concept. We'll provide a written summary of our opinion of the viability of the idea with readily available technology for $4500.00 USD. If our results find the project is viable, we will produce a quote for the production of five (5) prototype units for $15,000.00 USD, which will be credited to your account should you decide to contract our services. A very rough estimate for the five prototypes is roughly $110,000.00 USD. This does not include any FCC, UL, CE certifications for production and sale in the United States. Other countries may have additional certification requirements other than those previously listed.
These are a few of the possibilities in a typical transaction. It cost money for product development, and it cost money just to determine if a product is viable. For your particular project (which all I know is it has to do with cellphones and maybe some RF technologies) you will need an electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, RF engineer just to really determine if what you want can be done.
Pay special attention to scenario B, because that may not be that far off the mark if you dealt with a design firm. Otherwise, you will be looking for someone retired that has the time to do it. I work a full time job, and I would pass on any job unless I can make $150/hr for my troubles. Any lower than that, and its not worth my time for all the work that would be required - for any project.
Can this be found in one person? Of course, I wear the electrical engineer, software/firmware engineer and mechanical engineer hats more often than not. Best bet is to find someone that has just finished up school, hasn't gotten married and bought a house yet or has kids, so they may be inclined to have a lower financial requirement. Remember, most electrical engineers with these skills are pulling $80K-$110K per year. That's around $50/hr. just for the day job, so it has to be worth their while after taxes just to deal with the headaches. Or your project may be so simple, that someone with an associate degree from Devry or ITT can do it.
Not to be a spoil sport, but I have to ask: If the end result of your prototype is not something you can sell yourself, then quit right now and put your energies to something that you can sell yourself? Do you actually think that HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG and all of the other players in the cellphone space will pay you one thin dime for the idea from an individual? Without the cooperation from the mobile producers infrastructure, no matter how great the prototype, it may never see the light of day.
Your only hope is to try to patent it (painful process, trust me I know) and then attempt to license that tech to the cellphone companies. But more likely than not, since you are a small player, they may just run all over you and your patent knowing that you would not have the resources to even fight the violations in court.
I hope this post did one of two things:
1. Helped you identify ways you can locate companies or indivduals that can produce your prototype.
2. Or saved you a lot of time, energy and most of all money by recommending you take that wonderful spirit of invention you have and direct it towards something that can make you some money, a little or a LOT.