Birkeland Current describes a phase 1 development project as one that takes a technological application from Technology Readiness Level 1 or 2 (Basic Principles, Concepts and Applications formulated) thru Technology Readiness Level 3 or 4 (Analytical and/or experimental integrated function proof of concept in a laboratory setting). Mockups in this phase typically utilize representative systems or components that are readily available and rapidly modified.
In addition, a phase 1 project includes a preliminary assessment of target markets, competing technologies and companies, and a development roadmap that includes schedule and cost estimates.
This phase should last no more than 1 year and more typically is 6 months or less. The end result is a demonstrated feasibility for a particular technological application along with a preliminary business model and concept of operations for future development.
Investment in this phase of a project represents a small fraction of the product development cost while providing a significant reduction in both technological and programmatic risks. The completion of a phase 1 project provides tangible evidence for investor decisions, patent protections, and expanded application exploration.