In the technology sector, it is essential to determine a project’s technological development because, depending on its maturity level, we can attract the attention of various financiers, lenders, or even potential partners. To solve this problem, many innovation companies have decided to use the TRL levels of technological maturity used by NASA.
Do you want to know what they are? In this blog, we will talk about them and how you can apply them to your company.
What are the TRL levels of technological maturity?
The technological maturity scale is a measure promoted by NASA to describe the stage a technical project is at regarding scientific and market validation. It emerged in the early 70s precisely to determine how far a project was from being sent into space. Still, later it was implemented in other areas and countries, becoming the level of readiness of a product or service to be launched to the market.
Technological projects are often characterized by solving a technical or abstract problem that does not fit the public’s needs or is not readily marketable. Several countries readily adopted the TRL scale to prevent what they called “the valley of death,” a metaphor used to describe the funnel created after the scientific validation of a product and before its validation and market launch.
The TLR levels of technology validation are as follows:
TRL 1: basic principles observed and reported
The first TRL level is about basic research. Theoretically, experimental, or computational studies are conducted to explore scientific concepts and principles. For example, a scientist might be investigating how a cell in the human body functions.
TRL 2: Formulated technology concept and application
The second TRL level is applied research. Studies and experiments are conducted to develop technologies and ideas that can be used in practical settings. An example is an engineer who might be developing new battery technology for cell phones.
TRL 3: Proof of Concept
The third TRL level is the development of proofs-of-concept. Experiments are conducted, and prototypes are developed to assess the technical feasibility of a technology or concept. For example, a team of engineers might be building a prototype of new battery technology for cell phones.
TRL 4: Component Validation in Controlled Environments
The fourth TRL level is component validation in laboratory environments. Testing is performed in laboratory environments to validate component functionality and performance. An excellent example of this is a team of engineers who might be testing the ability of the new battery to charge and discharge power.
TRL 5: Component field validation
At this level, testing is performed in relevant environments to validate component performance under conditions similar to the intended use environment. For example, a team of engineers might be testing the new battery in a cell phone to see how it performs in a real-world setting.
TRL 6: Prototype demonstration in relevant environments
The sixth TRL level is about demonstrating the system in relevant environments. Tests are conducted in appropriate environments to verify the integrated operation of the system. For example, a team of engineers might be testing the new battery in a cell phone and demonstrating how it works in conjunction with other phone components.
TRL 7: Demonstration in the real environment
During this level, tests are performed in operational environments to demonstrate the system’s performance under real-world conditions. For example, we can think of a team of engineers who might be testing the new battery in a cell phone in different weather and usage conditions to see how it performs in everyday situations.
TRL 8: operating environment system
At the eighth TRL level, we validate the system in operational environments. Tests are conducted in working environments to validate the system’s performance in real-world conditions. For example, a team of engineers might be testing the new battery on many cell phones in different locations to ensure that it performs reliably and consistently.
TRL 9: Market Application
At the ninth TRL level, we implement the system in the market. The technology has been validated and is being used in operational environments. An example is the new battery technology for cell phones that is available for purchase in the market, and consumers are using cell phones with the new battery technology.
Remember, to apply the TRL levels to your company, the first thing you should do is evaluate the technology or project you are working on and determine where it is currently at. From there, you can set goals and objectives to advance to higher levels of technological maturity and generate better projections and investor interest.
Have you already applied this strategy in your company? Tell us more!