TORONTO WEARABLES MEETUP 26: ERIC BOYD AND ALEX HAAGAARD
Friday August 19th, 2016

Eric Boyd discussed with us his process of prototyping his Northpaw wearable haptic compass that is now available in readymade kits onThinkGeek.com.   In order to get the product ready to sell he needed to have the boards printed and assembled in China, along with material pieces that construct the wearable ankle band. 

In order to ensure his product was being made to specifications, Eric took several trips to China to meet the people making his product and develop a relationship of trust.  Before settling on a manufacturer, he toured several different factories.  He followed advice fromQualityInspection.org, a blog that helps small companies source stuff in China.  They recommend that you work with a company the same size as your own.  If a company is much bigger than yours, they may treat you poorly or as an insignificant customer.

The process of having the kits manufactured involved a lot of pre-production samples being sent back and forth.  He was easily able to spot errors along the way: there were problems with the battery connector, shrink tubing, enclosure holes, etc.  Eric learned that this process of sampling was super important to the process of manufacturing and that problems that are obvious to you may not be obvious to the manufacturer.  Eric’s message: You need to care about the production of your product.  You need to work closely with manufacturers in China.  You need to close that loop!

Alex recently completed her Masters thesis on a user-centric design approach to medical identification jewellery. To date she feels she has only addressed one facet of a larger design project.  She began with improving the design aesthetics of the jewellery itself, but discovered that there was a more pressing issue: paramedics sometimes wouldn't bother to check someone’s bracelet.  She learned that paramedics themselves say that they rarely check them or even notice them.  

She thought about how to display urgent information on the body in a way that paramedics could notice it.  Necklaces, she felt, could be readily accessibly and easily noticed because often paramedics need to open the shirt for things like EKG.  Through a focus group she found that people (wearers) wanted colour to their jewellery, and paramedics wanted something very clear and distinct, that doesn't involve time-consuming activities like scanning QR codes (they use super old phones anyway), or anything that could risk patient confidentiality (like RFID information stored on a wearable device, which could be a risk for data theft or misuse.

She found that there were many technological considerations to be made, and so settled on an analog information solution of wearable necklaces and bracelets with colour and bold icons to provide easy to understand information about the wearer’s condition.



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Eric Boyd discussed with us his process of prototyping his Northpaw wearable haptic compass that is now available in readymade kits onThinkGeek.com.   In order to get the product ready to sell he needed to have the boards printed and assembled in China, along with material pieces that construct the wearable ankle band. 

In order to ensure his product was being made to specifications, Eric took several trips to China to meet the people making his product and develop a relationship of trust.  Before settling on a manufacturer, he toured several different factories.  He followed advice fromQualityInspection.org, a blog that helps small companies source stuff in China.  They recommend that you work with a company the same size as your own.  If a company is much bigger than yours, they may treat you poorly or as an insignificant customer.

The process of having the kits manufactured involved a lot of pre-production samples being sent back and forth.  He was easily able to spot errors along the way: there were problems with the battery connector, shrink tubing, enclosure holes, etc.  Eric learned that this process of sampling was super important to the process of manufacturing and that problems that are obvious to you may not be obvious to the manufacturer.  Eric’s message: You need to care about the production of your product.  You need to work closely with manufacturers in China.  You need to close that loop!

Alex recently completed her Masters thesis on a user-centric design approach to medical identification jewellery. To date she feels she has only addressed one facet of a larger design project.  She began with improving the design aesthetics of the jewellery itself, but discovered that there was a more pressing issue: paramedics sometimes wouldn't bother to check someone’s bracelet.  She learned that paramedics themselves say that they rarely check them or even notice them.  

She thought about how to display urgent information on the body in a way that paramedics could notice it.  Necklaces, she felt, could be readily accessibly and easily noticed because often paramedics need to open the shirt for things like EKG.  Through a focus group she found that people (wearers) wanted colour to their jewellery, and paramedics wanted something very clear and distinct, that doesn't involve time-consuming activities like scanning QR codes (they use super old phones anyway), or anything that could risk patient confidentiality (like RFID information stored on a wearable device, which could be a risk for data theft or misuse.

She found that there were many technological considerations to be made, and so settled on an analog information solution of wearable necklaces and bracelets with colour and bold icons to provide easy to understand information about the wearer’s condition.