Visionaries Need Help To See Products Come To Life

Most inventors are visionaries that have been inspired to create something they believe to be useful. Often the idea stems from a specific encounter where they saw or used a device that did not perform as effectively as the inventor thought it should. Sometimes the inspiration comes to this visionary through a colleague that describes a procedure, information system or tool that failed them.

The world needs great visionaries to help improve our lives but too often the idea stalls when tasked with bringing this vision to life. The field of medicine is filled with great thinkers and visionaries, but these same people tend to be very busy and find it difficult to move an inspiration for the next great wearable medical device along the path of product development.

Medical Device Development Requires More Than Inspiration

Most of the wearable medical devices that entered the marketplace in 2017 have spent several months to several years in the development pipeline. The question is where does the inventor begin? Our recommendation is to seek out the product development firms that have a proven track record of bringing other wearable technologies to market. There are skill sets that will be required along the way that the inventor or visionary just won’t have themselves.

More importantly is the new product development process needed for your device to succeed. For example, it does not make sense to meet with a mobile app development company before you have a physical design in place. Always start with a summary of the functionality you want for your device and share your ideas with a trusted product designer after there is a formal agreement that will protect your rights and ideas.

Mechanical, Electrical & Software Engineers Should Work in Synergy

The physical design and appearance of your device is very important to the end users and the marketability of your product. If a patient must wear the device, it needs to look and feel right. If a clinician will be using the device as a handheld unit, the design must be easy to use and conform to the environment it will be used in.

Once you have nailed down the mechanical design, an electrical engineer can work within the physical limitations of the device to layout how the electrical design. Often there will be sensor technology deployed in wearable medical devices. So the mechanical and electrical designers may need to make some adjustments to structure & materials for the components to function flawlessly together. Both disciplines can be very complex and it is rare that one individual shares these design skills.

Therefore the stakeholders should foster a collaboration and a project management team may be assigned to track progress, keep the client informed and oversee all parts of the medical device development process. Once the physical and electrical design phases are near complete, then we can start working with the software and app development teams.

Prototyping and Testing Helps Dictate Manufacturing Needs

If an entrepreneur was to hire individuals to tackle the above tasks, chances are you may invest months to identify the right players and several more months to get them to a point where they are producing. Outsourcing your engineering design services has become the norm for most visionaries seeking how to get your invention started. For the prototyping and testing phases alone, it makes sense to choose a partner that has access to 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies. This world of making functional prototypes has moved very fast and is allowing startups get to market much faster although the equipment and materials can be very costly. Testing will allow you to adjust your design and materials as you discover bugs you never anticipated.

Since actual manufacturing is often the most expensive piece of the puzzle, this engineering for manufacturing stage considers material costs, production methods, anticipated run sizes and delivery schedules. A fully functional prototype will also allow you to present your design to venture capitalists and investors. A manufacturer will need you to show them the money before they invest in materials.

As a medical product design firm in Pennsylvania, Definitive Design has seen the shift towards wearable technologies several years ago. We have partnered with Connected Device Group to bring together the skills you will need to all under one roof. A visionary simply can not do all that is required without the help of a solid team of design professionals.

How a Design Process Helps Inventors Succeed

You have an amazing idea for a new product that you know will be a hit, but you are not quite sure how to design it. This is where following a tried and true design process comes in. Following the design process that is common in the product design engineering field can help you to quickly move through the design phases so you can get your product from concept into production and into the hands of buyers faster. Here’s a look at this process.

Create a Design Brief

A design brief is like your blueprint. It explains what your product idea is, including how it is used and how it may look. It can give the new product development company you choose to work with all the information it needs to develop your idea and create the product you have been imagining in your head. It is essential to share every detail you can think of at this stage, so your product comes out closer to what you have envisioned. Any missing information may lead to re-designs and increased costs down the road.

Create the Specifications List

In addition to the brief, you want a list of the specification of the product. This will include three dimensional sizes, materials, potential colors, functionality and even packaging ideas. These details of the product will provide designers a good idea of what this product really should look like and how you anticipate it will be used.

Design the Product

At this point, you and your engineering design firm will begin the actual mechanical design of the product en-route to developing a 3D model or physical prototype of your product. In the hands of a experienced mechanical engineer with the help of the appropriate CAD software, you may start to discover all the intricacies of developing a new product and any physical limitations your original idea may encounter prior to production.Often there will be adjustments to size, materials and functionality done during this phase of development. This is where you will start to see your new product idea comes to life. The first prototype or 3D model is often generated weeks before any testing takes place and it is our experience that you will have to fine tune your design several times along the way. Be patient with the process.

Test the Product

This step is fairly self-explanatory. It involves testing the prototype you have designed to see if it functions as you imagined it would. It allows you to work out any flaws or issues and identify problems that may need fixed long before signing a production agreement with a vendor. Production costs and materials used in the production process need to be re-evaluated during this testing stage. There must be a return on your investment without sacrificing quality. Most buyers are looking for valuable solutions that solve problems rather than just another widget. So it is important your product is viewed as valuable. Consumer testing and focus groups may be part of this testing phase.

Finalize the Design

After testing, you can then work on the final design. Take a hard look at what you discovered during the testing phase and may the necessary adjustments to the final design that will help your product sell at a fair price, be deemed valuable, be sought after by future buyers and have the longevity to withstand future competition. This is going to be the messaging you present when trying to sell your product to investors or end users.

3D Printing a Final Prototype and Test Again

3D printing and additive manufacturing has come a very long way by 2018. Many of the machines being used for 3D printing today can be used to actually manufacture products on demand using synthetic materials that resemble all types of metals, plastics, stone and other mass produced structural products.

We recommend to many clients that have tapped us as their invention designer in PA to consider additive manufacturing when appropriate for the final prototype. This design process above leverages the best practices of product design engineering that a new product development company must follow when they are involved in the early design stages.

IoT Design Take Mobile Apps To A New Level

Smart technology takes home appliances to a whole new level. Smart products that rely on mobile apps for control are changing how consumers interact with products. Appliances that use smart technology have to be concerned about mobile application issues as well as a product’s design. Consumers judge connected appliances that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) by the quality of their mobile apps, not only by how well the product works. Here are some guidelines for IoT design for manufacturers:

Consider the Person Using the Product

Although you may consider the product’s hardware the center of gravity for use, the consumer looks at the mobile app as the product. The app has to be a focal point of design through the design process. You can’t design the mobile app as an afterthought. Instead, the IoT product design has to integrate user experience of the mobile app as part of the integrated, holistic design throughout the entire process.

Savvy consumers expect a lot out of their mobile apps. Smart product applications have to be easy to install, navigate and update. The aesthetics of the app must give the user a great experience, which means that as a manufacturer, you can’t cut corners on app development.

Investing in the Future

Today’s smart products will continue to add capabilities as the technology becomes available. When you code software for IoT apps, your company will need to anticipate functionality updates that consumers may demand in the future. It might be cheaper to use hybrid codes when developing the program, but custom, native coding may make your app design more flexible and easier to update when your developers are responsible for the coding.

Mobile App Testing

IoT apps must be tested for quality, simplicity, functionality and UX at several stages of the development process. There is a complex interplay between the device, the software, cloud applications and more. As a manufacture, you need to include in your project management several layers of testing. Many manufacturers underestimate the time testing phases takes and the time required for corrections to be completed. It is better to iron out as many design flaws as possible early in the development process

Create Minimum Viability for Data

Many manufacturers want to create the biggest and best mobile app experience, packing in as many new and exciting features that they can into the app. With IoT products, it’s better to aim basic product functionality primarily for the first release. Get to market quickly with the primary features, then collect data based on actual customer usage for future updates.

Although your product might be your “baby,” you can benefit from the expertise of an industrial design firm in PA to be onboard before you start doing any prototypes or application testing. A creative new product design engineer with some skills in IoT design for manufacturers and design for medical products can be invaluable in taking your smart appliance idea to the next level and make it work for consumers.

How IoT Devices Are Driving Manufacturers to Reinvent

Smart manufacturing can entail many different things combined into one. At the end of the day, companies need to develop devices and machines that allow them to implement new technologies that connect to the internet of things, share data with private servers and analyze this data for improved performance. This data capture and analysis allows businesses to grow and develop more effectively without having to halt production. For an industrial design firm, this tasks design engineers to develop new devices that leverage the Internet of Things for industrial machinery.

Companies often task an engineer to assist with developing new sensors and devices for manufacturing mechanisms. When choosing an engineer, he/she should be familiar with smart manufacturing.

Business Owners Are Recognizing the Importance of Data

The biggest advantage in which IoT devices help greatly is with the collection of data as a usable asset. Many different types of devices can be used to monitor manufacturing equipment, and as a business owner, you can use that data to improve various processes. IoT capabilities are now embedded in with manufacturing equipment, material handling equipment and robotics that are used everywhere today. Naturally, the executive team needs to know how to use this data in an advantageous manner. A designer of smart manufacturing equipment can work with business owners to customize solutions that work best for an organization.

This data can be used to improve processes, help develop solutions for workforce challenges, utilize production forecasting more effectively and even develop valuation reports for potential investors. The data serves as a diagnostic tool to determine where weak points are located. Automation that incorporated Big Data is a must have for companies to service in today’s economy and can show you where your company is heading in the near future.

Manufacturers Are More Aware of the Importance of Employees

Automation does not always lead to a replacement of jobs, just different skills required to do these jobs.Today companies are hiring IoT design engineers that specialize in manufacturing to build customized solutions. Equipment operators are tasked with programming equipment and work harmoniously with CAD/CAM technicians. Data analysis tools are part of the arsenal, but professionals need to make sense of the data and communicate information effectively with management. This this blending of IoT technology, manufacturing equipment and smart people are now part of the company culture today.

A smart manufacturing designer at an industrial design firm has become part of the fabric of many new product development companies. IoT devices are here to stay, so for a business to remain competitive and abreast of the competition, employers need to keep up. Whether your goal is to enhance efficiency, reduce expenses or increase sales, you are bound to benefit from the perks of smart manufacturing.

Industrial Design Leverages Emerging Technologies

31Small businesses are often full of bright ideas. Still, even when individuals at a small company develop a brilliant product idea, they frequently lack the knowledge, experience, and tools to handle the mechanical and electrical design to see that idea through to reality. Industrial design firms give smaller organizations access to the engineers they need to turn their product idea into a prototype and eventually into production.

Medical Device Design

As baby boomers age, many small businesses are looking for market share in the geriatric healthcare field. Getting a device from idea to the shelf generally requires hours of engineering development and testing. Small business owners generally don’t have access to the time or equipment to design, test, and build devices. Fortunately, by outsourcing these tasks to industrial design firms, small organizations are able to advance ideas to production.

Wearable Technology Development

Like medical devices, wearable technology is everywhere today. Of course, creating top-notch, wearable devices requires marrying mechanical and electrical design. Relying on the expertise and technological abilities of contract engineers, small business owners take advantage of opportunities before they disappear. With the right wearable technology designer on board, organizations of any size can compete in the crowded wearable device marketplace.

Protecting Proprietary Information

No small business owner wants to develop a winning idea only to have it stolen during the development stage. The best industrial design firms in Philadelphia not only rely on top talent and state of the art equipment, they are committed to protecting proprietary information. For entrepreneurs who have trade secrets, blueprints, and other confidential data, executing a privacy and non-disclosure agreement before contracting for device development is a good idea.

Planning for Growth

As the marketplace turns increasingly digital, small business owners must plan for growth. Getting a head start on medical device development and production can be difficult without access to the necessary equipment required to scale production as demand grows. By creating a business plan and relying on third-party design firms, small business leaders get ahead.

In the fast-paced market of medical equipment, wearable technology, and other modern devices, entrepreneurs must move quickly to develop products and reach customers. When you contract with a product development company in Philadelphia, small business owners don’t have to feel left out of the modern marketplace. Instead, they rely on the expertise, personnel, and equipment at a reliable industrial design firms to get the job done. With some effort to protect proprietary information and a plan for future growth, small business owners expand their business offerings when they rely on third-party wearable technology designers to turn their ideas into prototypes that drive sales.