We worked through the full product design cycle with an entrepreneur looking to make an entrance into the lighting industry with a quality product and minimalist aesthetic.
We started the project by looking at current products and creating sketches for different direction for the form and product architecture. We discovered a market opportunity for a compact, elegant battery powered lamp. Using our competitive analysis, we started formulating the target product specifications.
To get an intuitive sense for the different shape configurations we were considering, we created sets of simple 3D printed prototypes that could be modularly configured. This allowed us to quickly evaluate the physical experience of different sizes shapes by interacting with them and using them on various tables in real-world contexts.
Working in parallel to the 3D sketch models, we explored more refined form directions with 3D CAD and photorealistic renderings. We explored materiality, textures and finishes, proportions and precise geometric details.
We created a series of modular prototypes that explored different lighting component configuration and assembly options to work out how to achieve the lighting aesthetic that we were looking for. Using our in-house rapid prototyping capabilities, we created functional PCBs and high-quality cosmetic components that allowed us to evaluate the lighting aesthetic qualities of the different options.
Using Excel, we modeled the electronics system to help ensure that we could hit our target product specifications such as the battery life, power efficiency and lumen output. This model allowed us to determine values for the system components and make predictions about the system behavior.
An electronics schematic was created to determine all of the electronics components needed and how they needed to be wired. We designed the electronics to achieve the aesthetic and user-experience direction we determined earlier in the development process. To ensure we had a quality product, we built-in safety and reliability features such as ESD protection, reverse polarity protection, temperature and battery voltage sensing. We devised a high-efficiency system design to optimize battery use.
We translated the electrical schematic into a production-ready PCB assembly. This process required considering mechanical requirements such as PCB size and shape, key component placement and thermal dissipation, as well as electrical and assembly requirements. Suitable electronic components were sourced and functional PCBA prototypes were built and tested.
Once we had functioning PCBs, we integrated firmware to give the lamp behavior and functionality. A low-cost, low-power microcontroller was utilized to monitor the capacitive touch user inputs, PCB temperature, battery voltage and charging status. Using firmware, we also explored different user interaction options for how the lamp changes brightness and displays information to the user about the battery level and charging status.
We used 3D modeling software to design the full product assembly. We created parts with manufacturability and assembly in-mind. We choose production materials and processes. To ensure product quality, we considered the strength of the components, water resistance, manufacturing tolerances, center-of-mass and thermal dissipation. We used the CAD documentation to acquire production quotes from manufacturers and to create a high-fidelity prototype.
To fully validate the final product design, we created a high-fidelity, functional prototype. We utilized CNC milling, 3D printing, silicone casting and PCB fabrication to create the prototype.