I purchased an Apple Watch six months in the past. This was no informal buy. As an Apple fan, a watch collector and with greater than 20 years of expertise within the design innovation house, I had extraordinarily excessive expectations of the acquisition. While I have loved the fashionable Apple Watch’s options and capabilities, I have sometimes felt pissed off with the general expertise, for 2, admittedly private, causes.
First, the Apple Watch gained’t constantly monitor my coronary heart price. Because of a historical past of coronary heart illness in my household, I hold a detailed eye on my well being. Tracking my coronary heart price over the course of days and weeks would supply me with helpful longitudinal knowledge. The Apple Watch is designed to measure a person’s coronary heart charge each time the Workout App is launched, however in any other case received’t file it when one strikes, which is strictly when I wish to measure it (I notice this protects battery life, however I’d be comfortable to recharge all through the day to have this performance).
Second, it’s laborious to suit the Apple Watch into my aesthetic life. As a man who has collected watches for greater than 20 years, I was disillusioned that carrying my Apple Watch meant not sporting my different timepieces. I’ve tried to put on each the Apple Watch and a watch from my assortment concurrently, one on every wrist, but it surely was uncomfortable…and I felt like a tech nerd (no offense to tech nerds — I am one, however generally I attempt to conceal it).
So I noticed this as an attention-grabbing design problem, just like the sort I steadily face in my day-to-day work. This time, nevertheless, I was each the designer and the buyer. Could I discover a strategy to put on the Apple Watch day by day, collect steady coronary heart charge info and nonetheless put on my different watches? I’ve had vital expertise designing each medical gadgets and client merchandise, so I hoped to make use of this information in creating my answer.
My first thought: The physique of the Apple Watch will be separated from its band. That may be the kernel of an answer. This watch physique “engine” module may probably be relocated on the physique with out using the watchbands.
Next got here a 4-step design course of:
Step B: Determine if the Apple Watch’s coronary heart fee monitor would work when worn on different elements of the physique. I created a collection of fast hack fashions to see what would occur if I wore the watch on my ankle, shoulder, forearm and stomach whereas working. The Apple Watch efficiently monitored my coronary heart fee when worn on my ankle, shoulder and forearm — however not my stomach. This is probably going as a result of Apple’s photoplethysmography course of depends on studying the move of blood, and there may be inadequate “seen” blood stream across the stomach.
Consumers have distinctive wants and firms ought to assist and encourage customization within the services and products they create.
Step P: Figure out the place on my physique to put on the watch engine. I rapidly noticed that there weren’t many choices…particularly as a result of I needed to have the ability to view the watch display screen always. My ankle and shoulder had inherent visibility — and display-entry challenges. I settled on my higher forearm. In this location, I may put on the watch engine discretely, beneath a protracted-sleeved shirt. It could be invisible with sleeves rolled down, but accessible when wanted.
Step A: Devise a course of for attaching the Apple Watch to the forearm. There was no straightforward method to connect it to my forearm. The Apple Watch bands weren’t lengthy sufficient to encircle the forearm, and even when they had been, the display screen was improperly oriented for viewing. This meant that the Apple Watch band connection factors most likely couldn’t be used to carry it to the forearm.
Step F: Prototype. Knowing that the Apple Watch physique module would successfully learn my coronary heart fee on my forearm, I started creating wearable prototypes that may maintain the watch to my forearm. In the tip, I constructed 4 prototypes.
First prototype: clear patch
A pores and skin-secure clear adhesive leveraged from medical merchandise (Tegaderm) covers the watch physique. The benefits are that it’s simple to use and it holds properly to the arm. The disadvantages are that the adhesive appears creepy on the pores and skin and the Apple Watch display screen is a bit exhausting to see via the adhesive.
Second prototype: body and band
The watch physique is held underneath clear movie pocket in a plastic body and a versatile cloth strap is added to safe the watch physique to the forearm. The strap labored effectively and the watch physique can simply be inserted and eliminated, but it surely appears over-designed and ponderous on the arm.
Third prototype: case and band
A clear watch physique case is hooked up to a versatile strap (introduced ahead from the second prototype). The Apple Watch snaps into the case and it holds the watch physique within the correct orientation. This offers a extra conventional look — like a smartphone-holding train strap — and it’s comfy and straightforward/fast to placed on and take off. However, this configuration limits use to solely the forearm (and perhaps ankle); ideally I’d like an answer I may put on on different components of my physique.
Fourth prototype: adhesive patch
A clear watch physique case is connected to a versatile cloth patch. A medical pores and skin-secure adhesive (from the primary prototype) is utilized to the underside of the patch. The watch physique snaps into the clear case. The benefits are that it’s straightforward to use, holds effectively to the arm and can be utilized in a number of places on the physique. There aren’t any disadvantages.
Working within the design business, we usually do what we name Resonance Testing: giving our prototypes to customers to grasp which goal attributes resonate with them. This testing course of isn’t about discovering a statistical winner. Rather, it focuses on idea evolution — carrying ahead solely probably the most profitable features of every thought. Although this check of the Apple Watch engine was an N of M, I adopted the same method, evolving every idea and brining one of the best attributes to the next ideas.
In the top, the fourth prototype, the Apple Patch, most successfully match my life. What was it in regards to the Apple Patch?
The watch physique, which was held in place by a transparent plastic case connected to a pores and skin-protected adhesive patch, allowed me to put on it unobtrusively whereas additionally carrying one in every of my favourite watches from my assortment. It additionally allowed the pliability to put on it in numerous places on my physique. The patch is also personalized with varied colours and patterns. So this redesign allowed the Apple Watch to repeatedly feed me details about my coronary heart fee, simply as I desired. In truth, I’m rolling up my sleeve and looking out down at my Apple Watch as I sort this, and may report that my coronary heart price is fifty eight.
The Apple Watch hack supplied two good classes:
Prototype to be taught. Although experiential prototyping and testing is core to any designer’s strategy, I was excited by how rapidly I was in a position to evolve and enhance the design by creating casual testing fashions. It made me additional recognize the significance of this agile-like strategy to innovation and failing ahead quick.
Every innovation may be personalized and improved. Consumers have distinctive wants and firms ought to help and encourage customization within the services they create. As the maker motion and at-house 3D printing grows, it is going to be much more necessary to empower shoppers to be a part of the design and innovation course of.