I was tasked with skinning existing electronics and technology into an ergonomic and friendly product. The look and feel of this device needed be inviting and comfortable as it was to be used by a mother [and father] to intimately listen in on her unborn child.
The product was brought to our industrial design department in a form that was too large and cumbersome for a pleasant user-experience but too small to fit the existing PCB & components.
Step by step our designer pushed and pulled the previously proposed bell-shape and sculpted this smaller, friendly and playful form. Sometimes the simplest looking forms are quite complex. The contours now fit nicely in the palm of a small hand, the user interaction points are apparent, convenient and clear. The status light emits a soothing diffused glow through the enclosure materials which coincides with the app color indicators.
I also proposed the frustration-free battery door kinematics and part-count reduction geometry which our engineering team expertly executed. Engineering for Hatch Baby Listen involved taking an A-surface file produced by industrial design and adding the necessary ribs, bosses, and snaps to incorporate the existing components including the precise Doppler emitter and receiver geometry.
To keep assembly costs down the unit is held together with 6 snaps and secured with a single screw, this allows for rapid assembly while maintaining sufficient strength for a handheld product.
Another cost saving measure was the light transmission portion of the top cover, similar units utilized a clear light pipe to transmit status lights from the PCB to the top of the unit, which is effective but adds tool and assembly costs as well as a visual impact. For Listen a more simple solution using a circular boss and thin section molded into the top cover was used. When the unit was off the top cover kept its sleek uninterrupted look, but when turned on the LED would shine through the thin portion of plastic letting the user know the device is functioning, the circular boss created a crisp light location so no unwanted “light spill” was seen.
The battery is accessible by removing the top cover, to maintain the sleek appearance and simple user experience button snaps were created in the lower half of the enclosure that could be disengaged for battery replacement. Finite Element Analysis was performed to ensure that the buttons would provide the desired feel & holding force.