SPARKLING BEVERAGE MAKER

kitchenaid sodastream hero

/ SPARKLING BEVERAGE MAKER

Engineering

KitchenAid® Sparkling Beverage Maker Powered by SodaStream allows you to make refreshing, homemade carbonated drinks in eye-catching fashion.

Our engineers participated in benchmarking, concept development, refinement, a-surface modelling, analysis, pilot production run, mechanical development, CAD modelling, detailed drawings, and supplier interaction. Design credit: KitchenAid®

Lit-2016-06-04 Rev0

Timberline Case Study

trager timberline hero

NATURAL BORN GRILLER

/ TIMBERLINE

Research / Industrial Design / Engineering / Production

We were challenged with helping Traeger’s vision to develop a new flagship grill with improved craftsmanship, reimagined aesthetics, an advanced, wifi enabled user interface, improved cooking performance, and a cooking capacity for a family to cook a complete meal.

Discover

At the beginning of this project, we conducted secondary research on BBQ and pellet grills through blogs, websites, and collecting competitive information. We also spent time in the field, allowing us to travel to stores in different states that sell obscure pellet grills. The highlight of our field research came from interviews with leading industry influencers such as Danielle Bennett (Diva Q) and Cameron Treu (Bam Bam). We even participated with Bam Bam at the Nevada State BBQ Championship (Best Dam BBQ Challenge). These discussions and insights from observing what it takes to make great BBQ, led us to hypotheses on the science of smoke and smoke utilization as well as the BBQ culture and a griller’s expected experience.

Develop

Alongside exploring the design aesthetics of this new flagship grill, the team established methods to investigate and measure their hypotheses around smoke utilization. Proof of function prototypes were fabricated and data was collected and analyzed to help guide the team toward appropriate solutions. To ensure the aesthetics were hitting the mark, multiple iterations of mock-ups were presented to research participants to gather end user feedback and ensure we were delivering on Traeger’s brand values and executive team’s goals.

Deliver

Tekna partnered with DornerWorks, our embedded electronics partner as well as an app and web development firm, OvenBits, to design and execute the Traeger WiFIRE System. This system allows the grill to be an IoT device, with cloud server and app based remote control.  Our design team led the GUI development, managing the workflow, language, and graphics for what might be the most advanced grill control in the industry.

 

In addition to the electrical, app and cloud development, we delivered fully developed CAD models to Traeger’s supplier and supported the product commercialization with performance testing, pre-production assembly, collaboration with Traeger’s Chinese supply base, and first part approval.

Helios Case Study

THE PERFECT MIX OF POWER & DURABILITY

/ HELIOS

Animation / Branding / Graphic Design / Packaging / Industrial Design / Engineering / Production

We’ve all been there.  Working on a project in a dimly lit garage or making minor home repairs in tight spaces.  Poor lighting and the inability to see your work can make these jobs impossible to complete, and at times, simply dangerous. Proper lighting makes all work tasks safer and easier.  Appropriate lighting, without glare or shadows, can reduce eye fatigue and headaches. It can also prevent workplace accidents by increasing the visibility of moving machinery and other safety hazards.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  However, many types of industrial lighting solutions in automotive dealerships and repair facilities have primarily focused on ceiling-mounted applications, without considering many of the regular tasks that are performed with the car overhead. Professional mechanics face this challenge every day, often making the best of what is available, and sacrificing their personal safety and efficiency.

DCI Lighting saw this opportunity and asked the question, “What if lighting could be reinvented from the ground – up?”

Discover

We take on many programs in different stages of development. We pride ourselves in truly understanding each client’s objectives by using a human-centered approach within a business mindset.  Our commitment to creating value today paired with a vision for future product strategy helps clients maximize their short-term investments and plan for continued product improvements and adjacent opportunities. DCI Lighting came to us with detailed working prototypes of the Helios concept, requesting design for manufacturing support to help move it to production. With key performance indicators top of mind (impact and fluid resistance plus the ability to support 15 tons of pressure), we embarked on our rigorous risk evaluation process. Ultimately, we found ways to make the unit more robust and reliable by reconstructing the light lens for safer compression and reconfiguring the seals for better fluid resistance and serviceability.

Develop

We always stress the importance of leveraging key design elements to communicate a brand’s story.  With some forethought, this can be done without adding significant cost to the product. Graphic identity, badging, packaging, and IFUs convey quality, value, and connect with a consumer on an emotional level.

While engineering testing was underway, our brand team was able to look at the overall visual identity and suggest ways to improve strategic messaging.  We developed a brand hierarchy, logos, badging, packaging, and marketing collateral that aligned with the product’s value proposition.

As we moved closer to product launch, digital material, website, e-commerce, and social media became key deliverables, centered around the positioning statement “Lighting Reinvented from the Ground Up.”  The product was officially unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, with a custom trade-show booth designed to immerse visitors in the context and environment of a professional garage, featuring a full-size display of the undercarriage of an automobile.  Looping videos with early end-customer research further enhanced the Helios story.

Deliver

We are meticulous in the design and execution of our production lines, fixtures, and equipment. Always focused on staff safety and ergonomics, lines are designed and organized for the proper height, optimal reach with minimal movement, and of course, ample lighting.  This also ensures that we consistently and efficiently produce a high-quality product.  Lastly, as a design-focused company, we want the line to be as innovative as the product we are building. We accomplished this by using sleek black work surfaces with modular aluminum structures. Mechanical creativity and problem-solving doesn’t stop with the product itself.  Production fixtures were designed to quickly maneuver between both sides of the light panel.  The early evaluation indicated this would be problematic for one person to handle, resulting in safety and efficiency concerns.  We developed a solution that resembled an industrial Belgian waffle maker that allows access to the panel’s top and bottom while compressing the components as they are fastened together. Additionally, we built custom ergonomic tools to make fastening motions safer and easier for production staff. With the line and assembly details squared away, we implemented quality control measures and finalized logistical and distribution support.  This allowed DCI Lighting to hit the ground running with seamless integration for e-commerce orders.

Avegant Case Study

avegant glyph hero

MEDIA’S NEW BFF

/ AVEGANT

Industrial Design / Human Factors / Engineering

Avegant’s Glyph is the world’s first personal theater designed with lightweight portability, rich audio, and amazingly precise video. We worked with the Avegant team to provide ergonomic adjustments and industry-leading aesthetics. We created functional prototypes and alpha units that were tested and released for the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. The team took home a CES Editor’s Choice Award and a video spot on USA Today. Since then, the Glyph has evolved and went on to win the Best of CES Award in 2016.

Avegant’s proprietary display technology is really not a display at all. An image is projected directly onto the user’s retina through millions of micromirrors and reflected light. This technology replicates the way we see and interpret the world around us, thus creating the most natural and comfortable viewing experience on the market.

Discover

The functional engineering prototype, above, affectionately named the “steam punk proto,” provided an excellent demonstration of the Glyph’s core virtual retinal display technology. This prototype lacked user-friendly ergonomic adjustments and a desirable form factor. With the optics and circuit boards undergoing a new round of development at Avegant, Tekna focused its initial efforts on adjusting the headset to fit a wide range of head shapes and sizes. Critical anthropometric data were collected and studied. User studies were performed to refine interaction positions and inputs.

Develop

Our goals were reliability, comfort and style. After the basic prototype direction was defined, detailed part-design and assemble methodology was explored. Throughout the process, there was a concentrated effort to maintain a robust design and yet reduce size, weight and part count.

In parallel, other team members benchmarked competitive product by exploring design elements, materials choices, manufacturing methods and branding messages. This research, along with input from Avegant, served as the foundation for the Glyph’s personality and aesthetic development.

Several rounds of detailed part assemblies were built with parametric modeling software. Each round concluded with rapid prototyped, proof-of-concept models tested by users, media, and investors across the country. The acoustic cavity received additional attention from partners in California and Austria to define Avegant’s signature sound and noise cancelation system. The revolutionary technology and user adjustment challenges meant that this system could only be designed from the inside out. Unique mechanisms allowing smooth interpupilary distance and diopter lens adjustments were created and then carefully packaged within the global design. Those adjustments were critical to aligning the micromirrors with the user’s retina. Without proper positioning, the viewing experience was compromised. Circuit boards were strategically positioned for performance, interaction and system balance. Cables and wires were precisely routed, service loops were created and strain reliefs provided. The assembly of each subsystem was carefully planned.

Once the optics and circuit boards for the International Consumers Electronics Show prototypes were defined, the final aesthetic details were established. Renderings were created to communicate form, color, finish, and material. An international press release introduced these early images of the Glyph Alpha to the world. A month before the deadline, a test build was conducted in Austin, Texas. After two days, 43 necessary changes were identified and after an intense week of design, final part files were released for fabrication. CNC machines were fired up, 3D printers were initialed, and model makers were prepared. With over hundreds of parts to fabricate, this project required the orchestration of many partners to ensure delivery of successful prototypes.

Two weeks after releasing data, Avegant and Tekna team members gathered to build the first of 12 functional prototypes. After 16 hours of concentrated effort, the first working Glyph Alpha was born. In two more build sessions lasting several days (and nights), additional improvements were added. Finally, the remaining Alpha units were completed, tested, and released for the show.

Deliver

Success was realized at CES as the Glyph received massive media attention. Reviewers raved about the Glyph’s revolutionary technology and superior performance. The team took home a CES Editor’s Choice Award and a video spot on USA Today. After celebrating the positive media response for a brief moment, dramatic visionary renderings illustrating the next phase of the technology were released in advance of a pending crowd funding campaign. It was time to do it all over again. Stay tuned for next chapter of the Avegant Glyph story.

Nara Bassinet Case Study

stryker nara bassinet hero

WHEN CLOSENESS MATTERS

/ NARA BASSINET

Research / Human Factors / Industrial Design / Branding / Branding / Animation / Engineering / Production

The first moments of a newborn’s life are crucial for lifelong development. It is during this time that a mother bonds, skin-to-skin, with her child. Together they foster warmth and a stable heart rate for baby while establishing their first moments of connection. The Scandinavians have a term for this closeness – Nära.

The Nara bassinet was designed from the ground up as a new innovation in the Labor and Delivery department of the hospital. It was designed to bring mothers close to their newborns when it matters most and provide caregivers with a safe, ergonomic care solution.

Discover

Tekna recognized that the bassinet market has been relatively ignored for decades. Current bassinets can be described as one of two things: a wood filing cabinet or a metal filing cabinet on wheels. We started to ask the question, why are we pushing newborn babies around on filing cabinets?

We started our research at the source – with NICU and mother/baby nurses. We conducted one-on-one user interviews, focus group discussions, and took full-scale mockups into the field to get to the root of the frustrations. We heard complaints of bulkiness, uncleanliness, and inaccessibility that added up to an experience that was just plain clunky.  We studied each person’s interactions and allowed their feedback to evolve our design. Some nurses were stooping and straining too much, others struggled to quietly and efficiently maneuver the bassinet, and mothers had trouble reaching for their babies from bed. It was clear we needed to develop a new solution.

Develop

We implemented our iterative prototyping processes and leveraged sketch exploration, CAD development, in-house 3D printing, and fabrication methods to refine the aesthetic and functionality. When we are challenged with a complex set of design constraints we don’t let our exploration get bogged down in a single process. Bouncing back-and-forth allows the development tools to inform one another, driving decisions and pushing the project forward.

We conducted comprehensive formative and summative usability testing with Labor/Delivery and NICU nursing staff, hospital environmental services, and new moms. Their overwhelmingly positive responses validated the final design and new features. Check out the video to see the team’s final solution.

As the product evolved, so did the brand, differentiating it in the market as approachable, caring, and inviting. Branding efforts included print material, animation, and video creation.  The true value of experience that we were reinventing was taking shape but it needed a name, and ultimately we had to look outside the English language to capture its essence – Nara.

Deliver

Altogether, initial user research, opportunity identification, and industrial design grew to mechanical engineering, regulatory support, branding, and manufacturing for a Class II medical device. The exciting value propositions presented by our end product captured the interest of a major medical device manufacturer that led to an OEM opportunity for Tekna. Our Realization crew worked tirelessly to ensure every bit of design intent was captured when we brought the product to life. We take pride in delivering this solution as locally designed and manufactured, leveraging a supply chain based predominantly in Michigan.

So far, hospital staff reactions view our solution as a much-needed innovation in the quality of care. Early sales have also been very positive, converting entire fleets of older bassinets with a demonstration of the new product. More to come…

1288 HD CAMERA

stryker 1288 camera head hero

/ 1288 HD CAMERA

Industrial Design

As the third generation in Stryker’s HD 3-Chip endoscopy camera line, the 1288 HD 3-Chip Camera features a 1920x1080p resolution and nine specialty settings, resulting in optimum color resolution and brightness.

Additional benefits of the 1288 HD 3-Chip Camera include four fully programmable buttons on the endoscopic camera head, giving the surgeon the command to control the light source settings directly from the camera head. By allowing for backwards compatibility with past generation digital capture devices, scopes, and various flat panels, the 1288 HD 3-Chip Camera continues to offer new solutions for improved visualization within the operating room.

We helped Stryker Endoscopy develop a product with superior ergonomics that improved the user’s grip and hand fatigue, as well as the product’s interface and workflow.

Lit-2016-06-17 Rev0

RANGER & SCOUT TABLE TOP GRILLS

/ RANGER & SCOUT TABLE TOP GRILLS

Industrial Design / UX/UI

Traeger approached us for assistance in expanding and differentiating their Town and Country Series product line with a focus on enhancing features, technology, and aesthetics, as well as finding production efficiencies. We began the collaborative process with 2D ideation sketches based on Century 2.0, Silverton, and Timberline’s visual brand language. Using production-quality parametric 3D CAD data, we identified ways to simplify assembly and reduce material waste, improving the customer experience straight out of the box. Additionally, for the Ranger grill, we helped Traeger bring a new-to-the-industry feature (the WiFi ARC controller with a “keep warm” function) to market through rapid wireframe prototyping, tackling both workflow integration and GUI.

ERGONOMIC ASSESSMENT

ergonomics study hero

/ ERGONOMIC ASSESSMENT

Research / Human Factors / Industrial Design

We completed a virtual ergonomic analysis identifying the differences and theoretical improvements of a new, high-end bed platform over a previous model. Assessments were based on a series of tests in several use-case scenarios and were rated based on usability metrics and ergonomic accommodation. Tests accommodated a range of users from 5% female, 50% average user, to an 85% male. The metrics used to evaluate ergonomics were spine shape/body positions, joint angles, line of sight, and hip/center-of-gravity shift. Following analysis of the new bed, additional ergonomic recommendations were provided to guide the next generation bed improvements.

Lit-2016-06-04 Rev0

USER INTERFACE & APP DESIGN

/ USER INTERFACE & APP DESIGN

Research / Branding / Human Factors / UX/UI

The Traeger Timberline grill has an accompanying mobile app that allows you to control your grill, monitor your meat, and set up recipes. We designed the workflow and initial interface design as well as usability studies to test our direction. Using a mobile prototyping tool, we ran multiple user tests to determine initial use behaviors, icon recognition, and proper task completion. With each study, we were able to adjust the workflow until passing it off to a mobile app partner to do final design and development.

SMOKE OFF BRANDING

dark horse smoke off branding hero

/ SMOKE OFF BRANDING

Industrial Design / Branding

When we get the opportunity to design a product we take it seriously, diving head first into the culture and life surrounding its existence. When that product involves delicious smoked meats…you bet your ass we went out and signed up for the first bbq competition we could find!

Like any competition, we knew we needed to go in with a strong presence (aka matching t-shirts). What started as a hand drawn logo, turned into a full brand that was applied to t-shirts and leather aprons. At the close of the competition, we designed and made custom packaging to send some of our schwag to Traeger’s executive team. 

The design and team spirit from the first year inspired us to push even further the second time around. We added on to our logo and professionally screen printed the t-shirts, making plenty to sell to other bbq-ers. We also designed farm animal bottle openers to match the simple, cute, and edgy branding theme. Each one was laser cut and then we gave them a blackened, hardened finish using one of the grills. Keeping with tradition, we designed and made new packaging for the Traeger team (this time shaped like a pig) and had plenty more goodies to send.

Next year we’re pretty sure we have our work cut out for us.