Wearable Device: BodyGuard
Motivo designed and built robust proof of concept for wearable devices in law enforcement in 8 weeks
ArmStar is dedicated to providing the future of self-defense in the form of a wearable device called the BodyGuard. After an unsuccessful year-long $600,000 effort with a Silicon Valley development house, ArmStar was in dire need of an engineering partner who could help recover schedule and field test units with potential customers.
ArmStar wanted to field test units with the LA County Sheriff’s office, during the West Hollywood Carnival event that attracts 500,000 people, which provided an ideal use-case scenario. The LA County Sheriffs were attracted to the feature set of the BodyGuard, which combined GPS tracking, voice communication, video recording, voice recording, flashlight, laser pointer, and finger-tip buttons, all integrated into one wearable hands-free unit. ArmStar needed robust, fully functional, and physically representative units for field-testing, marketing, and investing purposes.
The wearable hands-free unit presented the challenge of how to integrate the hard-goods and the soft-goods together. The fingertip buttons and the power routing were also major design challenges. The flashlight and laser modules needed power from the phone through USB, and the fingertip buttons had to connect to the phone and interface with the “app” software. The USB mode negotiations needed seamless automatic transitions, to give the end user an intuitive interface for charging and transferring data. These challenges resulted in the need for a custom PCB, featuring a microcontroller, and supporting firmware. The project had to be executed in an aggressive 7 week timeframe.
Motivo applied an aggressive parallel-path approach for schedule compression. The project featured concurrent development paths for mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial design, and soft-goods design. Technologies such as 3D printing were leveraged to quickly design, iterate, test, and validate the main housing pieces and fingertip buttons. Motivo also incorporated a very clever optic solution allowing the utilization of a complete, unmodified Motorola MotoX phone for the base platform, avoiding a costly and lengthy camera development process. This eliminated the need for several things in the previous design including the separate screen, custom wireless hardware, custom camera, and buttons. The Motivo PCB and firmware negotiated all data, syncing, and charging, thus eliminating the need for multiple USB ports and bulky custom battery pack. In order to develop the look and feel of the unit, industrial and soft-goods designers were involved. Customer feedback was a major driver for the design and material selection. The housing and gauntlet were iterated to improve sizing, fitment, comfort and appearance.
Motivo successfully delivered 8 units at the end of the 7 week development period. During the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival, the Sheriffs had a smooth first hands-on test of the units in the field, with no issues. ArmStar had their first fully functional product released, and were able to get the feedback they were in need of. After the feedback and testing, Motivo is continuing to work with ArmStar on the next revision with added functionality, such as a taser.