Wearable Computing

Connecting workers with unprecedented efficiency

Our collaboration with Zebra on their WS50 RFID wearable computer involved overcoming a multitude of design challenges to create a cutting-edge device: a modular, enterprise-class Android computer untethered to additional data capture and retrieval devices and thus inherently safer than existing solutions on the market. The WS50's modularity posed unique challenges, as it needed to accommodate various battery sizes and RFID module functionalities while also facilitating different hand orientations to accomplish different tasks. Among the most critical of these challenges was ensuring the finger-worn device struck the perfect balance between ergonomics and functionality; meeting user experience needs while satisfying the practical demands of various work environments; successfully addressing the inherent tension between workplace shift duration and the impact of battery life/weight on the employee. Our team successfully navigated these complexities, contributing to the device's versatility and adaptability across a diverse set of user needs, including those outside the targeted use cases. For example, the modular design also allows users to transform the core module into different form factors, such as a watch or lanyard, providing unmatched flexibility in how the wearable computer is deployed. Additional consideration was given to the demands imposed by some of the workplace environments. In particular, to safeguard the screen, innovative glass protection solutions were developed, seamlessly integrating device usability and durability without compromising on other elements of the design. Of course, incorporating user-friendly elements, such as visual and audio cues, adds a delightfully practical dimension to the WS50's user experience, enhancing not only functionality but also driving user engagement by making the device intuitive and enjoyable to use.

Enterprise Solutions
Industrial Design
Human Factors
User Experience
User Research
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Key Challenges

Innovative, Modular, Global.

The collaboration extended beyond geographical boundaries, with our team working closely with Zebra's teams in Holtsville, NY, London, UK, and their JDMs in Taiwan. This global collaboration facilitated a diverse perspective and ensured the device's suitability for various markets and user preferences.

A noteworthy aspect of our contribution was the meticulous surfacing work done in Autodesk Alias, creating Class A surfaces. The unique workflow of seamlessly importing these surfaces into Creo provided the design team with unprecedented control, allowing them to modify individual surfaces dynamically.

ACS comprehensive involvement in the WS50 project addressed intricate design challenges, introduced innovative features, and navigated a global collaborative effort, resulting in a groundbreaking wearable computer that seamlessly blends form and function across diverse applications.

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Our Process

Our design journey for the Zebra WS50 initiated with an intensive brainstorming phase, where we sought inspiration and ideation to address specific challenges such as weight, comfort, and glass protection. This phase laid the foundation for our early sketching, translating conceptual ideas into tangible designs. Early CAD development followed, providing a digital framework for further exploration.

Prototyping played a pivotal role in the iterative process, allowing us to refine and validate our design concepts. Subsequent to prototyping, detailed CAD design efforts ensued, where we honed in on every aspect of the WS50's modularity, accommodating diverse battery sizes, RFID functionalities, and hand orientations.

As the design matured, we progressed to prototype assembly, bringing the envisioned wearable computer to life for comprehensive ergonomic testing and team reviews. This critical phase ensured that the device not only met design expectations but also excelled in user comfort and practicality.

The final stages of our process involved transitioning from prototyping to soft tooling, setting the stage for mass production. This well-orchestrated timeline reflects our commitment to a comprehensive design process, from conceptualization to the production-ready stage, ensuring the Zebra WS50 emerged as a standout achievement in the world of wearable computing.

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Personal note

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