Ideation consisted of going back an forth between prior research and ongoing questionnaires and focus groups. The primary questions were; "How many pollutants do we need to monitor" & "Which form factor allows the device to be used in as many usage scenarios as possible". I believe the process of creating seriously quick & dirty sketches and instantly CAD'ing it up and 3D printing to produce an object to play with rapidly sped up this process.
At the development stage, I joined a hardware accelerator program that provided workshops and rapid prototyping equipment, which was super cool. It helped me to expand development from product design to electronic & sensor testing using the different workshops to botch together an air quality testing tank. At this point, I had an almost completely functional alpha prototype.
One segment of research showed that the majority of cyclists in urban areas have a concern & interest in air quality. However, this was something we had to skip, later to pick back up. We used our initial prototype to see the fit on a bike handlebar. It didn't fit well initially however after some fiddling we found that the tracker was a little (1mm) too thick. This was rectified by integrating a slimmer battery & modifying the housing to suit. We also refined the PCB to include an additional sensor and accelerometer to allow custom gestures and also to put the device into a low power state when not moving.
Going to Shenzhen was an incredible opportunity to see the manufacturing facilities (the pick & place machine was mesmerising), gain some contacts and check the feasibility of the current design. It was also a chance to embrace the culture and check out some of the beautiful paintings lying on the street at Defen oil painting village - incredible.
The final product is a small, simple device that'll allow you to check the air quality anywhere. It was a great challenge to fit everything in such a small enclosure, however endless testing & iteration got the product there in the end. Iteration till the death of me.
Check out the tracker & app in action!