- Product Design
- Research & Testing
Accurate environmental sensors can be expensive, and complicated to operate. Existing products are either prohibitively expensive and complicated, or so cheaply made that they cannot be used serious applications.
- Design a new enclosure for the FieldKit hardware that satisfies a range of performance constraints
- Guide and support the manufacturing process
- Coordinate enclosure design with rest of product ecosytem (electronics, mobile app, web service)
The FieldKit team at Conservify
- Environmental Conservationists
- Citizen Scientists
The FieldKit Product
FieldKit is a system of products and services for environmental data collection and reporting. The system is based around the FieldKit hardware units which composed of electronic sensors housed in a rugged enclosure. These electronics communicate with a mobile app that connects to a wide ecosystem online.
Early versions of the FieldKit product use off-the-shelf (OTS) enclosures to house the critical electronics. The value of these OTS enclosures is that they are fairly cheap and easy to source. However there are a number of disadvantages to this approach that affect the quality and performance of the final product:
Opportunities for Improvement
- unreliable dimensions
- easy to break
- difficult to assemble (require substantial modifications)
- difficult to deploy (insufficient mounting support)
Feedback from the Field
The FieldKit team has a number of partnerships with groups around the world collecting environmental data. Multiple iterations of the FieldKit product have been tested in the wild with varying results. These deployments face numerous challenges.
- Weather damage (rain, hail, snow)
- UV damage (prolonged exposure to direct sunlight)
- Tampering (units are unprotected)
To conclude the Discovery phase I created a Design Specifications document that collected and distilled all the pertinent information related to the enclosure design. This document provided details and direction in the following sections:
- Supported Interactions
- Anticipated User-Modifications (Extensibility)
- Performance Criteria
- Primary + Secondary Requirements
- Limitations + Exclusions
Design Iteration & Rapid Prototyping
Once the team and I established a set of constraints for the product, including overall dimensions and basic shape, I began a series of sketch explorations for the new enclosure.
I created a series of 3D models for the new enclosure design. Every few weeks we would generate a 3D print of the latest design to test the fit with electronics assembly and software that was evolving in parallel.