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Eyeing the Future of Fitness Tracking

An eyewear maker and a manufacturing service provider team up and accelerate design validation.

Sponsored ContentDear Desktop Engineering Reader:

If you think that wearable technology means donning a lobster bib, the quick read at the far side of today’s Check it Out link will be an eye-opener in more ways than one.

The bare outline of “Eyeing The Future of Fitness Tracking,” a case study from fabrication services provider Proto Labs, is that vision care company VPS Global set out to develop a set of eyeglasses with an embedded fitness tracker. The tracker had to work as well as or better than other types of wearable fitness trackers, and the glasses had to be normal looking rather than dorky and right-sized instead of clunky like a helmet. Naturally, the timetable was aggressive.

Now, as a designer you can see immediately that this simple way to describe a project isn’t simple at all, and this story skips the embedded coding part. You can probably guess the requirements synopsis: VPS Global’s designers had to cram a bunch of electronics for measuring steps, tracking activity time and distance traveled, calculating calories burned, Bluetooth communications and whatnot into one of the glass’s temple arms. And all of the electronics had to be minimally visible.

They did it. It took a lot of design iterations and cranking out a bunch of concept models on their in-house 3D printer. But they did it.

Next, they had to validate if their design worked in the real world. And that meant durable, near end-use quality prototypes for people to wear. It’s here that this tale turns into a case study about design for manufacture, a service provider making and delivering plastic injection-molded prototypes fast and, ultimately, alpha design validation.

A key ingredient underlying this report is the synergy between two outfits working as much as partners as client and service provider. It answers without posing the questions that you may have about working with Proto Labs as your on-demand fabricator. Questions like: Can they help me improve my design? Can they meet my stupid fast schedule? And the all-important what’s in it for me?

Proto Labs After in-house 3D printing concept designs of eyeglasses with a built-in fitness tracker, a vision care company turned to Proto Labs to make plastic injection-molded prototypes to validate their designs. They got more than that. Image courtesy of VSP Global and Proto Labs Inc.

“Eyeing The Future of Fitness Tracking” is fun. It’s not a taxing technical affair. It’s almost Aesopian in that it imparts important information that designers, engineers and manufacturers need to know about working with a third-party service provider like Proto Labs without stooping to marketing histrionics. Hit today’s Check it Out link and read this post now. It’s well worth it.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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