January 14, 2020
Protolabs has announced that the Wayzn Slide is its latest Cool Idea Award winner. Wayzn, the California-based company behind the product, has developed a solution to the problem of how to let your pets in and out of your house, even when you’re not at home. The Wayzn Slide has been honored with a CES 2020 Innovation Award. (CES is a consumer technology show).
Protolabs’ Cool Idea Award provides in-kind manufacturing services to support development of helpful products, the company says. 3D printing, which Wayzn used, helps startups and established corporations speed innovation. The iterative process makes it easy to make small adjustments to designs, achieving customized parts quickly.
The potential market for this device is significant, according to Protolabs: more than one-third of all U.S. households have dogs, and more than 32 million single-family homes in the U.S. have a sliding patio door.
“We created the Wayzn Slide because we wanted our dogs to have access to the yard when we weren’t home. As we started researching this, we realized that there were security issues and installation costs,” says Adam Smithline, Wayzn co-founder. “It made sense to devise something that lets residents use a smartphone to open and close existing sliding doors, giving them the flexibility to go anywhere, anytime.”
How Wayzn Slide Works
Wayzn Slide is a low-profile, powered opener that can be placed just above the track of a sliding door and attaches to both the door and jamb. The high-tech device connects securely to the internet via Wi-Fi. If a dog wants to go in or out, the owner is alerted and can simply push a button on a smartphone, which sends a signal to the device’s motor. The motor pulls the door open just enough to let the pet in or out, then closes it.
You can also set up Wayzn Slide to open the door automatically when your dog approaches, or to respond to commands from other smart devices and sensors. The device is integrated with various cameras, which let you receive notifications and video through the Wayzn app.
Manufacturing the Wayzn Slide
Wayzn worked with Protolabs’ 3D printing team to develop its new-concept pet door. Through iterative prototyping, the device took shape. Parts were produced using stereolithography (SLA). Parts were made from an opaque, ABS-like plastic that is durable, impact resistant, and makes highly accurate parts.
“Protolabs made it possible for us to manufacture larger 3D printed parts that we couldn’t make anywhere else,” says Smithline. “That gave us the opportunity to quickly test and validate critical aspects of the product.”
Working with Protolabs
Through the Cool Idea Award, Wayzn leveraged Protolabs’ manufacturing expertise to develop rapid prototypes and beta test them.
“Helping companies like Wayzn accelerate their product development is our primary mission at Protolabs” says Brian Peters, chief marketing officer of Protolabs. “Our Cool Idea Award gives companies with exciting new product ideas the opportunity to rapidly innovate using our digital manufacturing processes and get their products to market faster than if they would have used traditional manufacturing methods.”
While the Wayzn Slide is still in development, the company has already sold out its first two runs. It expects to make some enhancements to the product and introduce additional products in 2020. Wayzn is accepting orders for the $399 device through its online store.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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