Case Study: Microsoft Band
Huge obstacles in a tiny package; Microsoft's wearable tech
When Microsoft kicked off their project to get into the booming “wearables” marketplace, they had some big challenges and little time to conquer them. After assessing their hurdles, they asked Simplexity to step in and help. The device would need to cram more features, more advanced tech, and better user-interface into a small enough package size to fit comfortably onto users' wrists and into a market that demanded “cool”.
What We Did
Simplexity joined the team of Microsoft engineers and designers and hit the ground running. With such a small package size, successful design required collaboration and cooperation with dozens of other engineers and their subsystems as well as pushing the boundaries of part creation into alternative manufacturing methods and outside-the-box ideas. Battles for fractions of millimeters were common in order for the compounding parts to fit inside the tight requirements. Simplexity engineers adapted to the software packages and design review processes to help in creating over a dozen key components and subassemblies in every part of the device
On-Site Support and Contract Manufacturing
Such intricate and proprietary designs require a lot of help to translate into other subsystems and eventually manufacturing. Simplexity engineers frequently travelled to Microsoft’s campus in order to work, in person, with industrial design, electrical engineering, and user experience departments in order to most efficiently fit the design to work from all directions. When larger scale prototyping and production ramp up took place, Simplexity engineers travelled to the contract manufacturer and part vendors in order to personally see that things got done right
Finite Element Analysis (FEA).
With small, delicate electronics being packaged in a compact product that is built to withstand abuse from daily use and exercise, it is crucial that care is taken when evaluating the strength and bending properties of the design. Our team used two different FEA software packages to assist in studying and characterizing the physical properties of the design as it developed as well as ensure that the more drastic and unusual parts would meet the use requirements without failure. With tight schedules, this powerful tool is a necessity and an integral part of designing components that need to work right
“Microsoft Band is an ambitious first crack at a smart health wearable that throws in a ton of features and cross-platform support….”
How Do Consumers Benefit From This Product?
The Microsoft Band is designed to help consumers excel in their fitness goals and increase productivity through integration of their other devices into an easy-to-use format. The Band can track sleep characteristics, heart rates, provide guided workouts, and provide full exercise performance mapping. The Band can also display email previews, text messages, calendar reminders, phone calls, social updates, weather, UV status, and take voice commands to automatically set reminder events. This powerful tool makes it easy for people to simplify their complex network of gadgets and schedules and get on with being active and free.
“Thanks for the good work… We couldn’t have done the project without you.”
-Microsoft Program Manager