One Step Forward, Two steps back
Before doing some research, I got excited and developed a prototype and concept without considering my and really made a big mistake I developed a concept that looked essentially like this:
It was a battery belt, and it was supposed to have modules to attach that would augment the experience of having smart tools. I was thinking they would be things like Signal boosters, controllers that could attach to this belt, and other modules which could make the belt more than just a battery, it could make you Batman! I jumped the gun and ran off to go get my prototype evaluated by people on the streets,
I set up an “usability study” where i had people try my belt on, try to interact with the modules, and walk around, and explain their thoughts on the concept.
The idea, was good! The execution… not so much. They thought the belt was way too bulky, the modules were too in your face, the belt was ugly, and they were worried about the safety behind it. I should have learned about who my users were before designing a product for them, not to say I didn’t learn a bit from it.
Back on Track
I conducted some surveys addressing usage patterns, and smartphone battery drain. using Qualtrics to develop and deploy the survey and I put it out on Amazon mechanical turk to run. I had 24 participants, 50% were male and 50% were female. 75% were 18–24 and 20% were 25–34 and 5% were 55 and older.
The data I collected suggested that there was a potential need for a device like this with 50+% of respondents having some issue with their phone battery running out and using a belt on a daily basis. some of the other data I collected gave me opinions on what may restrict someone from using a belt. I was able to come up with some requirements for what such a belt would need to be successful:
- The Belt is safe to Wear (heat dissipates/battery doesn’t explode)
- The Capacity needs to be equivalent or higher capacity than competition (It needs to be a contender with battery packs)
- The Belt needs to be visually appealing (no one wants to wear an ugly belt)
- The Belt needed to be light enough (equivalent weight to current belts)
Some other ideas that were pitched to me when I was “usability testing” and conducting surveys were:
- Bus pass modules for those who ride bus all the time
- Restaurants to have modules to use for workers
- A scale to weigh things
- Speakers to listen to music
All were fascinating ideas but I had to focus as I had a deadline coming up.
The end for now
I don’t have a picture of the updated concept (I will draw one out and post it), but I made a belt that was more like a regular belt, and I looked into battery technologies that would let you wear something that didn’t make you look like someone in a camera production crew.
At the time, Aluminum Ion batteries were being developed, with capacities equal to Lithium Ion, but without the downsides! they were light weight, and could be punctured, bent, and reshaped without lighting on fire or exploding! It seems to still be in development but my hopes remain high that they will soon be commercially available!
I was going to test my second prototype after creating the concept to test, but I didn’t have enough time, and I had to present my project.
I did end up getting an A. but I still dream of pushing my concept into a reality.
Who wants to startup a company with me so we can all be Batman of the future?