It’s often a significant challenge to collect data in environments where conditions are difficult for electronics to tolerate, like industrial facilities, commercial kitchens, or on the seafloor. But with smart engineering and the right approach, data collected in these harsh environments can provide enormous value.
Jon Ross explains high resolution thermal imaging and how it could help make the return to entertainment venues, hospitals, campuses and more a better experience in the wake of COVID-19.
Say hello to the Spring Edition of our Sustainable Product Design Ebook! We've made some updates and added more tools and resources. There's a little something for everyone, no matter where you're at on your sustainability journey.
In this second chapter of the IoT series, we’ll show that IoT is about the “Information of Things.” The value of IoT follows the Pyramid of Knowledge, generating increasing value as data gathered from IoT devices is processed into information and the resulting knowledge & insights.
If you’re not impressed with the innovations the agri and foodtech industries are continuing to generate, then you’re not paying enough attention. Here are the two major considerations shaping the future of this perennially hot mega-tech market.
Connected devices are leveraging rapid developments in voice control and machine vision to enable more seamless user experiences known as natural user interfaces (UI) or zero UI. But “seamless” and “natural” to whom? And in what context? Combining physical and digital interfaces so that a product can support various modes of interaction results in the most accessible products and intuitive experiences.
While micromobility solutions have flourished and grown during the pandemic, the existential question of how to solve the biggest challenge ahead for the micromobility segment—how users ride—remains unanswered. In this post, we’ll touch on a number of opportunities for the industry to embrace innovation and technology in order to remain the chosen method of transportation, even in a post-COVID world.
Our Principal IoT Systems Architect, Paul Ganichot, breaks it down in this new blog series that goes through the what, why, who, how, where, when of the “Information of Things.” In this first post, we’ll define the Internet of Things, decompose its main components, summarize the IoT ecosystem, and demystify buzzwords such as Digital Twin, Digital Engineering, and Virtual Sensor.
Efforts to improve product sustainability don’t begin and end with a life cycle assessment. NPI Engineer Ian Hardy surveys the manufacturing industry’s effort to reduce environmental impacts, and walks us through 6 considerations for hardware developers looking to elevate the sustainability of their manufacturing phase.
The term “femtech” recognizes that women have unique health and wellness needs, and advancement in product offerings can positively impact a woman's journey through life. In this piece, we’ll discuss the development of the Ava bracelet and the Pebl device and look at what’s missing in the market, as well as how we can support and advance this community of innovation.
Watch an expert-packed panel discussion exploring new technologies like VR, AI, sensors, sidewalk detection, and gamification which hold the promise to reshape user behavior and solve micromobility issues for cities and operators. The panel is moderated by micromobility International and features leaders from Lyft, Unagi, Knack, and Synapse.
Learn about the methods the Synapse team has developed for understanding how to achieve sustainability goals for a new product in this TEDx Talk with Mechanical Engineering Tech Lead, Will Harrison.
Over the last six years, we’ve made an effort to build diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our organization. From the beginning, we’ve taken an iterative approach, revisiting our initiatives, processes, and policies to make improvements over time, multiple times. Now that we’ve made significant progress, we want to share insights that we hope will help you make positive change at your own organization.
The mechanical engineering team at Synapse has gotten creative in finding solutions for working together remotely. Following Ann Torres’ (our VP of Engineering in San Francisco) great discussion with Fictiv and Cooper Perkins on How to build a Physical Product in the Virtual New World, our team tackled some of the same challenges and developed solutions of our own.
Consumers are seeking out Natural User Interfaces (NUIs)—technology that can be controlled by whatever method is most convenient in that moment, therefore blending seamlessly into our surroundings. Today’s smart devices attempt to achieve this by combining physical control interfaces with layers of digital innovation, from voice commands and gesture recognition to gaze tracking and machine vision. But is this a guaranteed improvement? Not without deliberate design.
Utilities like electricity are crucial during emergencies, but they can also be the cause. So what can we do to prevent potential catastrophes and be prepared when they do happen? With wildfires ravaging our local cities, we decided to take a look at what technologies like edge AI, inductive energy harvesting, and secure long-range wireless mesh networks could do to help paint a more detailed picture for utilities of the current status of their electrical infrastructure.
We believe that connecting products to the Internet and otherwise adding digital “smarts” to them can enable powerful new functionality and make products much more useful to their users. That being said, we care deeply about the user experience of physical products. We feel strongly that the industrial design and user experience of a product should be constricted as little as possible by the addition of digital technology. That’s why we started exploring the concept of reactive physical control interfaces (RPCIs)—physical controls that self-actuate in response to secondary digital control.
Are you a startup developing a prototype needed to reach your next fundraising milestone? Or are you on the path to mass production? Either way, there's an Alpha prototype in your future—but, they're not all created equal. Ian Graves, Mechanical Engineering Program Lead, describes a few different Alpha prototype scenarios and discusses some of the downsides and highlights of each.
As the only form of public transit that is readily capable of supporting social distancing, shared bikes and scooters will be an essential component of an effective urban economic recovery strategy in the coming months. Prior to COVID-19, the city of San Francisco announced that future shared scooter platforms will be required to have deterrents to riding on sidewalks. Naturally, being both SF residents who will be affected by this decision, and curious engineers with micromobility industry experience, we decided to leverage our expertise in machine learning to explore the specifics involved in implementing a system which can determine if a scooter is riding on a street or a sidewalk.
Architecture development for innovative products is exciting because options abound and we can exercise our creativity. At the same time, uncertainty lurks in the user experience, business case, and technical realms. Learn how we navigate this challenging terrain to help our clients deliver world-class products to market.
As a product development consulting company, we are in a unique position to drive sustainable design across industries—and we don’t intend to stop there. Instead, we are sharing our work to help others design more sustainable products and systems. This ebook abstracts our sustainable design process into easy-to-use tools, which can be applied to any hardware product development.
An expert-packed panel discussion exploring the opportunities, challenges, and tradeoffs associated with sustainable product development.
As the food delivery service industry experiences rapid growth, companies are looking at how technology can help them stand out from the competition. Most companies are looking at software solutions—but, custom-built hardware might be the answer.
Layoffs are difficult for everyone involved and our thoughts are with all of our friends and colleagues living through them right now. One industry we admire that has been hit particularly hard is micromobility. While the shutdown paints a grim near-term picture for shared bikes and scooters, the original market need still exists, and should strengthen in a post-pandemic world. Companies like Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Zoba, and Tortoise will be a critical part of our recovery.
We work with our clients to conceive and develop innovative products to transform their businesses, which often results in significant engineering challenges. If we dive into the fundamental phenomena underlying those challenges and apply solutions that directly address them, the best solution is often the simplest and lowest cost. We’ve rewired our instincts to uncover simple, but hidden solutions to complex problems, as the simple solutions are often the ones that best align with our clients’ business constraints.
Get a look into the last stage of the Synapse Sustainable Design Process—“Select & Execute Relevant Strategies"—with this downloadable guide.
"How much will it cost?" and "How long will it take?" are often the first two questions prospective clients ask when they approach us to develop their hardware product concept. To better estimate, we've laid out some of the major influencing levers that can be utilized to reach your budget and schedule targets in this ebook.
What key personalization approaches are impacting the consumer sector? Download our free ebook to find out.
As sustainable design becomes a higher priority in the development of new products & systems, it’s becoming critical for engineers to learn how to apply industry-accepted sustainable design and manufacturing practices for new product development.
SteamVR™ Tracking, specifically tracking of objects in space, is currently limited in its application because most engineers haven't been exposed to how object tracking works in VR. What if the technology could be repurposed in other industries, such as industrial manufacturing?
The largest carriers and equipment vendors have much to gain from the deployment of 5G, and they're prepared to weather the long roll out. However, for innovative businesses that see 5G as an opportunity to disrupt their own industry, yet lack the capitalization or patience of those firms, Alex Sutton offers some key considerations for designing transformative 5G systems in the face of rollout uncertainty.
The recent success of smart speakers has been a great leap in human-digital interaction, but there’s still a lot of space for developers and companies to cover to create smart devices and environments with truly engaging and intuitive interfaces. While voice command technology can handle simple tasks, the interaction can fall short because it has modest understanding of human intent.
Revolutionizing agriculture will require those in the tech industry to not just make cool gadgets and gizmos that farmers can use… anybody can do that. We need to reconnect with our roots and get to know our farmers — only after understanding what they really need can we actually create valuable innovations and technology that will reshape the agriculture industry.
The ubiquitous “wake words” used by today's smart speakers can make for an awkward if not frustrating experience when designed into custom devices. Recent technology advancements and some creative design could allow us to get the attention of our digital assistants in a more natural way.
Skepticism towards the deployment and everyday use of autonomous vehicles abounds. However, some of the building blocks that will eventually help you make peace with the technology may already exist inside that shiny new car of yours in the form of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS.
Designing for the environment doesn’t mean “expensive” or result in sacrifices. With little decisions, we all can reduce our impact on natural resources.
There is no one right answer for IoT. Even simple functions require intelligent hardware and complicated back-end structures. Businesses frequently get caught up thinking about the “how” rather than the creative “what." Fortunately, there’s a better way forward.
We’re just back from the Los Angeles Beauty and Money Summit where up and coming beauty brands shared their experiences, hoping to make it big by impressing investors and larger brands—here's what stood out to us.
Data in agriculture is flowing freely, which normally means a sensor network for soil information, and drone or visual inspection of plants from the air. Smart data gathering platforms will deliver the most complete data set that starts to unlock the mysteries of crop yield and disease detection.
We've been following the market, attending trade shows and conferences, and meeting with chief executives at beauty companies around the world to get a glimpse of the future trends for technology and beauty in 2019 and beyond—here are some of our observations.
Machine vision technology continues to rapidly advance and improve, performing object recognition at increasing rates and with increasing accuracy. What happens when the images being processed are obscured by the rain, snow, and mud of the real world? SharpWave™ is an AI technology that presents a clever solution to this deceptively difficult problem while making it look easy.
Smart speakers have taken us a huge step forward in human-digital interactions, but the user experience must become more intuitive to deliver on the promise of a smart home. We present a technology demonstration that shows one approach to making interactions with smart devices more natural.
Puget Sound has its share of challenges—homelessness, traffic congestion, and affordable housing to name a few. But, an underlying issue is that we're not working together to find solutions. I'm active with the Washington Technology Industry Association's Ion program—a collaboration incubator that brings together tech, government, and not-for-profits to tackle community challenges. In this video report, I explore this important topic.
Think about your last encounter with a robot. For most of us, communicating with robots isn’t like communicating with another person—not yet anyway! But, we’ve been working on technology that enables a much more natural person-to-person like interface. Creating an autonomous robot that makes interacting with technology as intuitive as talking to a friend is made possible by combining artificial intelligence, voice and gesture recognition, 3D mapping, and spatial awareness.
The holy grail of last mile logistics is cost-efficient instant package delivery, to wherever the recipient happens to be. The DelivAir system we’ve prototyped takes us a step closer to that by using drones, and a novel precision location and authentication technology to deliver packages directly to your hands.
GitLab was recently in the house for DevOps Stories Seattle, "a single day symposium dedicated to real-life DevOps transformation stories." Hosting the event here in our Seattle office was a great opportunity for us to cross-pollinate with other people and organizations that are using GitLab to solve their own challenges. Software Engineering Program Lead, Jason Haensly, joined in on the knowledge-sharing with a presentation describing how we use GitLab throughout the product development process, and why we think it's such a win.
The critical decision regarding investment in automation comes down to economics, and for many applications, automation still doesn’t pencil out. As Elon Musk recently acknowledged regarding automation at Tesla, humans are underrated—we’re flexible and capable. The trend toward automation will continue though, and we see a way to leverage low-latency, high-accuracy, outside-in tracking technology from virtual reality to significantly reduce the cost and expand the opportunities for robotic automation systems. Most of today’s robotic automation systems are currently burdened by expensive inside-out encoding and tracking systems as well as higher costs and weights to handle accuracy despite worst-case loads and degrees of freedom.
Artificial intelligence (AI) had a starring role at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and has been everywhere in the news since. At Synapse, we’re excited to build this trending tech into novel products and look forward to pushing AI to the next level in 2018.
Interoperability can be challenging and often has many pitfalls. Using a recent case study, we're illustrating the importance of a deliberate and regimented approach to developing a connected device.
Recent news headlines have highlighted jobs being lost to robots and automation. Jobs that involve high-volume, repetitive tasks are at the highest risk of being displaced, but for more complex, non-repetitive, and fluid tasks, augmented reality (AR) technologies show promise in training and assisting workers to perform these roles more economically than with full automation by leveraging the brains and hands of workers.
I was hit by an SF TechBus and I still bike to work. Here’s why.
Many people working in product development love to create cutting-edge tech, but can overlook the details involved with getting that tech to market. In this post, we will explore the commercial aspect of selling products, and how it can make the difference between success and failure.
Synapse hosted our second San Francisco Design Week happy hour event and it was a great sucess. SF Design Week was the perfect opportunity to try out a modern take on wine blending technology and guests entered other worlds with two unique virtual reality experiences.
Synapse Project Manager, Ariane Callender, recently attend the Geekwire Sports Tech Summit, where she learned how data is used to monitor the health of the players, to better train the athletes, and how fans are consuming data and information relevant to their favorite sports.
Synapsters participate in Seattle Urban Academy Career Day Panel to pass along practical knowledge about engineering to intrigued, budding professionals.
Contract manufacturing has fueled many innovative products by allowing companies to try new ideas without all of the overhead of owning factories. However, the further you separate the designers and the manufacturers, the more important it becomes to build that relationship to ensure product is made in the best interests of the client.
Aadithya has been working with the Penguin Sentinels Lab at the University of Washington to develop scales to passively measure weights and RFIDs of Magellanic Penguins in Punta Tombo, Argentina. Through careful design, thorough testing, and clear documentation, he has helped to ensure that these scales will withstand the tough Patagonian environment, thereby allowing the lab to collect valid data on the colony's weight trends.
In late March, Synapse attended Bluetooth World in San Jose, CA with Cambridge Consultants. Talks around the current generation of BLE generally focused on how to make more natural experiences for consumers, but Synapse engineers are excited for the new, higher level standards that are coming soon!
Synapse partnered with Seattle hardware startup cofounder Marc Barros, and hosted the Seattle Hardware Workshop for the third year in a row. Started five years ago as a way to give back to the startup community, Hardware Workshop has helped hundreds of hardware companies develop real products.
Digital security and privacy are important parts of system design of digital products large and small, but are often overlooked until late in the development process. Here, we discuss the current state of security for connected products and the Internet of Things, and discuss systems engineering strategies for bringing secure products to market.
While it’s hard to imagine that what the world really needs is 20 different smart pillows, our time walking the show floor at CES revealed interesting insights into the state of current and future technologies.