Piggyback Module for Tablet

CLIENT: Electronic Assistive Technology Company

INDUSTRY: Assistive Living

The client is considered a market leader in providing products that enhance quality of life for people with special needs. Hillside Design was asked by the client to help them design their next generation version of an existing product but this time the product would be a piggyback module mounted onto Tablets. This approach would allow different configurations of the product to be built for different screen size and processing power. As Tablets come and go in the marketplace the piggyback module would still be usable with any new generation Tablets.

The project team made a comprehensive audit of the characteristics of Tablets and determined which of their mechanical and electronic features would have an impact on the design of the piggyback. Once power characteristics, connector types/positions, cameras, and key dimensions (amongst others) were analysed, the team agreed a detailed product specification and mapped out a generic format and connection system. This included specifying a mounting solution that would not damage the Tablet and that was easily removeable. Additional mounting points were included so the complete product would cooperate with proprietary mounting solutions commonly used in care situations.

HPDL worked with the electronics designers to agree a block design for a PCB. HPDL then prepared a block concept for a 2-part enclosure that encapsulated the PCB. Several adjustments were made during the development process, and these ensured that the enclosure and internal PCB stayed closely aligned. The final layout was then refined using 3D CAD and several 3D printed prototypes were built to test the acoustics, weather proofing and product build. A key test was establishing the optimal placement of infra-red emitters and receivers within the enclosure so they would reliably communicate with external devices at unknown locations in the environment. This necessitated researching and developing a 3D printed resin that was infra-red transmissive and cosmetically representative of the final colour injection moulded parts. Various product orientations and room scapes were used to optimise the placement.

With testing complete and the block design agreed HPDL quickly refined the design into injection moulded parts and prepared 3D CAD files and 2D control drawings. HPDL completed a supplier sourcing programme to find a suitable partner and then worked with the supplier to design the mould tools and to oversee tool sampling to sign off.