As Anelto’s premium flagship product, Soteria brings a host of connectivity capabilities to the homes of senior citizens and those with special care needs. A large and easily accessible emergency button dials first responders, and voicemail and concierge buttons provide extended communication functionality. Soteria connects to LTE networks and features multiple wireless technologies to support a range of IoT devices. As Anelto’s design partner, we developed the form-factor, aesthetics, engineering, and supported prototyping and manufacturing to take the project from conceptual list of specifications to market-ready product.
We conducted an initial ideation phase to explore a wide range of form factors to consider against market research. Target unit cost informed aspects of the project as we analyzed potential assembly strategies for a select group of concepts. Early customer feedback elucidated the features most valued by the market and refined the concept through further sketching, sketch CAD and physical models.
As we refined the form factor, we worked closely with Anelto’s electrical engineers to determine and accommodate the functional and antenna requirements for the device. As the internal electro-mechanical layout resolved, we produced several prototypes with increasing levels of detail and function to judge the success of the design. Criteria included aesthetics, mechanical functions, lighting features, clarity of wireless signals, audio quality of speakers and microphones, and various human factors like scale, accessibility and communication, and how the device fits into the home. A visual model with bare-bones internal details also allowed for “looks like, works like” prototypes for customer feedback prior to full-scale engineering.
Soteria’s dynamic RGB lighting indicates emergency call status and also serves as a night light. The light ring traverses the entirety of the form and is visible from all angles. To achieve a bright and even cast, we conducted numerous studies and design simulations. The result is a highly-visible lighting feature that provides peace of mind and added safety to the product while utilizing a minimum number of LED components.
After developing Anelto’s flagship base station, we designed a budget-tier version called Lepton. Lepton has similar connectivity features but is constructed of a simplified two-part housing, has only a single speaker, and has reduced lighting elements. While lacking in some of these premium aspects, the more economical Lepton is an evolution in design efficiency, and created a more robust product portfolio for Anelto.
Lepton’s housing design utilizes snaps and the entire assembly uses only one screw. The snaps are designed to allow for disassembly without damage using a specialized tool so that units can be serviced by technicians if needed. This quick and economical assembly strategy was key to achieving a low unit price.
The base stations Soteria and Lepton provide cellular and wifi connectivity to emergency response services, but for portable needs, Anelto developed a disc-shaped device roughly the size of a silver dollar. This wearable unit acts as a simple button that relays an emergency call to the base station to send for help. The small form factor makes the wearable an invaluable addition to the product ecosystem, however the smooth disc needed some assistance to truly make it wear-able. We developed a watch-like band with a hollow bezel with integrated straps to contain the disc and keep it comfortably within reach on users’ wrists.
The majority of Anelto’s customers are seniors with limited dexterity. The classic watch band archetype requires subtle precision to put on and take off, and pins and hinges are prone to breaking. Additionally, many users require the assurance of around-the-clock access to first responders – not just when outside the home – and need something for long-term wear. With these considerations in mind, we ideated a number of approaches that would be intuitive, easy to wear, and comfortable.
Following research and prototyping, we determined that overmolded straps would make for a simple and effective assembly. To increase long-term comfort, we selected a thermoplastic elastomer called TPSiV, which is soft and resilient without being sticky or uncomfortable.
One of Anelto’s priorities was to create a one-size-fits-all design. With a very wide range of wrist circumferences to fit, this proved a difficult design challenge. To provide enough length for very large wrists would mean that a smaller wrist would have a lot of excess strap to manage. Our solution was to create channels in the surface of the strap that serve as guides for care providers to cut the strap to length. In this way, each user gets a custom fit, and Anelto only needs to produce and stock a single design.
The clasp on the Omni band uses simple mushroom snaps that engage with holes on the opposite strap. This method proved easy to secure with limited vision and dexterity. For increased comfort, we contoured the straps on the underside to improve airflow.
Moving into manufacturing, we had to ensure the thin TPE straps would bond well to the rigid bezel that wraps the wearable device. Hidden within the straps at the joints of the two materials are tabs that support the flexible TPE and prevent the initiation of tears.
Building on the success of the Omni band, Anelto wanted to create a slightly higher cost version in several colorways that would elevate the wearable to a element of fashion. To compliment slender wrists, we reduced the width of the band as compared with the Omni. We also added a PVD-coated metal accent ring around the perimeter bezel that’s angled to catch the light. A thin strip of high-bond adhesive tape keeps the ring attached to the plastic bezel. The Charm band’s subtle adjustments and additions allow Anelto to offer a range of looks that keep their discerning customers on the edge of the latest fashion trends.
Working closely with Anelto’s engineers, we developed a suite of palm-sized emergency phones that are industry-leading for connectivity and compactness. The IP67 design is waterproof to 6 feet – a requirement that introduced several design challenges. Internal features had to be carefully planned for both sealing against water ingress and the clearance needs of several wireless antennas. Through collaborative effort and extensive prototyping and testing, we achieved the lightest and smallest Mobile Personal Emergency Response unit operating on the 4g network; a feat acknowledge by strong market demand.