Locations: Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; London; Munich
Contact: David Haygood (650) 289-3469 www.ideo.com
Engineering Services: Mechanical/electrical engineering, industrial design, interaction design, human/business factors, manufacturing engineering.
Project: Design and engineering development of a scent analysis instrument for Cyrano Sciences.
Design functions performed: Cryano is a startup company without industrial design or production engineering resources in-house. IDEO provided experience in these areas and complemented Cryano's chemistry and basic science and research competencies. Specifically: industrial design, interaction design, human factors analysis, mechanical engineering, conceptual and engineering prototyping, manufacturing engineering, and electrical engineering.
Critical Issues: Previously, electronic sensing devices were large, stationary, expensive machines that required significant training. The Cyranose 320 is a portable handheld electronic "nose" that allows the user to identify odors and rapidly assess the quality of processes and products at the point of need.
Using an ingenious technology licensed from Caltech, Cyrano Sciences developed a portable electronic nose, a device for detecting odors in a variety of industrial environments. By imprinting a "smellprint" on its 32 sensor Nosechip, the Cyranose 320 could be used for noninvasive medical diagnostics, hazardous materials identification, food spoilage detection, and many other applications.
The main industrial design challenge was to create a look that conveys the image of a new company and product capability in advance of complete definition of the market. IDEO made quick foam models to get early input from the client. It was decided that the final product should be able to adapt to different usage environments. Engineers then made a refined form that would fit well in a medical or lab context. Adding the shock absorbing, outer boot adapts it, both visually and functionally, to industrial and hazardous materials settings.
Shrinking a gas sampling system that occupied a whole laboratory into a small handheld device had numerous mechanical engineering challenges.
The architecture and system level design of the Cyranos 320 involved the selection and integration of several elements into a complex air sensing system. Some of the elements included were a miniature valve, a pump, a baseline carbon filter, intake and exhaust connections, the polymer composite sensor array chip, and the air distribution manifold. Additionally, the chip and manifold assembly required electrical interconnections to the main PCB. This board carried the onboard signal processing, power and charging management, I/O connections, buttons, and LCD display control functions.
The manifold design went through several feasibility prototypes to understand and characterize the air management requirements and to provide a test bed for the sensor chip development. Early prototypes used machined stainless steel parts used simply to optimize and quantify the sensor chip requirements. Many prototypes were rapidly created, moving towards the final production configuration. These processes included SLA (Stereolithography), FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), Rubber and hard urethane castings, and machined metal and plastic prototyping techniques.
Final fabrication and assembly costs were continuously under consideration throughout the project. The final manifold design is two injection molded parts. They are ultrasonic welded together to seal and isolate the individual air channels, pressure tested, and Parylene conformal coated to provide inert internal air channels.
The mechanical design was done in Pro/Engineer, allowing quick 3D part prototyping in the IDEO internal model shop. Several complete design validation prototypes were fabricated throughout the design phase to check and test the design prior to tooling release. Documentation, tooling support, and final tooled part review were provided by the IDEO engineering staff.
Cyrano Sciences had developed a low volume system for manufacturing their unique, sensing chips. IDEO reconfigured their process, applying the various polymers to the substrate material using a consistent, quantifiable method giving better yields in high volumes.