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- Pune (MH), India
I am searching for a method to instantly connect any Appliance to any User and allow control in a way that requires no prerequisite App or Software.
Uniquely designed hardware UI elements like keypads and screens are built into most generic Appliances. Given the rising number and complexity of Appliances produced, my idea is for every appliance to offload it's UI functionality to the user's Smartphone (which already has a screen, keypads, touch, voice and other UI capabilities) over a standardized protocol, rather than have a duplication of UI hardware per appliance manufactured.
Such an arrangement would also offer a solution to a future User's challenge of simultaneous interaction with multiple Appliances.
I demonstrated this through my deployment of a cluster of Biometric Devices that interacted with users through their Smartphone's Web Browser, primarily over the device's self-generated WiFi access point.
I took up the challenge of designing a Biometric device with no primary UI elements built into the Hardware.
The application was in an industrial operator identification system. It connected to a WiFi network, accepted fingerprint logins from operators and instantly informed the Cloud Server, while also handling the Admin's occasional User Management functions (enrol/edit/remove) in the Admin Mode.
Being a harsh Forging Shop environment, the more the internal hardware elements, the more the device was compromised to physical damage. We aimed at having as few internal components within the device as possible.
So I designed the Device to 'offload' all of it's keypad and screen functions (readouts, instructions, entering names, etc.) to the Admin's Smartphone. The final Device only had a Fingerprint Scanner, 4 push buttons and colour-coded backlit status indications.
During 'Normal Operation Mode' (90% of use cases), the Device connected to the Cloud through a WiFi Network and registered every operator login and logout. To interact with the Biometric Device, the Admin pressed the 'Admin Mode' button and connected to the corresponding Access Point that the Device generated as a result. Over the Access Point, the Device served it's unique UI to the Admin though a webpage, where the Admin could enroll a new user's fingerprint with a name, edit existing users and remove specific users.
This approach to designing the product allowed me to reduce the development cost and time by half and reduce the cost of manufacturing the device by about 40%.
This was a very exciting Project, since I was encouraged to be creative with the product development within the given constraints. I led a Product Development team and worked closely with the end Customer on this project. The lean design approach was initially met with some resistance, but later proved to be successful from an accessibility and robustness standpoint.
This demonstration used WiFi Access Points to create standardized connections between the Device and the User. In mainstream applications, the process of connection/handshaking between the User and Device (here the user finding and connecting to the Device's Access Point) must be more instantaneous and seamless.