Designing a Miniature Wireless Health Monitor for Your Pet

The Story

Miniaturizing Technology in the Creation of a Compact and Innovative Wearable Device.

Pets have become an integral part of our families, and when they’re not in the best of health it can be agony. I4C Innovation believes that the health of your pet is too important to wait for your next vet appointment, and they started a mission to give pets a Voyce via their smart wellness collar. They had a highly innovative and technologically advanced platform that allowed remote collection of diagnostic quality vital signs. A well-designed app and website transmitted data directly to your vet and presented relatable, actionable insights. However, the packaging design of the 1st generation device had failed to meet market needs in consumer-acceptance, usability, and reliability. The challenge was to repackage their updated technology in a more streamlined and ergonomic form, while also accommodating a more diverse user-group (not just big dogs, cats and small dogs too!), increasing the battery capacity and signal range, reducing the BOM cost, and addressing issues from the field.

Voyce pet monitoring system
"We really enjoyed working with M3 and the quality of the work was great - we're very happy with the end product." Paul Tupin Director of Engineering
The Details

Brand Identity

As this was their first consumer product, M3 was sure to keep an eye on special considerations like color matching and texture. In parallel to finalizing mechanical details, M3 also worked with the i4C marketing team to redesign the company logo, shore up final branding details, and evaluate refined CMF options.

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    The Details

    Digging Deep

    To create a great product, you first have to define what great really means. M3 began this effort by digging deep to understand the key priorities of internal and external stakeholders and then translated them into success drivers for the product. Having learned that the primary objective was to expand the target market beyond medium to large dogs, M3 identified module size and system flexibility as key success criteria and immediately began to apply this to development of the product architecture.

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    The Details

    Uncharted Territory

    The selected architecture was exceptionally small and tightly packaged - to such an extent that the component density and reduced size of the module were only achievable through the theoretical use of a low-pressure, low-temperature molding process that is typically used only in industrial and military applications. This process, known as LPM, allowed plastic to be injected over the internal components of the module, at once providing fluid ingress protection and a structural housing with minimal impact to size. Two birds, one very tiny stone.

    Voyce PCBAs exposed
    Exploded view of Voyce device
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    The Details

    System Thinking

    The best pet wellness collar isn't worth much if it runs out of juice or goes out of range. To support the updated collar design, M3 also developed conceptual designs for accessory devices, including a charging dock and a wireless gateway.

    Deep Dive

    Because of the general unknowns with this obscure process and the novel use of it in a consumer product, M3 began an early and deep investigation into the process, its limitations, and potential suppliers. Concurrent with these risk-mitigation efforts, M3 continued to refine the concept in more detail: component locations were settled on, internal structures were designed and prototyped, and branding elements were created.

    Risky Business

    Considering the risks of using a new process, M3 worked very closely with the LPM supplier to work out all of the details – everything from material adhesion questions to figuring out how to place components in the mold.

    Rapid Evolution

    To evolve concepts rapidly, M3 iterated through dozens of architecture configurations and exhausted a plethora of potential fluid ingress and structural housing options to save just millimeters on the total size.

    voyce collars and components

    Modular Design

    M3 investigated the need for flexibility with prototypes of modular designs and explorations of module attachment methods and collar materials.

    Voyce is the wellness monitor for dogs that makes wearables vividly relevant.

    PC World

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