Ava is a Swiss company committed to transforming the technology of women’s health; they released the first Ava Bracelet, designed to measure and track health data to help women monitor their fertility, in 2016.
After strong reviews, Ava wanted to continue the momentum with a second-generation product that could go beyond fertility and offer more use cases for tracking women’s health. It required improved design and performance, greater reliability, new functionality, and lower manufacturing costs. All on a radically lean timeline and budget. To design Ava’s new product, intended for a 100-percent female market, Synapse assembled a team of mostly female engineers who brought the company’s deep experience in molding, wearables, RF, miniaturization, and mechanical assembly.
Integration from the get-go
Our engineers collaborated from the start with all the project’s work teams: industrial design, firmware, testing, and the client. These close relationships enabled an immense amount of innovation — developing necessary robustness and features — in a very short time with fewer iterations. We immediately influenced mechanical architecture, molding strategy, and assembly process, proposing novel approaches that allowed the client to achieve their dream of a slimmer, more attractive product that looked and felt better on the wrist. It was a high-risk band molding approach, especially for mass wearables, and it was ultimately successful.
Filling the volumetric envelope
With a groundbreaking mechanical architecture in place, electrical and RF engineers had a 30-percent smaller housing in which to fit every desired function of the Gen 2 bracelet, including a highly miniaturized, complex EE design that includes optical heart rate measurements. We worked closely with Ava to understand the user journey and typical use cases, then redesigned the hardware system to include new functionality, improve user experience, and extend battery life. By integrating QA and NPI work, we were able to engineer smart, cost-effective solutions that eliminated known failure modes of the Gen 1 device.
Innovations in testing
Accurate body temperature measurement is crucial in tracking fertility, and the proposed testing method for this function introduced error by not providing a realistic skin-like contact for the bracelet. We quickly invented a new technique that simulated real-life use. The solution proposed allowed the metal electrode on the bracelet to have a “contact patch” much more representative of real skin and eliminated noise of ambient convection on the contacts. Testing yielded accurate, repeatable results.
Synapse’s engineering partnership with Ava allowed the client to bring a highly robust Gen 2 product to maturity on an extremely fast timeline and lean budget. It wouldn’t have been possible without Synapse’s 10+ years of experience in wearables, which allowed our engineers to understand where it was possible to take risks and push the envelope. By enabling the addition of desired features, radically streamlining the appearance, and correcting reliability issues from Gen 1, Synapse made it possible for Ava to bring their dream product — engineered largely by and exclusively for women — to market.