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. As a startup company, Ava needed this all on a lean timeline and budget. Synapse assembled a team with deep experience in wearables, consumer medical products, molding challenges, RF, and electromechanical miniaturization. This team was mostly women, a great fit to engineer an innovative women’s health product.
Integration from the get-go
Our engineers collaborated from the start as part of a global product team: industrial design, data science, firmware, testing, and manufacturing. These close relationships enabled an immense amount of innovation—developing necessary product robustness and features—in a very short time with minimal iterations. Our deep experience in wearables allowed us to balance industrial design goals with target product cost and manufacturing feasibility and timelines. We proposed novel approaches to molding strategy and assembly process, allowing Ava to achieve their dream of a slimmer, more attractive product that looked and felt better on the wrist.
Enabling the product vision
To make a product that conformed to the sleek industrial design vision, the electronics had to fit within a 30-percent smaller housing than Ava’s Gen 1 design. We worked closely with Ava to understand the user journey and typical use cases, then redesigned the hardware system to improve measurement performance, include new functionality, reduce cost, improve user experience, and extend battery life. By integrating QA and NPI work, we were able to engineer smart, cost-effective electromechanical solutions that eliminated known failure modes of the Gen 1 device.
Innovations in testing
Accurate body temperature measurement is crucial in tracking fertility. Initial product testing indicated issues with temperature accuracy, so we needed to quickly determine whether the product itself had measurement issues or whether the test method was influencing the results. Upon quick realization that the test setup was not providing a realistic skin-like contact for the bracelet, we prototyped a new tester that better simulated real-life use. This allowed the metal electrode on the bracelet to have a “contact patch” more representative of real skin and eliminated noise from ambient convection on the contacts. Testing yielded accurate, repeatable results, giving us confidence to move the design into manufacturing.
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 in design and manufacturing. By enabling the addition of desired features, improving appearance and fit through size reduction and design improvements, and improving product reliability, Synapse made it possible for Ava to bring their dream product to market.