Based in San Francisco, California, BluWrap provides patented oxygen management technology that extends the shelf life of perishable protein such as fish and pork by allowing it to be shipped in all-natural, controlled-atmosphere devices. The BluBuoy device regulates temperature and circulates air while a fuel cell converts oxygen and hydrogen into water vapor. Distributors can monitor the protein throughout the shipping process with a phone or tablet.
Still in the proof-of-concept phase, BluBuoy was not yet robust enough to sustain normal operations. It needed to be smaller, lighter, and more reliable before BluWrap could engage larger scale manufacturing. Under tight time constraints, BluWrap engaged Synapse to help them engineer improvements and realize their revolutionary product.
Synapse firmware, electrical, and mechanical engineers got to work on debugging the BluBuoy prototype design. Through tight collaboration with partner and client stakeholders, our engineers built an easy rapport with BluWrap teams and applied best practices to create an efficient, durable, and functional “golden unit.”
Improving stability during transport
BluBuoy needed to be able to function smoothly and reliably throughout multi-day transoceanic sailings with exposure to fluctuating temperatures and humidity. In order to do so, the device needed some critical functionality improvements, including over-coming limited battery life, data-log download time via wifi, and hang-ups requiring restarts.
Improving power, speed, and the user experience
Synapse engineers identified firmware, electrical, and mechanical engineering issues within the unit and prioritized resolutions based on BluWrap’s constraints.
- Located and fixed loose ends within the code base.
- Altered the device architecture from synchronous to asynchronous to resolve problems such as fuel gauge oversampling being blocked by existing system timing.
- Resolved electrical faults that were hampering functionality.
- Found new temperature sensors to quiet excess noise.
- Reworked the housing for easier access to the inside of the device.
- Created documentation for a large-scale manufacturing build.
Synapse’s work moved Bluwrap to the position of sending a high-quality product to the manufacturer. Ultimately, the redesigned device has allowed suppliers of fresh protein to ship in an environmentally responsible manner while delivering a fresh, high-quality product to their customers.
Fully capable device
Synapse engineers succeeded in developing a more refined prototype that is user-friendly and cost-effective. The BluBuoy “golden unit” offers a smaller and lighter footprint for easier handling, faster temperature and atmosphere data uploads, and improved battery life.
With a more stable electrical system and firmware, BluBuoy can now run uninterrupted for 30 days longer than before. The design improvements also allowed BluWrap to demonstrate the full capabilities of the device in the field and secure an additional round of financing.