Protolabs Cool Idea! Award Winner, Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty, an innovative compact security device for tracking valuable possessions, is the latest recipient of the Protolabs Cool Idea! Award, a generous service grant which helps companies get their product to market as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To receive a Cool Idea! Award, companies and individuals apply to Protolabs (which has a manufacturing facility in Telford, Shropshire) explaining their product proposal and detailing the benefit the service grant will bring to their business.
Developed and produced in Berlin, Germany, the production schedule for Sleeping Beauty took a significant leap forward thanks to the support from Protolabs, bringing the device to market much sooner than anticipated.
After receiving confirmation of their Cool Idea! Award, product designers at Sleeping Beauty leveraged their service grant by utilising Protolabs’ specialist CNC machining services to prototype and validate the design of their product’s plastic enclosure. With production insight garnered during Cool Idea! Award process, Sleeping Beauty has decided to use low-volume production with rapid injection moulding to facilitate production requirements.
Jakob Lipps, co-founder of Sleeping Beauty, said there are multiple benefits of winning the grant: “In addition to the monetary aspect of receiving the Cool Idea! Award, Protolabs’ design for manufacturability feedback made it simple for us to improve our initial design for production. Working with a single manufacturer made for a smooth transition from machined prototypes to moulded production parts.”
Commenting on selecting Sleeping Beauty as a Cool Idea! Award winner, Larry Lukis, Protolabs founder, said: “In a market cluttered with complex gadgets, Sleeping Beauty is an elegant solution for a variety of common problems. It’s simple and intuitive design makes it well-suited to succeed in the consumer marketplace. For Protolabs, it’s both exciting and rewarding to be able to support Sleeping Beauty as it brings its new device into production.”
Sleeping Beauty uses GSM and GPS tracking to pinpoint the location of an object anywhere in the world within cellular network coverage. Using geolocation technology combined with low-power consumption is a breakthrough design for a mass market product. Using low-power consumption technology, when stationary, the device remains in a sleeping state to conserve power. Once movement is detected, Sleeping Beauty wakes up and sends location data to its owner via push-notification on a smartphone application. This unique sleep capability allows the device to run on a single battery for up to one year.
“Manual irrigation and record-keeping can cause large discrepancies in watering,” said Mist Labs CEO Matt Kresse. “AgPulse creates an immediate opportunity for farmers to understand and conserve water usage, leading to optimized costs and yield.”
Once the AgPulse design was complete and ready to bring to market, Mist Labs needed a manufacturing partner capable of producing injection-molded parts with a high-strength polycarbonate material. The team won the Cool Idea! Award and allocated the service grant towards an initial production run of molded parts. This was a crucial point for the business as they already had orders coming in that needed to be fulfilled.
Sleeping Beauty can be used to monitor automobiles or other valuables in storage, protect homes from intruders, and track shipping containers from destination to destination, among many other potential applications. Sleeping Beauty is primarily targeted at the consumer market, but its creators see promise in businesses-to-business applications in the future. Sleeping Beauty is scheduled to be launched in Europe by December 2016.