Los-Angeles based SmartMat is the world’s first intelligent yoga mat and featured in BBC, Forbes, CNN, CNBC, Mashable among several others.
Using a combination of artificial intelligence and advanced sensors, it provides users with real-time feedback for better body alignment, posture and balance while practising yoga.
A Sleek & Appealing Re-Design
To appeal to it’s target demographic, the SmartMat’s advanced technology needed to be complemented with a modern and elegant design - in short, “the Apple of yoga mats”
The existing pink plastic prototype just didn’t cut it.
The SmartMat early prototype (pink) that needed a re-design.
Hold the tablet/iPad at a specific angle.
Sturdy enough to bear the weight of a person in case someone steps on the front housing accidentally.
Firmly hold the PCB and it’s connection with 21,000 piezo-resistive sensors.
Should be easy to roll the mat.
Apple-like, minimalist design
Going Above and Beyond
The SmartMat team, after having worked on the prototype for several years, were well aware of the challenge in meeting all the requirements equally well. So they only hoped for simple changes in the existing prototype’s CMF to get as close as they could to an Apple like aesthetic.
But we felt there was a potential for an actual ‘re-design’ that goes much beyond simple cosmetic changes and adds real value. After discussion with the client about a new design direction, we set out to gather inspiration from various sources.
With the casing being 2 feet long, an aluminum extrusion based design was a much better, cost effective alternative to the injection molded plastic.
Aluminum provides a premium look, a better strength/weight ratio and is great for heat dissipation too.
The extrusions could be closed off with plastic end caps to let the EMI radition pass for wireless connectivity to the tablet.
Trusses provided the inspiration for a triangular form of the product.
This shape provides sturdiness in case the user steps on the mat, provides support for the tablet that needs to be placed in front of the mat and is easier to integrate the PCB.
Design That Adds Real Value
This project is a perfect example of how design should not merely be limited to cosmetic changes to the product’s appearance alone, but should be looked at from a holistic perspective considering the engineering constraints, manufacturing as well as business goals in order to add real value for all the stakeholders involved.
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