Holistic Product Development
Bluespan - 2003/2004
ionKids Child Monitor
The ionKids™ system is a portable child-monitoring system consisting of a PDA-like Base Unit and a wireless Wristag. The Base Unit communicates with up to four Wristags and relays their location and distance to a parent via the Base Unit's screen. The system allows parents to monitor their children, alerts them if a child strays too far, and allows the parent to easily and quickly locate a stray child.

ionKids™ draws its innovation from approaching the problem from a system viewpoint instead of an individual product viewpoint. A conscious effort was made to design each of the system's components in parallel. Therefore, each component flows into the next in its physical form, communication, and aesthetic. The system draws from each of its components a significant amount of innovation. Its first innovation was to create a form aesthetic which was deemed trustworthy for a consumer. The Base Unit exhibits the familiar form lines of a PDA or a Cell Phone. By utilizing this aesthetic, the device appears friendly, approachable, and "known". This form language allowed the user to apply existing mental usage models to the design's function. This was crucial as this was a new device in a new category; therefore, its form language had to be immediately comfortable to a user. The Base Unit, which acts like a compass, benefited from the clamshell shape as it yielded the user an ideal ergonomic (and electromagnetic) position for "finding" a child. Similarly, the Wristag follows the same design methodology. By incorporating the electronics into a watchband like form, users automatically understand its desired body location. The use of a band also allows a secure clasp to be utilized, thereby reducing tampering.

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