Elameno approached Sherpa in two key phases of their project: first to design and prototype a new WiFi parental control device to secure VC funding, then to develop the short-run production design for user testing.
A Physical Prototype for VCs
When we teamed up for the first phase, their team came ready with the industrial design sketches and renderings of the branding, ID concept, prototype electronics, and phone app user interface. From here, they looked to Sherpa for our expertise in mechanical engineering to develop the physical enclosure for the WiFi control electronics, backup battery, connectors, buttons, and LED array. Our team accomplished that, designing and printing parts in an SLA for a show-ready prototype.
The prototype supported Elameno in connecting with a VC firm that decided to invest in a short tun for user testing, and Elameno again turned to Sherpa for the design of that product.
Engineering Solutions for a Sleek Surface Design
Our engineers worked closely with their team to rapidly define new PCB board dimensions, develop the plastic enclosure, and align its design with all considerations for fit and finish.
Their industrial designer envisioned a sleek, cubic form with no visible screws anywhere on the exterior. We solved for that with a four-pronged fixture snap system to connect the front and back inside the main housing cover — no screws required. When our engineers identified the need for vents in the enclosure, we arranged them hidden in the cut-lines flanges between the outer housing parts.
To allow the LED light to shine through the plastic cover for a pleasing white glow and disappear when turned off, we fine-tuned the cover piece with a super thin wall and appropriate ribbing around it.
Manufacturing Support and Successful Launch
We then equipped them with a detailed drawing package ready to hand over to their selected manufacturers in Asia and consulted them on further refinements for manufacturability.
The product launched in 2015 as Circle by Disney to rave reviews from tech blogs and quickly went from online-only sales to availability in big box stores. Over the next few years, Circle continued to make waves in its market, racking up accolades from the likes of the New York Times, Good Morning America, NPR, Bloomberg, Tech Crunch, Wired, Forbes, and others. Sherpa’s enclosure design remained in production until the release of a new version in 2019.