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Where Art Meets Tech: Conquering Design Challenges for Project Sweet Tooth

26 Jun 2015

Diabetes Care

Chaotic Moon creative technologist Eric Schneider doesn’t like the term STEM.

The acronym (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), he claimed, lacks an important aspect. It should be STEAM, because an absolutely crucial–and often overlooked–discipline and element of everything is Art.

And BASE’s Project Sweet Tooth is no exception.

The endeavor–which seeks to revolutionize blood glucose monitoring and creating a system that seamlessly integrates into diabetics’ lives by integrating the user’s testing kit into their phone case–presented the BASE team with plenty of obstacles on the technical front, but just as challenging was creating the actual design.

“We spend a lot of time trying to make it work,” Schneider said, “but half the battle is making it look good and inviting. If you’re making something that’s complicated from the technology perspective, it has to look friendly enough for someone to want to pick it up. Form and function go hand in hand.”

When creating the case, Schneider and the rest of the BASE team had to take plenty of factors into consideration. For example, given users’ likely attachment to their phone, it’s imperative that the case is comfortable to handle and won’t slide off of the phone when slipped into a purse or pocket. (A solution they’re testing out? Nano-suction tape, naturally.) Another component to consider? The case has to be easily adaptable so they can create versions compatible with different devices.

 A possible Project Sweet Tooth design 

“It’s not just the challenge on the development side—making the case work for Android and iOS,” Schneider said, “but on the design side as well. We’re working with a spiderweb design that would allow us to simply move arms around to fit different devices. It’s materials research, considering whether or not we’ll need to add another headphone jack…Really, the goal is creating something that not only works but is aesthetically appealing, makes sense to the user, and fits their day-to-day needs.”

And the best way to create a product that’s amazing on both the tech and design fronts? By doing what our creative technologists do best: wedging that aforementioned, all-important “A” between the “E” and “M” in STEM.

“A lot of Kickstarters by engineers fail,” Schneider said, “because—while the idea and the bare bones are awesome—they don’t look at the whole picture. Here we focus on it all: the guts, the shell, the skin and the clothes all together. That’s how you solve a problem and create something that’s going to stick, something that people will love.”

Have diabetes or know someone who does? Help the BASE team develop the perfect case design by taking or forwarding on this short survey for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Oh, and read more about Project Sweet Tooth!