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Case Study: iPolish & iArmor

Published 08/24/2018

 

Client Name

Biltmore Technologies

Industry

Consumer Electronics

Start Date

09/01/2013

Target Launch Date

01/01/2015

Actual Launch Date

01/01/2015

Problem Summary

Biltmore Technologies acquired the patents for color-changing nano-technologies via flexible polymers and needed a way to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology, so they created the idea for color-changing nails that could be controlled via an iPhone.

Biltmore needed a company that could build an iPhone app that could communicate with the polymers.

Biltmore Technologies retained Gunner Technology to build a complete hardware and software solution that would allow on-demand control over the opacity and color of consumer products such as fingernails, vehicles, sunglasses and more via Bluetooth Low Energy.

Specifically, iPolish would be a consumer product that allowed purchasers to apply clear coated press-on nails, which they could then change the color of using their iPhone.

Similarly, iArmor was to be a consumer product for homes and automobiles to control tint and privacy by changing the opacity of glass via an iPhone app.

Solution Summary

Gunner Technology proposed using the Bluetooth Low Energy API on the iPhone SDK to communicate to a customized “wand” which would in turn communicate with the substrates on the polymers.

Challenges

In this section, you’re going to explain any challenges that were faced or are anticipated to be faced – such as tight deadlines, iterations with unknowns, etc. Also include how you plan to or did overcome these challenges (Good Question for both Client/Stake Holder and Gunner to answer)

Where to begin.

This was something that had never been done before so we had to figure out a number of things.

First thing was fingering out how to develop a custom color picker that limited the colors to that which the substrate/polymers would allow.

Second, we had to solve the challenge of converting an RGB value on a back-lit screen to a CMYK value on a real-world, front-lit object (the nail).

Finally, we had to figure out how to communicate to the wand using BLE.

Technical Approach

Most of this work was all front end, however, there was a back-end component of this as well and that involved saving preferences and authentication.

For this, we used node.js with a Mongo database.

Project Management Approach

We took an Agile Scrum approach to this project with many research sprints.

We kicked the project off with a research sprint and then held development sprints until we ran out of knowledge and had to have another research sprint.

Our iterations were one-week long each and all development sprints ended with a product demonstration via a potentially launchable product

Project Roles

  • Cody Swann – Engineer
  • Dary Merckens – Front-end Developer
  • Cody Swann – Backend Developer
  • Lisa Brignac – Project manager

Proficiencies Used

  • BLE
  • Node
  • Mongo
  • Research Sprint
  • Development Sprint
  • Agile
  • Potentially Launchable Product
  • JavaScript
  • Iteration
  • IPM
  • Swift

Lessons Learned

We learned so much about BLE and also the mathematics behind color – especially the difference between the additive color model and the subtractive color model and converting between the two.

Benefits

Unfortunately, Biltmore could never figure out how to make the substrates last in direct sunlight so the nail polish idea never took off.

However, Biltmore was able to use iPolish as a demonstration that raised capital for the company from investors including Dean Woodman.

Why Gunner Technology?

Gunner was one of the first companies to have production Swift applications in the wild and we used it to quickly write up a demo for Biltmore to illustrate our vision.

This show-and-tell was enough to convince Biltmore to go with us.

Project Screenshots

ipolish - Cody Swann