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iPolish/iArmor iPhone App Development

iPolish/iArmor iPhone App Development

to : Using Bluetooth Low Energy, we built iPhone apps that let you control the color of your nails.

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Check out photos of this project

Problem

What was the problem to be solved?

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

What was the proposed solution?

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

What challenges arose during the project?

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

What was the technical approach to the project?

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 MongoDB database.

Management

What was the project management approach to the project?

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

Lessons

What did you learn from working on this project?

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

How did this project benefit the client?

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?

Why was Gunner selected for this project?

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.

The Team

Who worked on this project?

Proficiencies

What tools, techniques and methodologies were used on this project?

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Agile

Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams

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Git

Fast, scalable, distributed revision control system

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MongoDB

MongoDB is a document database with the scalability and flexibility that you want with the querying and indexing that you need

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Node.js

Node.js is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications

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Scrum

Scrum is a framework for project management that emphasizes teamwork, accountability and iterative progress toward a well-defined goal.

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Swift

Swift is an innovative new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch.