The SEAL SwimSafe objective is to eliminate all accidental drownings of children through its wearable monitoring system. Using patented RF technology, anyone wearing a SEAL SwimSafe band is monitored by a local Hub that checks in with every band in the area multiple times a second to detect and alert lifeguards or parents if a swimmer is submerged for too long.
SEAL’s mission has always been noble and altruistic, which greatly influenced the desire for Trig to partner with SEAL in the design of their swim monitor system. It is hard to believe, but the number one cause of death and severe injury for children 5 and under is drowning. Nearly 90% of drowning accidents take place during adult supervision and often occur in less that 4 feet of water. These statistics are staggering and SEAL set out to change this by developing one of the most important wearable devices to enter the market. With patented RF technology, SEAL developed swimbands to be worn by children while in the water that would constantly be monitored by a nearby device. With the option to set specific swim levels based on a child’s ability, the monitoring hub is truly an invaluable system to “watch” and alert when a child is underwater for an extended period of time.
Trig was brought in to help complete an approachable, easy to use, and simple to understand product family for the SwimSafe wearable and monitoring system as well as take it through to design for manufacture (DFM). The wearable, a swimband necklace, needed to be comfortable as well as versatile for a range of childrens sizes and abilities. Secondly, Trig was tasked with formulating efficient charging methods and designing effective storage solutions to simplify the experience of using the multi-band charging station. Lastly, all of these new developments needed to cohere with the previously designed brains of the operation - the Hub. The Hub’s technology was quick at detecting submerged bands but Trig helped to simplify the warning systems for those split second decisions being made by a parent at home or a lifeguard watching multiple children at an aquatics center.
Developing a system to literally save our children is a daunting task and not one that Trig took lightly. On the path from concept to manufactured products, Trig and SEAL had multiple checkpoints to review the effectiveness of our design. With a product so focused around human factors and human-centered design, it was crucial at each stage to pause and put these concepts through laps of user and scenario testing. Is swimband concept A comfortable for children? Does concept B stay secure while swimming? Will concept C enclosure fit the components needed for audio and visual alerts?
Multiple rounds of iteration were necessary before producing testable urethane cast prototypes that would help inform detail updates crucial for the design for manufacture process. As the product neared production, Trig assisted with coordinating communication with manufacturing vendors regarding items such as material selections & surface finishes while also performing the design adjustments necessary for injection molding. After helping to develop generation 1 of the SwimSafe system, SEAL returned to Trig for assistance in developing a second generation which would include updated components and improved technology. Along with accommodating these technological improvements, our second generation design focused on shrinking the footprint for the commercial 20 swimband charger as well as reducing the cost of manufacturing and bill-of-materials (BOM) used in the system.
Seal had an initial product at the start of our interaction but needed help with refinement of design to really break onto the market. We began by working through the design needs and design inputs that should be focused on during the initial concept redesign. Trig has found that organization of needs and inputs with the client first helps the whole team involved to clearly understand priorities as we work toward a manufactured product. During Gen 1 development of the SwimSafe monitor system, we were challenged with waterproofing the entire system due to the environment the product is used in. We coordinated with SEAL and electrical engineering partners to implement pogo pins charging styles for the swimbands when docked on the system. Another essential area of focus was the breakways closures for the swimbands. For safety reasons these needed to have very specific characteristics to “break apart” at 16lb of force. Through rounds of design refinement, prototype testing and discussions with plastics material experts, we were able to create the ideal geometry for the specific injection molded plastic being used.
Even with the greatest design efforts, first generation products that hit the market always help present areas needing improvement. Real life, in-context situational use is the best way to learn flaws of a design or unintended use of the product.
As Founder and CEO of SEAL Innovation, I have relied upon the team at Trig on many occasions to help us with the industrial design and design for manufacture of several generations of our SwimSafe product line. Over the journey of my startup, I have worked with several product development firms, but we consistently returned to the Trig team to deliver results. I found incredible value by working with Trig to both perform industrial design and mechanical design for the enclosures. The team efficiently balanced inputs from our electrical engineers, design requirements, and production schedule to help us stay on task as we moved to manufacturing. The Trig team has at times become an extension of my team, providing trusted advice, collaborative design inputs, and a sense of continuity over our many years of working together.
Seal strives to prevent children from becoming statistics, and the Trig team was happy to play a part in facilitating that goal. The Seal Swimsafe system has been implemented in multiple aquatics centers and sold to hundreds of households to promote water safety. Designing a successful product is always a pleasure for Trig, but it’s also satisfying to know we are truly helping save lives. We believe our partnership with Seal, through iterations of Swimsafe products, has been a positive influence in bringing awareness and innovation to the surface of this industry.