It’s with sadness that I write this last blog post from the Shockeys…
What a year have we spent together!
We have reached Milestone 5 with pride! We were able to show our working PCB as well as the final design of our headband. Of course, we are far from a perfect product, nevertheless with the time we had at our disposal and the coronavirus situation, we are all pleased with what we have achieved!
Thus, the CHIC program with the full team has ended…but let me explain our journey again.
We started in October with the creation of the Resourceful team. I was absent, and I only discovered the full squad after the kick-off weekend. But, we rapidly got along with each other! From the start, we planned weekly meetings to establish a good work dynamic.
Our first challenge was to choose an opportunity. We all agreed to work on something helpful and not “just another gadget”. We explored many ideas, and after a lot of interviews in the medical field and sports, we realized that concussions are a real issue. The more we investigated, the more we understood how bad the existing approach was at detecting concussions, and the more we were convinced we could change this! So we arrived at milestone 1 to present our opportunity space.
Once our opportunity was chosen and well defined, we still needed to find the best solution for our problem. We thought about many different ideas, and some were really crazy (eggs?). Nevertheless, thanks to the positive atmosphere in our team, even the craziest ideas were considered. After thorough market research, literature review, and more interviews, we concluded that the best way to detect shocks was by using a headband under the helmet. We finally presented our solution at milestone 2, where our supervisors seemed really happy!
With this positive feedback in mind, we jumped into the design phase of our product. We continued to work on our MVP we had started during our trip at Champery, where we had done some early prototyping. Marine was working hard to find the best design, Nicolas was considering different business models, and all three engineers were working on the firmware architecture. We had a solid overview of our product to show at milestone 3!
Now things began to accelerate, as we only had two months left to finish everything. We assigned a duty to each engineer. Maëlick was responsible for the software, Diane for the firmware, and Taavet for the hardware. Marine and Nicolas continued to work on the design and the business plan, respectively. Our motivation was flying high until the pandemic hit Europe… It was hard. All hockey clubs had to close, and we could no longer carry out any tests or get feedback from our end-users. Worse, we couldn’t even work altogether, and many manufacturing services were down. It was a hard period for the Shockeys, and motivation started dwindling. Nevertheless, we learned how to work differently with the imposed constraints. We pushed through, and we managed to show a convincing design as well as the schematic of our first PCB at milestone 4.
The final stretch before the last milestone. The team got its original motivation back, and we made huge progress in all areas of the project. We also took the time to create our logo. After some brainstorming, we chose the woodpecker as our symbol because it’s an animal often used in research about concussions. Thus we were ready for Milestone 5.
So it is the end of our story…or is it? No!
It’s maybe the end of our story as a full team, but the engineers will continue to improve our prototype in September during a summer school in Switzerland! * Cry of despair in Cantonese… *
Thanks for following our journey and stay tuned for more after the summer break!