Heading up the design team at PowaBand

One of my main ambitions as an Industrial Designer was to, at some point, run the design team at a Start-up. Of course, I thought it would be years until this actually happened, but amazingly this is exactly what I am doing at the moment! The founder of PowaBand Googled ‘Industrial Designer London’, found my work and, after a few chats over coffee, I was part of the team.

So what is PowaBand?

PowaBand is a wearable gaming device that tracks a child’s activity and integrates it into any mobile or console game, giving them rewards, unlocks or boosts. It also has built in mobile and real world payment system, making payments monitorable and trackable by parents.

Taking a look at tech toys for kids

Taking a look at tech toys for kids

What I do there

When I joined PowaBand, the main focus was on developing the business plan and product proposition, so very little had been done regarding the design. So, I was brought on to head up the design and creative direction within the company, developing the product, graphics & consumer marketing. Practically this means overseeing a complete design overhaul of the existing rough concept and putting together a design team, to develop market ready PowaBand products and ecosystem.

Our in house 3D printer working away

Our in house 3D printer working away

What we have done so far

I’ve only been working at PowaBand for a month, but so much has happened since then. We ran a 3 week design overhaul to pivot the design from a watch to a sports band, allowing kids to wear it throughout the day and during P.E. We spoke to a number of kids to get some quick feedback to make sure this second iteration would hold its own when shown to them. This new design will now be used to promote the product whilst we push forward with an in-depth design research process to create the final version of PowaBand that will go to market early next year.

The end result after a 3 weeks

The end result after a 3 weeks

On top of the super quick 3 week overhaul, we spent some time at the Start-Up accelerator Wearable World that we’re part of in San Francisco, raising more funding and securing a hardware partnership with Fullpower. This agreement is going to be incredibly beneficial as they supply all the technology, hardware and supply change management for a vast number of wearable tech products including the Jawbone Up24 and Up move, Nike + running hardware, plus all the new Mondaine and Alpina fitness watches. Effectively this will streamline our whole manufacturing and consumer experience.

Wearable World is base here in the Palace of Fine arts in SF

Wearable World is base here in the Palace of Fine arts in SF

Our backend API is now in development and has reached a stage where it can be integrated into our proof of concept Arduino-based electronics system. So, we are now at a stage where everything is ready for a small marketing push to raise awareness of the concept, whilst we move forward with the real design development. To help with the marketing, we have built our first consumer/investor/developing facing website which is now live. You should check it out here - www.powaband.com

This is why working in San Francisco is amazing!

This is why working in San Francisco is amazing!

What is up next

I have just made our first hire in the form of a great design researcher, who will be working alongside me creating the product which we will kickstart towards the end of the summer. We will also be growing the design team further, initially in the form of a design intern (get in touch if you’re interested), and then later with more technical Product Designers. All of this is in the lead up to producing an extremely well researched, thoroughly designed, technically viable and awesome product!

Check out our first update below!

Rob Bye

Rob Bye, London, United Kingdom

Industrial design and a co-founder of morrama. He has worked at startups and top companies such seymourpowell.