W. L. Gore & Associates’ Fabrics Division (Gore) is a leader in the performance apparel industry with pioneering contributions to the science of comfort and protection create fabrics for a range of activities and conditions. Gore fabrics are made to prepare wearers to take on the most challenging environments. They are made strong, durable and impenetrable.
Reliable data for garment field testing
The most conclusive way to ensure GORE-TEX products are fit for use is through lab testing and exhaustive field trials, in which users record activities in a logbook. However, to err is human and trial participants tend to forget what the weather was, how much exercise they actually did and exactly how many times the garments were washed. Simply put, Gore wanted to remove the chance of human error from the prototyping and testing process, take it to the next level and figure out a way to gather reliable data with an IoT solution. That’s when we came in.
How we made the most accurate garment field testing solution in the world
The first thing we did was spread out our product portfolio in front of us and see what we could do with the tools we already have. We knew we had the components that measure temperature, humidity, steps and multiple other environmental aspects. We decided to make the Proof of Concept with the hardware we already had. There were a few challenges with the final design, though: the device had to be waterproof because the garments need to be washed but still be able to measure humidity, measure steps accurately regardless of its position on the body, have a 22-day battery life and, of course, be as small as possible.
With these guidelines, we started putting things together. Waterproof casing, check. Hygrometer, check. 22-day battery life? Let’s make it 140 days. Check. Adaptable pedometer? Our software coder tracked down some serious miles while honing it to perfection. Check. We even made it track the wearer’s level of activity, just in case.
Okay, what else could we do with it? We could make it recognize when the garment is in the washing machine! How about G-forces? Yeah, we could do that. We love to give our clients new ideas and suggestions about added features and we are eager to hear them as well. Towards the end of the process, both our client and we were excited about the product and the software to accompany the gadget itself.
Never settle for less when you can do better!
We made a complete test solution for the client. On top of the small and mighty Thingsee ACTIVITY sensor, we developed mobile applications, services and integrations to make sure the end to end system provided a great field testing experience. Device firmware, applications and support services all came together to exceed our client expectations.
In the end, Gore was more than happy about how the product and the software turned out. The device was smaller and more accurate than requested and some features performed better than anyone expected. For example, through a formal validation process, they found that the pedometer retained its accuracy regardless of its location on the body – useful when testing either footwear or jackets. Despite some challenges, we managed to stay within time limits and budget which obviously satisfied the customer.