Wave is a wearable MIDI controller, a smart ring that lets you control sound, shape effects and send commands with the motion of your hand. Genki Instruments came to Haltian with a fantastic idea of a product, but they needed a partner to get it into production. Haltian and Genki worked closely together throughout the entire project and now Wave is in mass production on schedule, and on budget.
(video + text “Icelandic Startup, Genki Instruments, is a music technology hardware company based in Reykjavík. The founders of Genki Instruments have a lot of musical background and history with controlling music effects with different kinds of equipment.”)
Kick-off meeting in Finland
Our journey with Genki began when they contacted Haltian to perform an analysis of their existing concept design for possible improvement recommendations. We invited the guys from Genki to come to Finland for a kickoff meeting in February 2018.
Genki had an earlier mechanics concept but there was still a lot to be done to get it into mass production. The design was complicated and very expensive to manufacture. In addition, the design was not finished, and needed a lot of work.
After the concept was presented, Haltian Senior Mechanics Specialist, Tomi Hautala, stood up after a brief moment of thinking and drew a new plan on the board on how the product could actually be made with a reasonable price.
Haltian was chosen to do the concept development and eventually the entire product development process because of our expertise in getting products into production as well as our open and relaxed attitude.
Some of the initial requirements for Wave were as follows: the ring needed to be small and sleek, it should have at least 4-hour battery life, and it should be one size fits for all.
How to get from and idea to a ready product plan
During the concept development phase, Haltian made many revisions and suggestion to the first mechanics concept, designed a manufacturing strategy, and estimated the price and duration of the project. We also gave an estimate of the final price of a single product.
NOT JUST FOR THE CLIENT, BUT WITH THE CLIENT
We at Haltian value transparency and co-operation in all our work. The entire project with Wave was made in close collaboration with the people from Genki. According to Aimo Alaniemi, the Project Manager, communication with Genki was almost daily. This way the project moved forward quickly and the product became what the client wanted it to be.
The consept also included consultation on the best place for production. We estimated the cost of productization, including the mechanics tools, type approvals, testing, and the testing equipment.
The actual work with Wave started in August 2018 after the concept development phase was done.
Get your startup going
During the approximately ten-month development phase, Haltian helped and consulted Genki Instruments with many difficulties that are common for startups. These included testing, certificates, production, the logistics chain, and more.
Haltian made the software needed for production testing, while the actual software for the product came from Genki themselves. Haltian also planned and designed the antenna and battery that would fit the product. In addition, we helped Genki Instruments find the right mechanics suppliers through our extensive network.
Haltian knowhow and networks also came useful in many logistics questions, such as how an Icelandic startup could ship products to EU and beyond.
It was clear from the beginning that the ring should be made with just one size – it would be easier to produce. Then, it was just the question of figuring out how to do it. The solution was the strap, which is possibly one of a kind for rings. Wave can fit to basically any finger, is comfortable to wear, and stays on no matter how much you move with the music.
The final version of the Wave smart ring has 3 control buttons, up to 8 hours of battery life and a LED MATRIX display. It’s Bluetooth MIDI compatible and it works with all major music software.
FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
In the beginning, we had planned to have the first prototypes ready in February 2019. But as it happened, the client needed prototypes to showcase at the 2019 NAMM Show in January. No problem: we sped up the process and got them some 10 working prototypes in record time.
Getting the product to market with fewer costs
The result of the Wave project are quite amazing: the product was made on schedule, it matched the client’s expectations, and it was made with fewer costs that were initially planned.
With a custom made curved battery we managed to get the battery life from the wanted 4 hours to 8 hours. The design is beautiful and modern, and as we integrated everything to a very small design, the ring can be worn comfortably while playing any instrument.
In addition to all, Wave is very simple to assemble in production!
It can easily be stated that Genki Instruments is a fantastic client: they had a good, clear vision of what their product should be like and what it should do. In addition, they were fun to work with!
Big thanks to everyone involved!