Rapid Prototyping for COVID Safety

As businesses began to reopen from COVID-19, they needed to automate temperature checks and health screenings.

Applying our rapid prototyping skills, Treetown Tech partnered with 123go.io to create an automated kiosk to perform daily temperature checks, paired with a health screening app .

We started by evaluating the platform requirements and assessing the needs of customers. Within a few weeks, the team had turned those thoughts into a full working prototype.

Rapid prototyping comes with plenty of challenges, including identifying and sourcing components, and finding the right manufacturing capacity. For the kiosk, the team used in-house 3D printing capabilities and machining to quickly manufacture the prototype. Commercial off-the-shelf components were selected to reduce design lead-time and increase product reliability.

In addition to 3D printing for the test stand and calibration assembly, the team utilized in-house CNC machining for IR sensor mounting and field of view control. The IR sensor was calibrated in our electronics lab.

“Off the shelf hardware like a Raspberry Pi, and the ecosystem around it, is a great example of how to rapidly develop a supporting framework,” said Nate Ernst, Partner and Kiosk Project Lead. “In the case of the kiosk, we used a Raspberry Pi, compatible touch screen, and time of flight sensor so we could focus our effort on the details of implementing an IR sensor.”

A 3D printed part is attached to a metal housing. They are placed on a workbench in front of a laptop and mouse.
In-house 3D printing was used to rapidly create custom parts for the temperature kiosk.

With a sudden global need for IR sensors for touchless temperature measurements, IR sensors were difficult to find in traditional supply chains. We turned to our local partners and found sensors that were specially calibrated for use on skin. The supplier also helped us develop the correct field of view limiter for use in the kiosk.

“Working with Treetown Tech was collaborative, iterative, and awesome,” said Dominic Rea of 123go.io. “They got the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish and identified and proposed resolutions to challenges before they became problems. Being able to see beyond the requirements to propose and create what was “needed” instead of just what was “required” made our interactions super efficient. We accomplished over the course of a couple of hour-long meetings what I expected to take weeks or months.”

Treetown Tech believes that hands-on customer discovery is a critical piece of the prototyping process. By delivering a prototype within a few weeks, 123go.io was able to get the unit into customer hands for testing and further refinement.

The automated kiosk will allow businesses to have a more efficient shift change-over. Rea noted that, “The Temperature Kiosk offers a 3-5 second per entrant time-table and handles all the data administration automatically. Less time spent in line means less opportunity to be exposed to germs and getting into your facilities faster and with all the records in order in a centralized reportable system.” The automated kiosk is shown in the video below.

Treetown Tech can bring our engineering expertise and rapid prototyping skills to a wide range of customer challenges. With our in-house machining and prototyping capabilities and our network of suppliers, we bring ideas to life quickly and affordably.

Have an idea that needs prototyping?  We’d love to talk about how to approach it.