Existing or not existing
We make things that don't exist yet, or we make something that exists differently.
One of Europe's leading providers of educational products and services contacted us in order to develop a box with "Sounding Stamps". Normally, and since decades, schools have been using traditional rubber stamps.
"Can you add a speaker, a battery and some electronics to this little stamp so that it generates the sound that belongs to it?", was the question.
Initially the project was doomed to fail since adding a battery and a speaker to all individual stamps would not only present a production budget problem, but also a maintenance problem. After all, batteries need to be changed every year or so. Also, this approach would introduce huge mechanical challenges.
By means of several sessions of interviewing, studying and proposing, we developed the idea of adding electronics to the box instead of the stamp itself. This way the project became a lot more feasible. It should be noted that during this phase the co-operation with our customer's, as experts in the area of competence, was highly valued.
Now the product is being used at hundreds of schools in Europe.
The solution exists of having each stamp fitted with a small (6 x 12 x 3 mm) RFID transponder as used in key fobs for access control systems. The more costly electronics is housed in the cover of the box in which the stamps already used to be sold. For this reason this cover was made slightly higher.
In the cover, which now also serves as a solid base for pressing the stamps onto the A4-sized sheet of paper, there is a speaker, pressure sensors and the electronics board. The electronics board implements an RFID reader system, micro-controller system, sound memory and, last but not least, the memory to audio converter.
This project illustrates that an apparently impossible project can be realized when carefull study is done on what is actually needed and what would be acceptable for the end-users.
Sounding Stamps in elementary schools