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Director of Electronics Michael John Lynch gave us insight into the progression of Prevayl®, the importance of a tight-knit team and his predictions for the future of hardware.
You’re one of the leading inventors at Prevayl, why is IP an important part of hardware?
I’ve been fortunate to have previous experience working with IP in the wearables space. I have seen first-hand the value it holds for businesses and Prevayl’s ingrained approach to IP was a big attraction for me personally.
We have developed a great product that spans across a range of development streams. Protecting it with patent applications and design registrations ensures that all of the hard work that has gone into bringing those ideas to fruition does not go to waste.
What kind of problems did the hardware department face during COVID-19 and building a product?
Our challenges over these strange times have predominantly come from the team being separated for several months during the lockdown earlier this year.
In order to combat access restrictions to equipment, where possible duplicate equipment was sought so every team member had what the needed to work without any delays or bottlenecks.
We also experienced some prototype production delays and many other hurdles externally which made it necessary for the team to pull together and make some tough decisions.
I’m proud to say we have stayed on track, met our deadlines and are excited for the next crucial stage of development.
Why has Prevayl chosen to work with manufacturers all over the world instead of just using UK based manufacturers?
There are several pros and cons over where manufacturers are based, from the outset we want to work with the best, regardless of location.
We have tried to make informed and ethical choices with a view to keeping fabrication times down, costs acceptable and building strong relationships that will enable Prevayl tech to progress through our next stages of development.
Why does Prevayl do so much testing on its products?
Testing is everything! We are working hard to build a product that people can depend on, based on real-time data-driven insights to make truly positive changes with confidence.
Even subtle improvements are reliant on many millions of points of test data. In addition to the expansive testing we perform in-house, we collaborate with external test houses with many decades of experience to support our efforts.
What do you think we can expect from the world of hardware by the end of 2020?
2020 has been an interesting year for wearable tech, in no small part because of the pandemic and the rising interest in measuring personal health data of ourselves and our loved ones.
The Financial Times ran an article recently emphasizing the advantages of ‘proactive, predictive healthcare’ and reported on the NHS’s partnership with British health start-ups aiming to monitor the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
At Prevayl we’re looking forward to providing a comparative, advanced level of insight that draws on the full array of biometrics available.
This year has also seen a rise in people taking charge of their physical fitness. Being stuck at home in lockdown has pushed many of us to take steps (literally) to get in shape.
With many still based fully or partially working remotely, having tangible feedback about our health and wellness is invaluable.
Your team has grown significantly over the past few months, why was this important to Prevayl’s success?
We have been incredibly fortunate to have onboarded some truly talented and passionate people to the hardware team since Christmas without whom, very simply, we would not have the product we do today.
All our engineers, designers, testers, developers and researchers are owning their respective areas. The team here are well and truly fuelled by passion, and that passion translates into pride and ownership of their work.
How does the hardware at Prevayl differ to what you have worked on previously?
I’ve been really fortunate to work on some truly ground-breaking advancements in technology and have learnt (the hard way) how not to do wearables.
The wearables market is highly competitive in nature, filled with players big and small that have already set a high bar. It was crucial from the outset that we needed to excel in a number of areas to outperform the competition, whether it be in comfort of our garments, quality of data or the insight we provide.
Starting with a clean sheet design has been refreshing as we aren’t relying on outdated legacy work. This has allowed us to explore and evaluate novel ideas with the best being implemented into the product quicker.
What industries do you see Prevayl hardware being used in and why?
The global wearables market accounted for 181.5 million units in 2019, and it is expected to reach 520.1 million units by 2025.
Most wearable devices are non-invasive and commonly used in medical and fitness-related applications. It’s no surprise that this growth relies on the ability to connect people and devices seamlessly. Smart technology is becoming the norm for consumers.
We’re seeing smaller, lightweight devices appearing in consumer or at-home patient care markets. These are not only used for diagnosis, but for monitoring, rehabilitation and fitness purposes.
It’s clear that the widespread adoption of these devices by the medical community is growing, influenced strongly by the device capability of collecting and processing invaluable data without compromising the comfort or convenience of the user.
Our seamless technology integrates easily into this market as we are able to provide advanced insight in many areas, such as readiness and overall recovery.
The need for lighter and smaller devices, which still guarantee optimal performance and reliability, keeps pushing innovation forward. Here at Prevayl we have been able to solve a number of problems that often arise with connected clothing while still putting the user’s comfort first.
Great success is achieved when innovation and technology are transferred from one industry to another. The link between the military and innovations in the medical market got tighter in early 2018 when the FDA and the Department of Defense introduced a joint program to bring the latest medical innovations to the field in order to save more soldiers’ lives.
This close collaboration brought many breakthrough medical technologies to military personnel. It’s easy to see where Prevayl’s offering could be utilised in a number of the future soldier programmes.