Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things

How would you feel if details about your personal life and most intimate activities were being collected without you knowing about it? Well the BBC reported last week on a legal case brought against Canadian firm Standard Innovation, manufacturers of the We-Vibe range of sex toys, who were accused of tracking data generated by thousands of their customers using We-Vibe products.
Cybersecurity and the IOT Article Image - Sated An app called We-Connect used with the We-Vibe vibrator relayed data on things like temperature, settings and usage back to the company. Feeling that their privacy had been violated, customers of Standard Innovation filed a class-action lawsuit against them in September 2016, resulting in Standard Innovation agreeing to compensate US customers and updating its privacy notice and app security.

The BBC report also detailed how the flaw with the app came to light, reporting on a pair of hackers who had demonstrated at a US hacking convention how the data could be sent from the device to the company. They also showed how malicious third parties could not only intercept data from the device, but more worryingly could possibly take control of the vibrator itself, in their words, committing “potentially sexual assault”.

The We-Vibe is an example of the ever-growing ‘Internet of Things – physical products and devices embedded with electronic components enabling them to connect to the internet. While the Internet of Things has already been around for a few years now, teething trouble like Standard Innovation’s story show that it remains very much in its infancy and there is still a lot work needed to bring it to maturity.

Reports such as this one from The Guardian also highlight the growing risk of criminals or terrorists hijacking internet-enabled devices to launch cyber-attacks, by exploiting deficiencies in, or lack of, in-built malware protection. One common type of attack is called a ‘distributed denial-of-service’ (DDoS) attack and involves a flood of data requests being sent to a website from a network of compromised devices, essentially overwhelming it and bringing it down. With an influx of new connected devices now coming online, the potential for such attacks is expected to significantly increase.

There are now several tasks ahead for manufacturers as a whole. One is to take heed of Standard Innovation’s cautionary tale and recognise that while the Internet of Things is a brave new world of technological wonder and commercial possibility, dangers and pitfalls exist that can have dire consequences, not only for unwary businesses but for the wider global community. The second is to determine exactly what these devices should be doing and agree a standard or best practise. Until such standards are in place Sated Design would urge all manufacturers to include cyber security as part of their product risk assessment reviews.

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Another Sated Design on its way to completion

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Lead times

Lead times are important to a project whatever the time of year. During the last few months of any year it is even more important to be aware of lead times than usual. This is because Christmas and Chinese New Year are on the horizon and their effect on a project’s lead time should always be borne in mind. At Sated Design we always make sure to advise clients of the effects of upcoming events to their schedule and if enough notice is given make sure they get to production with parts reviewed, checked and shipped before the factory finishes for the holidays.

Progressing Projects

Sated Design look to progress projects swiftly so that our clients can see samples return from the manufacturer as soon as is possible. We recently worked on a project which ran from concept to production issue in just over a month. This was an involved project that included Sated Design providing research, testing and a fully functioning prototype as well as the CAD design, costing and a comprehensive production issue.

Quick Lead Times

Sated Design make it possible to achieve quick lead times by using time compression techniques, an example of which was used at the start of this project. Concept design is progressed with the use of hand sketching this has a faster turnaround time than CAD and is suited for quickly exploring lots of different options. Throughout the project, up to the point of the production issue we maintain a dialogue with the tool maker to ensure a smooth hand over.

Communication

But Sated Designs involvement does not stop at the production issue. We communicate with the tool maker as tooling progresses to help ensure that the project arrives on time and at the agreed quality. It is very satisfying to work in cooperation with manufacturers and clients so they can arrive at a point where tooling commences promptly with samples production following on.

If you have a new adult product idea or an existing product you want to develop for this fast moving market, we are the people to help you get there and succeed. Give us a call on 01626 774881 for a free of charge, confidential initial consultation.

Let’s Create Something Great Together
Contact us today
[email protected]

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Choosing a plastic Part 2

Which plastic should I choose?

There are literally thousands of different plastics and plastic alloys, with more being added to the list monthly. sex-toy-plasticsBelow are a selection of the plastics you will encounter in products you use every day.

Generalised qualities of some plastics?

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

A polymer of styrene (providing a shiny, impervious surface), polybutadiene (for rubbery toughness), and nitrile monomers (which bind the chains together for additional strength), ABS is commonly used for lightweight injection mouldings such as remote controls, automotive trim, and toys.
* Poor UV-resistance
* Poor stress cracking resistance
* Low water absorption
* Good resistance for diluted acids and bases
* Good oil resistance
* Good scratch resistance
* High surface hardness
* Good impact strength

Polyethylene (PE)

A semi-crystalline thermoplastic with a high degree of toughness and very good chemical resistance. When compared to other plastics, it exhibits low mechanical strength and temperature resistance, however this can be improved by using grades with higher molecular weights. Primarily used in packaging, it is also used in varying grades for piping, chopping boards and even knee replacements.
* Low density compared to other materials
* High impact resistance, even at low temperatures
* Good resistance to wear
* Minimal moisture absorption
* Excellent chemical resistance
* High corrosion resistance
* Non-stick

Polypropylene (PP)

Another semi-crystalline thermoplastic, which resembles HDPE, but exhibits higher strength, rigidity and hardness. PP is, however, sensitive to impact at temperatures below freezing point. The chemical resistance is comparable to PE. PP is widely used in applications from flip-top bottle caps, furniture, rebar supports, and alternatives to laboratory glassware.
* Low density compared to other materials
* Minimal moisture absorption
* Excellent chemical resistance, even to solvents (but this means labels may not adhere to it)
* Highly corrosion resistant
* Relatively high superficial hardness

Nylon 6

Although Nylon was originally developed as an alternative to silk, modern grades of nylon are extremely versatile and can be used in engineering applications such as gears, engine fittings, and even toothbrush bristles. Other grades of Nylon (Nylon 12) are used in cosmetics and sports apparel.
* Balanced toughness and rigidity
* Capacity for hardness level adjustment
* Extremely high impact strength, also down to -40°C
* Good abrasion and wear resistance
* High energy and shock absorption
* No brittle fractures under pressure or impact loads
* Extreme wall thickness variations can be realized in the moulded component
* Ready integration of inserts and reinforcement materials and fillers

For help in readying your design for manufacture, and ensuring that your materials selections are optimal, contact Sated Design and discuss your project with us.

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Choosing Plastics Part 1

adult-toy-plasticsChoosing the right plastic for your application can be a fraught exercise, with many different criteria and considerations to bear in mind. Sated Design have the benefit of 50 years combined experience in designing plastic components and products and can help you navigate this crucial process.

Important factors when selecting polymers:

  • Thermal stress – can your product or component survive service without melting or fatiguing?
  • Mechanical stress (yield strength, tensile strength, fatigue strength, crack resistance) – how strong, durable, rigid or elastic does the material need to be?
  • Tribological stress (friction, lubrication and wear) – how much will the component rub or wear down?
  • Chemical stress (resistance to attack by water/oils/acids/alkalines/detergents/solvents) – can it resist damage from chemicals in its environment?
  • Electrical requirements (resistivity/conductivity) – some plastics are excellent at insulating electricity, which may be vital for meeting product safety requirements. Other plastics allow electrical charge to flow through them, which may be useful for delicate instruments.
  • Optical requirements (light transmission %, clarity, frequency v opacity) – while many plastics are ‘clear’, there are varying degrees of clarity and transmission, which may be crucial for cosmetic or optical applications.
  • Combustibility and burn (glow wire, UL V rating, toxicology of smoke) – the resistance of plastics to burning, and their danger once alight are vital factors in designing safe products. Even the acridity and thickness of smoke can be a consideration when designing for public spaces.
  • Weather resistance (extremes of temperature, water absorption) – will you product be used in a Scandinavian winter, or a summer in the Sahara? Or both? Many plastics will absorb water, which may affect their mechanical performance.
  • Radiation exposure (UV and gamma) – not all grades of thermoplastics are suitable for outdoor applications. Materials that are not UV stable will change both in appearance and molecular structure when exposed to UV, and over time can become brittle, crack, change colour, warp and suffer stress crack formation.
  • Physiological safety (food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, wearable) – some plastics contain or leech harmful chemicals. Strict standards must be met for ensuring that plastic products are safe for humans.
  • Environmental safety (biodegradability, ecological contamination) – PLA will decompose within 90 days to form CO2 and water. PVC does not readily decompose, and when it does it releases toxins.
  • Recycling during production and at end of life – moulding plastics creates waste in the form of sprues and scrap. How this waste, as well as the end product is disposed of are important to consider.
  • Cost for purchase and cost for processing – as well as the cost of the raw material, the amount of time the material takes to fill the tool and cool all adds cost.
  • Processing and handling requirements and manufacturers preferences for drying/handling/masterbatching – special colours, alloys or additives may need to be custom mixed. Degradable plastics and those with hygroscopic characteristics may need special storage or treatment.
  • Special factors – UL yellow card certification, colour availability due to additives, compatibility with adhesives and joining techniques. There are any number of other factors which will influence materials selection, and each design specification is different.

Benefit from Sated Design’s 50+ years of plastics experience to help you make the best selection for your project.

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Is my product idea feasible? Part 2

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Feasibility Studies are a crucial tool in ensuring your project gets off to the best start in the right direction. Catch up on Part 1 of Is my product idea feasible? Which explains the benefits of Feasibility Studies, how to get the best from them and how they help you to visualise the end goal.

3) Understanding Design Standards

It is important to be aware of statutory requirements for your product before you develop your design any further. These standards will govern elements like size, shape, materials, construction, emissions and immunities, and end of life considerations of the product, so having an understanding of them ahead of time is a big advantage. This is especially true if you plan to sell the product in multiple territories, each with different standards. A brief summary based on a cursory investigation should be included. Depending on the product this may include information relating to the following:

“CE, General Product Safety Regulations, European Commission Directives, Underwriters Laboratories (US), Trading Standards, Food Standards Agency, Food and Drug Administration (US), Federal Communications Commission (US), Consumer Product Safety Commission (US), standards relating to children, standards relating to electrical devices etc…”

4) Manufacture and Assembly

It is helpful to be aware of manufacturing constraints for the known components and to get the manufacturers advice during the quotation process to ensure that the design is optimised for performance and unit cost. Other constraints include:

– Geographical location and logistics
– Investment cost and amortisation
– Mechanical requirements of parts
– Manufacturability
– Method of assembly
– Quality assurance

5) Running the Numbers –
Preliminary Costings

To determine a realistic budget for a product, it is important to compile a cost breakdown for tooling, parts manufacture, and assembly from manufacturers. This is normally done by submitting requests for quotation along with part and assembly specifications.

Sated Design can prepare specifications for manufacturers to quote against, and depending on the client’s requirements Sated Design can provide this as a pack for the client to issue, or Sated Design can perform a costing exercise and present the client with a finished cost breakdown.

Sated Design’s feasibility study service can help you to make the best decisions for your business before you take the leap into the industrial design process. Get in touch to discuss your project and begin the journey.

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Is my product idea feasible? Part 1

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What is a feasibility study?

In product development, a feasibility study asks whether or not your project is do-able. It should be conducted at the outset of a project against the background context of the business, and it takes into account all factors likely to have an impact, including economic, technical, legal and scheduling aspects.

Will the project achieve the desired effect within the set budget and timeframe? Can you adequately fund the project? Do you have the technical resources to transform your project into reality or will you need to outsource? Will there be any legal considerations or conflicts that arise from your project? Can you achieve your goals within the specified deadlines?

These answers and many others allow business leaders to decide if there is enough potential for the project to succeed or that it is worth allocating resources towards pursuing it further.

1) Prepare – Where Do I Start?

To make the best use of a feasibility study, you should collect together all of the relevant information you have relating to the project. Each project will be different but the following should be considered:

– Costings and budget
– Material preferences
– Target market
– Anticipated life cycle of the product
– Aesthetics & Styling
– Pre-existing or problematic Intellectual Property (IP)
– Funding and investment
– Technological requirements
– Legal requirements and standards
– Milestones and deadlines

2) Visualising Your Product

In most cases, visual images of a product are one of the quickest ways to get feedback from interested parties, collaborators, stakeholders, and users. Most projects will require some form of visual material to communicate ideas effectively. A picture tells a thousand words and Sated Design can help you to tell the best story.

Mood boards, hand-drawn sketches, shaded industrial design illustrations and 3D CGI renders are all examples of visual presentation techniques. The number of images and the techniques used to communicate ideas will vary dependant on time, budget, intended use, and the complexity of the subject.

Coming up in Part 2 – Understanding Standards, Manufacture and Assembly, and Running the Numbers – Preliminary Costings.

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The Power of Prototypes – Adult Toy Design

Adult toy product design consultant

Sated Design have many years’ experience producing prototypes for the adult toy industry. They generally fall into five types and cover many applications.

What is an adult toy prototype?

For an Adult Toy Product Design consultancy, a prototype is a preliminary version of a product used for testing and evaluation, so that the design can be optimised as part of its development journey leading to manufacture and launch.

While not all properties can be replicated, experienced prototype makers like Sated Design can produce prototypes which can help stake-holders to make the best decisions for the project. It is important to set out the purpose of the prototype as this is key to how a prototype would be prepared.

Why use sex toy prototypes?

Prototyping is the link between virtual design and real life and is a vital way of testing designs. 2D images can only tell us so much about a product, and there is no substitute for holding something in your hand. The benefit of designing products digitally is that extremely high levels of accuracy and intricacy can be achieved. This paired with modern prototyping techniques such as stereolithography (‘growing’ parts out of laser cured resin) can provide stunning results. The result then allows testing to be carried out – whether it’s for client approval on form and feel of the product, or to inform the designer of adjustments to mechanisms or tolerances on parts that fit together.

The power of a prototype

At some point a human being will interact with a product. The sooner that user interface is evaluated, then the better that interaction could be. It’s impossible to overstate how important prototyping is to ensuring an effective product design and development process, delivering the optimum results and a great end-user experience.

Prototypes with purpose

Sated Design have many years’ experience producing prototypes. They generally fall into five types and cover many applications. Read more

Adult product design company

Sated Design have extensive experience in all types of prototyping for new adult sex toy product development. No matter what stage your project is at or what your prototype requirements are, we can help.

Let’s Create Something Great Together
Contact us today
[email protected]

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Prototypes with Purpose – Adult toy concepts

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Adult toy product design company

Sated Design have many years’ experience producing prototypes for the adult toy industry. They generally fall into five types and cover many applications.

1. Sex Toy Cosmetic Prototypes – ‘looks like’

Used for evaluating product form, feel, ergonomics and styling, we use this prototyping level for marketing, photography, video, and focus groups. This kind of prototype will feature accurate likenesses of product forms, materials, finishes and surface textures but only from one or two elevations. The level of detail and the ‘wholeness’ of the prototype are often dependent on the application and the client’s budgetary constraints.

2. Adult Toy Proof of concept Prototypes – ‘works like’

A test-rig. This kind of prototype functions electromechanically in the same way as the final product.  This type of prototype is very useful as a proof-of-concept, demonstrating novelty for Intellectual Property, or to communicate core functionality. For example suction, vibrator motors, moving parts, or detachable accessories. What it doesn’t do is look exactly like the finished product – some or all of the external form may be cut away or missing, and the prototype is more ‘functional’ than cosmetic.

3. Sex Toy Presentation Prototype

The prototype is functionally and visually identical to the final product – sufficient to take the design to a meeting with potential buyers or investors, or to trial with product testers. Materials may not be the same as in production, and some manufacturing details such as draft angles will be missing but that would not be apparent. High definition 3D printed parts are common for this kind of prototype.

4. Pre-production Facsimile Prototype

Launching a product is a big leap, so it is crucial that our clients are confident that the designs we produce for them are right. To enable our clients to proceed with confidence, we use prototypes which mimic, as closely as possible, the product’s intended mechanical and aesthetic characteristics and manufacturing details. As well as for final sign-off, this kind of prototype is often used for achieving certification. While specific production-grade injection moulding polymers or casting alloys are not always available for prototyping, parts will typically be prepared from the closest possible material.

5. Sex Toy Prototype tooling

Where a product requires a very large tooling investment or will be produced in very high quantities, it is often recommended to produce a prototype tool to enable verification of the product before final commitment. These tools are usually single cavity, and made from softer steels or aluminium and can be used to produce small runs (up to 5000 typically) of finished parts. There have even been recent advancements in 3D printed tooling which can save thousands of pounds and cut weeks from the development schedule. Sated Design have experience of helping companies prove and deliver high-stakes tooling and can help your company make the leap with confidence.

Product Design Prototype – deadline looming

As well as a large catalogue of external suppliers for all manner of prototyping services, Sated Design has an in-house prototyping capability, enabling our expert model-makers to produce high-quality prototypes with fast turnarounds. Our facilities include:

• 4-axis CNC milling machine
• 3D printer
• Model-making workshop with extensive tools and materials
• Low-melt alloy casting
• Foam modelling
• Basic PCB manufacturing
• High quality, short lead time silicone parts. A wide range of colours, hardnesses and other effects are available, from solid colours to flesh-like appearances. We can offer a range of options to produce silicone parts to suit your project and budget.

If you have a new adult product idea or an existing product you want to develop for this fast moving market, we are the people to help you get there and succeed. Give us a call on 01626 774881 for a free of charge, confidential initial consultation.

Let’s Create Something Great Together
Contact us today
[email protected]

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Yet More Sex Toy Product Design Awards

Electrastim Jack Socket ETO 2016 Awards| Sated DesignElectrostimulation Sleeve ETO Awards Winner 2016| Sated Design

Sex Toy Product Design Awards

Electrastim picked up the Erotic Trade Only (ETO) award for ‘Most Innovative New Product’ for their Jack Socket E-Stim Stroker at the annual ETO Show which took place on Sunday 12 and Monday 13 June.

ETO Show is one of the largest European trade shows for sex toy manufacturers and retailers, so the awards are always eagerly anticipated by the industry.

Congratulations to the innovation product award winners

Andy Smith from Electrastim said, “It’s such a great honour to take ‘The Most Innovative Product trophy, given the many sex toys nominated. It just goes to show how far the company has come and that e-stim sex has progressed from niche fetish. In just a few short years, we are now a double award-winning electro-stimulation sex toy manufacturing company”, concluded Andy.

“The best part was seeing Andy on a high especially having heard he was up till the early hours celebrating”, said Chris Howsam, Managing Director at Sated Design. Chris continued, “I know Andy will be delegating the drive home after his long and successful weekend. It was great to catch up on the Monday with some of our other clients and see the successes they were having and get an update on the whole industry.”

It’s not just here in the UK the Jack Socket has been recognised, it has gone global and has also picked up the award for Most Innovative Male Product at the 2016 Australian based Calvista Adultex trade exhibition. Click here to find out more.

Award winning product design input

Sated Design developed the new product with ElectraStim from the initial concept. The device’s compact design and textured, skin-like sleeve made from premium TPE materials allow the male user to experience an exciting and highly controllable stroking action. The stroker is connected to the manufacturer’s stimulator controller devices to achieve a unique experience by synchronising sophisticated electro-conductive silicone and great tactility.

Sated Design developed 3D CAD models and used in-house printing facilities to create complex prototype casting tools, to provide the client with  fully working, cosmetically accurate test units. Fine adjustments were made to optimise the sex toy design with the manufacturer before committing to tooling and production.

Other Sated Design consultancy award successes

This is not the first time Sated Design have developed a product for a client who has gone on to win awards. Doxy won the Coveted Editor’s Award at the ETO Show 2015 where they were exhibiting their new product; the Doxy Skittle. Sated Design also worked with Doxy to develop the Skittle on a very tight lead-time to make sure it was ready for the show. We began the project with concept sketches and took it all the way ready for manufacture. Click here to find out more.

In recent years we have developed products that have:

  • Won the Best Male Product at ETO and others that have been nominated for the category.
  • Won the XBIZ Award for Male Pleasure Product of the Year and also won the Erofame Erotixxx Award for Highest Potential Product.
  • Been listed in the Top 10 Gifts for Men at ETO.
  • Been listed in the Top 100 Pleasure Products at ETO.
  • Appeared in the TOP 10 Sales Chart of the ETO market place listings.
  • Been nominated for the Store Erotica awards.

Chris concluded, “Here at Sated Design we are always thrilled to see our clients succeed and we are proud to have helped them get there. We wish Andy and the team at Electrastim every success with their new product”.

If you have a new adult product idea or an existing product you want to develop for this fast moving market, we are the people to help you get there and succeed. Give us a call on 01626 774881 for a free of charge, confidential initial consultation.

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The client-consultancy relationship

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The client-consultancy relationship within an adult toy product design company

If you have worked with an adult product design company before, or are considering working with one in the future, then this article asks you to consider how the following elements combine to make sure the client-consultancy relationship is effective and achieves the best outcome.

Have a plan for your adult product design

You are both about to embark on a creative journey during which you will discover the needs and requirements of the product or service, given its intended user and environment. The aim is to provide innovative, functional, satisfying solutions using the experience and resources of both parties.

There can be a lot to manage and control within a design project so having a clear plan is vital in making sure that the end goal is met. Both parties should agree on this plan so that key stages throughout the project can be communicated effectively through project meetings and reviews.

These stages might include the processes the project needs to go through, such as concept development or CAD modelling and the date and or time this process needs to be completed by. That being said, some projects can involve very complex development where realistic deadlines need to be considered.

Effective control over the project stages and deadlines will also benefit the other aspects of a product journey which might include meetings with potential investors, manufacturing or trade shows.

Share your knowledge for the adult toy product design

Good communication between the two parties will ensure that the final product is as good as it can be. Product designers are experts in design, but the client is the expert in their particular market. The client generally has valuable information that the consultancy can use to improve the design and vice versa. For example, clients will often conduct market research prior to approaching a consultancy to ensure their product idea has a market to target and sell to successfully.

For a client to share that market research with a consultancy, a full understanding of how the product will be used and who will be using it means the consultancy can return valuable information on obtaining intellectual property or certain standards the product will need to meet. Most importantly from the design point of view is that the consultancy can fully understand how they can create a product that will be a success and meet the needs of the user and the intended use.

Aim to grow the adult toy market

Once a client and the product design consultancy have worked together, developed a successful product and created a strong relationship it often opens the way to working together again. It creates a great basis on which to extend a client’s product range, helping both businesses to grow and improve competitiveness within the respective markets.

This is how Sated Design sees the key ingredients of a successful client-consultancy relationship. If you have a similar vision, let’s start talking and improve the outlook for our existing and potential customers.

Follow the link to our portfolio to see the success we have had with other clients.

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