Innovate UK Smart Grants

For many the coronavirus pandemic is becoming a catalyst for change, whether it be personal or work related. The phrase “new normal” now resonates on a global scale. For the critics, potentially our “new world” means mass unemployment, recession and a crippled economy. As a result of the lockdown many businesses are facing financial challenges as they head into the final quarter of 2020. New Product Development seems to appear way down on the priority list for a lot of companies, however investing now in the early stages of designing a new product will actually help you be ahead of the game once we regain some global stability.

There are financial lifelines available from the Government to encourage and assist you with this in the forms of kickstart grants and (what we focus on in this article) a new round of Innovate UK Smart Grants.

The latest round of Innovate UK Smart Grants, launched last month, closes at 11am on the 25th November and businesses of any size can apply for a slice of £25 million. This open UK grant funding programme has a specific purpose of supporting game changing ideas to develop new products that have significant global market potential. Applications are welcomed for NPD across all sectors including Sextech, where this industry is reportedly worth over $30 billion and estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 30%.

To be in with a chance of winning a grant, the key to your application is to demonstrate you have clearly considered your new product’s innovation, global market potential and the target customer’s needs. This is where utilising a Product Design Consultancy like Sated Design could be the key to your success.

We can assist with a feasibility study which will demonstrate to the judges that you have determined whether your NPD is do-able. We can undertake a risk assessment which will demonstrate that you have considered the end user of the new product. We can also assist you with completing your application for smart funding and if successful, most excitingly, we can help you make your ideas a reality, taking your product idea to the point of manufacture when it becomes a market ready product!

Our services can be tailored to suit your needs – we are well adapted to itemise our service and can step in and out at any stage. In our online portfolio you will find an extensive list of successful pleasure products we have helped bring to market. We have completed many projects over the last decade – some of which have gone on to win coveted industry awards – and our skills, experience and expertise are invaluable.

Contact us today and let us satisfy your needs for quality, innovation and great product design.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Sated Design welcomes a business boom during lockdown

With the UK reportedly heading for a recession, there’s one industry that appears to be bucking the trend. Sales of sex toys went through the roof during lockdown and job retention schemes have provided many with time and space to take stock and make plans for the future.

These two factors have meant business is booming for one Devon-based company that specialises in designing adult toys and pleasure products for manufacture.

Sated Design have been assisting adult sex toy companies develop quality and innovative products for over a decade, many of which have gone on to win coveted industry awards. Their list of clients range from large international companies, SMEs and lone private inventors.

The team is headed by Director Chris Howsam who has an extensive career in product design spanning 35 years. Operating from his office in Teignmouth, Chris and his team of designers offer a range of services to those looking to develop the next best sex toy product.

Chris explains “what we do at Sated is quite unique. A sex toy has an intimate and personal context that makes them unique to each user. The designer has to be tuned in to the unique ergonomic and psychological aspects of a sex toy and the way in which the user interacts with it. For every new innovation in our lives there will be someone thinking about adapting it into a sex toy!”

He continues “since lockdown in March, we’ve seen an increase in enquiries from lone private inventors with an idea for a new product. We’ve also had enquiries from companies who have a product range already but used their time in lockdown to review what they offer. Coupled with this has been an increase in web traffic to our site sateddesign.com which is up 30% for the same period last year”.

There have been some outstanding innovations over the past years. Products are now more stylish, safer, cleaner and easier to care for then ever before. This has resulted in increased sales globally. Sated Design have been at the forefront of these changes, often pushing the boundaries with complex mechanical design and aesthetic styling.

Chris is often asked what advice he would give to an aspiring inventor, starting out in the world of sex toy design.

His response is always “Keep an eye on the latest advances in manufacturing, electronics, materials, and trends because all of these can be the catalyst for great ideas for sex toys. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to try things because if you want to improve people’s well-being and enjoyment of life through sex toys you design then you might learn a few things for yourself along the way.”

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Human testing vs Artificial Intelligence

Last week Sated’s team read on social media of a new algorithm, developed to validate a female orgasm. The company behind it claimed that by using research data based on changes in heart rate, the software could help sex tech developers test their products.

So we ask do we really need this?

Let’s consider how a tea or coffee producer uses human tasters to help them refine a blend. That is because human reaction provides the “wow data” companies are looking for to make informed choices about how to bring the best possible products in to the market.

For Sex toy manufacturers, there are many elements to testing an adult toy – the orgasm is only one of these metrics.  The majority of manufacturers rely on experienced human testers who provide the best and most informed feedback on perhaps one of the hardest to describe human experiences.

Let’s be clear. We don’t doubt the science behind algorithms, or their place in a modern world consistently searching for answers through Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, there’s little assurance in our minds that digital data can make our team of sex toy testers redundant any time soon.

Do you have an idea for a new adult pleasure product? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Is there a better way?

Over the weekend a video clip was released on the BBC of a Cornwall-based artist, spending his lockdown time collecting plastic rubbish from his local beach. He had collected over 50 million pieces and his joy at doing so was evident. This is just one of many hundreds of positive stories featuring the lives of individuals and communities shared during the covid19 lockdown. Paradoxically what appears to be emerging from our time in a global quarantine is an awareness of nature and our environments and at the same time exposes the true cost of how the human race treats our planet and each other.

In Boris Johnson’s recent public address, his words resonated with a clear “carry on and get back to work” message. However, we question should we really be hurrying back to how life was before the coronavirus or actually using these unprecedented times to re-evaluate how we live and how we work and find a better way for both?

On home soil, with 20% of the UK workforce temporarily furloughed and another 45% remote working, school closures and the country essentially ‘shut down’ the undeniable ‘life pressures’ the modern day world has created have all but vanished. Many now find themselves with more time to appreciate time at home with their families and exercise in traffic-free streets. To rediscover nature in our surroundings and breathe in clearer air.

A number of employers and employees have realised, maybe for the first time, that remote and flexible working actually benefits both. That long distance commutes and business travel abroad take their toll on our free time and our planet. When faced with an inability to make these journeys, we have adapted to a new way of working, using remote technology and conferencing for the large part. There would be a strong case for investing in this type of infrastructure and implementing this into every business post-lockdown.

Maybe now is as good a time as any to ask ourselves to compare our lives 6 weeks ago to what they are now. What are we seeing? What positives can we take from this? How can we apply these to how we live and how we work going forward? Is there a better way? The good news is that being in lockdown has meant working families and both employers and employees have had the time to talk together which will lead to open discussions that will ultimately benefit all.
To be clear, the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic won’t be positive for everybody. There will be many losses to life and to the business economy. But what it has done is provided us with the opportunity on a global scale to learn lessons and rewrite the rules of how we operate on a day to day basis both personally and professionally.

We can all create something great together if we take the time to stop and think about where our priorities lie.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Private Inventor home truths

At some stage or another many of us will have an idea for a new product; a product which we believe will become the next great invention. This is very exciting but it is easy to be swept up in the excitement of being a private inventor and to count those chickens before they hatch.

Over the years we have talked to many private inventors and we always dread the calls from those inventors who have spent their precious resources only to end up with artistic CAD drawings of their product and a big cost milestone in their patent application. Sadly, this type of call often comes at a time when the private inventor has run out of money, out of time to secure investment and now face losing the exclusive rights to their own invention.

How does this happen?

Many private inventors cannot fund the entire process of bringing a product to the market and they require investment. Investment is not easy to secure. There are some companies who offer ‘help’ to private inventors by offering artistic CAD drawings and a patent application. The danger is to think that having a pretty picture with a patent application will be enough to get an investor on board. Is this really enough? An investor is looking at investment as a business risk; so they need to be convinced that their risk is manageable and there will be enough reward in taking that risk. So, what does an investor really look for when making their decision to invest?

• The investor will undertake due diligence using their own professional IP resource to establish if the intellectual property the inventor has is adequate (relevant, robust, defendable) and is worth maintaining.

• The investor will want properly researched and presented facts and figures to demonstrate the size of the potential market for the invention, and its competitive landscape. This will include a competitor’s analysis and a patent landscape, ideally with a freedom to operate analysis.

• The investor will want to know the costs of developing the invention into a manufactured product. Development can involve considerable expenditure in prototypes, tooling, testing, compliance and approvals.

• The investor will want to know costs of branding, packaging, marketing, stock holding and distribution.

To put it simply, investors need to be presented with a properly designed and costed product supported by robust intellectual property.

At Sated Design we have a team of design and engineering experts who all share a passion for creating successful products. We are supported by Chartered UK Patent Attorneys from world class intellectual property firms. Our track record is proven by hundreds of products and thousands of component parts taken from the first sketch all the way through to manufacturing, sometimes in their millions.

If you have an idea for a great new pleasure product, contact us today.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thinking beyond the ETO Show

We were extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of this year’s ETO Show, which should have taken place this week. Tradeshows like these provide a great opportunity to network and take the pulse of the current marketplace. There are a number of brand new exhibitors which we were really looking forward to meeting. Never mind, let’s look forward to later in the year.

We are definitely ‘glasses half full’ kind of people and perhaps this current global situation as a result of the Covid-19 could actually pave the way for some really exciting New Product Development (NPD) in the adult toy marketplace.

Reported just this week is a growth of 13% in adult toy sales over the last fortnight as people begin a period of self isolation. The demand is there and we are certain there will be many of you out there with their heads full of new ideas for brilliant new adult toys or pleasure products.

Consider this: The current restrictions on flights, exhibitions and even possibly day to day working conditions will mean home working and time away from the office for reflection. Ask yourself, where do you want your business to be when these restrictions are lifted and how can you be ahead of the game?

Perhaps you’ve had an idea kicking around for ages but time has never allowed you to take it any further. Now is as good a time as any to take the bull by the horns and make it a reality!

This is where Sated Design can help you.

Our design process methods can get you to the point of manufacture so you are poised and ready to hit “GO” once the manufacturing industry is showing signs of recovery. We have a comprehensive range of in-house capabilities including 3D printing, CNC machining, model making and silicone casting, meaning that all prototyping can be done right here in our office. We are able to use CAD to create parts and assemblies ready to provide to manufacturers for quotation and production.

We don’t even need to physically meet up either. Our remote conferencing facilities mean we can discuss projects virtually and do on screen reviews.

Pre-planning will make the difference when it comes to securing the future of your business. If you have a great idea and would like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality, get in touch today.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Are new regulations for designing a “safe”​ sex toy really necessary?

Having read an article in the July edition of EAN about the recent call for stricter regulations on adult pleasure products, I have been considering, are these regulations necessary or will they just muddy the water further when it comes to designing a “’safe” sex toy product?


The CE mark is a certification that indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental protection standards. It is also a mandatory requirement for any product manufactured within or designed to be sold in the European Union. Any sex toy product, in theory, will have to conform with the legal requirements of the CE in order to be marketed within the EU. As Product Designers we adhere to these when taking any new products through the stages from initial concept to manufacture. These “new” guidelines from SIS would just add another facet to this process, but as they have been described as “voluntary” they appear to me to be rather superfluous.

For me, there are two issues surrounding the perceived safety of sex toys.

1. Manufacturers outside of the UK that are not challenged to confirm with safety standards like the CE mark. By not doing so these manufacturers can easily under cut the pricing of quality products who are and selling non-rated products in the open market.

2. That it’s not so much the safety of sex toy products themselves but how they are being used by the consumer.

So how can these issues be addressed?

Well, firstly better policing of this is a must. The industry must police itself and report any non-conformists to trading standards or similar organisations. However, much needs to be done to ensure any legal challenges are efficiently supported by a trading standards organisation with enough resources to make these challenges effective.

With regards to the second issue, educating the end users of the products is the key to reducing the 40% of accidents reported in the article. This education is arguably the responsibility of the B2C retailers.

So, in summary, we need a better framework for making an example of those who are not trading fairly and ignoring general product safety measures and best practises already in place.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Importance of Continuous Testing

Testing a product concept during all stages of its development is an important part of the design process. Prototypes, mock-ups and test rigs, or whatever you wish to call them, enable the design team to evaluate every aspect of a product. Using feedback derived from tests the design team create great products which delight the user and make healthy profits for the manufacturing and distributing chain.

Here at Sated Design our approach to the development of adult toys makes use of many different types of prototypes and each prototype brings its own benefits to the end design. At the end of the development process the design team and the client can be confident that the final product is indeed fit for purpose. Prototypes are generally made in house in our model shop although we will use external suppliers for specialist parts.

Good visual imagery is an important part of any design process as it is an effective way of showing what the final outcome will potentially look like. 2D images have their place; they are great for visualisation but are unable to portray some of the important details; for example the weight and feel of the product. Accurate prototypes that are faithful to the intended appearance and feel of the final design are extremely useful in marketing discussions and for pre-launch media. We have lost count of the number of occasions when a prototype has been photographed before a production piece has been available. That is not poor time planning, it is in fact the opposite and a necessity when rapid design techniques have to bring together marketing/promotion during the run up to a launch or exhibition.

Good user experience is a vital part of any adult toy. The whole experience of receiving the item, opening the packaging and switching the toy on are very important but they are the aperitif for the main course. If the toy does not ‘work’ then it is just a big let-down and that has to be avoided at all costs. Working prototypes are a vital part of getting this right in the product development. An example of how this process can work came about very recently when our model makers made a silicone prototype of a new vibrator. This was sent out for user testing and the feedback suggested that the sensations could be improved by thickening a certain part of the shaft profile. A second prototype was quickly prepared and once again sent out to the same person for testing. Within days we received positive feedback. This simple, quick and low costs exercise gave the client the confidence to immediately go forward to the next stage of development and the tester kept the prototype!

Some prototypes are quite mundane but they still serve a vital role in improving the assembly and cost effective manufacture of a product. It is not uncommon for our design team to prepare several 3D printed prototypes to evaluate wiring, motor mounting, jigging/fixtures and resolving fine details of switches and connectors to ensure that no detail is ignored.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Power of Prototyping

Why use prototypes in your new Adult Toy development?

Providing a link between a world of virtual design and real life, a prototype is a vital way of testing designs. 2D images do have a place in the designing process but there is no substitute for holding something real in your hand, no more so than when developing an adult toy. Our prototypes offer extremely high levels of accuracy and intricacy resulting from the application of modern prototyping techniques such as high resolution 3D printing, computer controlled machining and casting of medical grade elastomers. Our prototyping techniques can provide stunning results.

For a Sex Toy developer, a prototype is a preliminary version of the intended product and can be used not only for user testing but also to sign-off on important factors such as the form and feel of the product, or to inform the designer of necessary adjustments to mechanisms or tolerances of parts for performance and assembly. The prototype can also help the project stake-holders to make the best decisions for the project and optimise the development journey leading up to manufacture and launch. It is therefore vital to clearly define the purpose for the prototype as this is key to how a prototype should be prepared and can save unwarranted work.

Naturally, the final product will be a part of an intimate human interaction, but the sooner that user/product experience is evaluated, then the better that interaction can be. It is impossible to overstate how important prototyping is to ensuring an effective product design and development process, delivering the optimum results and ultimately a great end-user experience.

Here at Sated Design we have in-house prototyping capabilities alongside a large catalogue of external suppliers for all manner of prototyping services, enabling our expert model-makers to produce competitively priced, high-quality prototypes for the Adult-Toy Industry within tight deadlines.

Do you have an idea for an adult toy?

If you do, or if you want to compliment one of your current designs, or are even just looking for a fresh perspective on a current product, please contact the team here at Sated Design.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Pulling the Plug

A patent protecting the broad concept of “teledildonics” has recently expired, potentially paving the way for a wave of sex toys that can be controlled over the internet.

Teledildonics, also known as cyberdildonics, is a term to describe sex toys that can be plugged into a device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, and link to other sex toys and interactive applications over the internet, giving users the possibility to interact with sexual partners over long distances.

The patent, originally filed in 1998, includes descriptions of systems where stimulation devices are linked via transmitters to computers equipped with video cameras, capable of then connecting to and interacting with other such systems and pre-recorded video across the internet.

Many view this particular patent as having stifled development of this technology for several years, with the company that had owned the rights filing 10 lawsuits alleging infringement between 2015 and 2017, leading them to be labelled a “patent troll” and gaining notoriety in the industry. The expiration of the patent now potentially removes a large barrier to new development in this area.

However, despite cheers and applause from sex toy innovators, expiration of this single patent doesn’t necessarily mean a green light to a free-for-all for new teledildonics products. While on the surface it may look like a golden opportunity, other inventors will no doubt hold patents and intellectual property covering different areas of this technology, so even with one significant obstacle removed the wider legal minefield remains present. You are just a bit less likely to get sued.

As always, it’s important to continue to do your due diligence to ensure that your product doesn’t infringe anyone else’s intellectual property and land you and your business in hot water. Make use of the services of a patent attorney to help you discover the potential pitfalls and barriers to your product development early on in the process to avoid costly legal action and redesigns later on. It is important that you have a good understanding of the intellectual property landscape of your industry.

We as your product designers can then help you to come up with solutions that circumvent the rights held by your competitors and put valuable IP into your own hands.

Sharing

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail