A little over two and a half years ago, Google.org awarded The Center for Discovery $1.125 million to fulfill its vision of a mobility device for everyone. The goal was to bring indieGo from a behemoth of a prototype, to a marketable device. indieGo’s development under the grant began with 1-year of internal research and design work at the Maker’s Lab and Innovation Incubator to figure out the physics of the device. Once the foundational concepts were firmly established, the indieGo team began working with 10XBeta, a product design firm based in Brooklyn, NY, to bring the device to the next level.
Picking up where the indieGo team left off, 10XBeta began by inputting all of the team’s research and know-how into their design work. After a year of working closely with 10XBeta, i.e. additional research, weekly video calls, numerous design reviews, multiple iterations and many hours of torture testing, they produced 10 of these beautiful market ready devices (beta prototypes) for user testing.
Beta prototype in hand, we set out to begin testing the device with users of all shapes, sizes and abilities. To date, we have visited Progressive Health in Milford, PA, The Woods School in Langhorne, PA, The University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, and Inglis in Philadelphia, PA, with more testing events and presentations planned for the coming months. To see some news stories and videos from our testing adventures, visit our Facebook page here. When it comes to user testing, although we are interested in getting feedback about the device’s performance, our main goal is to speak with potential users about how they will actually use indieGo within the context of their daily life. This information is invaluable as it allows us to understand real use cases, for example when in their day people would benefit from the device and why, in what environments they would use it most, or how and under what circumstances it would need to be transported. Understanding actual use cases in this depth helped us determine not just what changes we needed to make, but why we needed to make them. They also shed light on the future: how we need to position indieGo in the market to make it most accessible for purchase and most advantageous for reimbursement. After all, the true purpose of indieGo is to provide greater mobility to those in need, regardless of their ability or circumstance. As we say at The Center, mobility isn’t a privilege. Everyone has the right to move!
*If you are interested in scheduling a testing event, please email The Center for Discovery’s Director of Innovation, Jason Kean, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be reached via phone, at 845-707-8233.
Written by Jason Kean, Director of Innovation at The Center for Discovery.