PocketLab: App Spotlight

One of the great parts about working at MetaNeer is the opportunity to work with insanely cool companies. Myriad Sensors is a great example of this type of opportunity.

Note: Myriad Sensor’s is nearing the end of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Check out their Kickstarter video here.

Myriad Sensors’ flagship product, The Pocketlab, is a wireless sensor that empowers “curious explorers, educators, students and makers to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to life like never before.” So, science can be performed the way it is supposed to be performed: out in the real world.

The PocketLab sensor connects to your phone and/or tablet with a single button click, and streams data for a bunch of different metrics: acceleration, force, angular velocity, temperature, etc. All while allowing you to analyze and curate your data for use with other software systems such as Excel, Google Sheets, etc.

Photo Courtesy of Myriad Sensors, Inc.

Myriad Sensors had built an awesome product but still needed a mobile app. That’s where we came in. In this post, we’ll show you the 7 day PocketLab app journey through the MetaNeer’s 5 step process.

Step #1: Design Day

The challenge with any client is that they have all the knowledge and vision at the beginning of the project. Myriad Sensors was no different – they had hours and hours of research regarding how their users interact with the product in-person by going to high school physics classes and seeing first hand. It’s our job to translate these findings into the design of the mobile app. The Design Day serves as a brain dump from them to us. These discussions in this phase of the project are fairly high-level and serve to align MetaNeer with the user experience that the Myriad Sensors team has envisioned.

The outcome of the braindump is captured on a large piece of butcher paper:

Photo Courtesy of MetaNeer Labs, Inc.

Next, Myriad Sensors and MetaNeer dive into designing the actual screens the user will look at. This portion of design day is definitely more granular. We ask questions like “what should the user see immediately after bluetooth pairing with the sensor?” A lot of ideas are drawn out, and the designer wraps up the PocketLab App Design Day with a high-definition drawing of what all the screens in the app will look like.

Photo Courtesy of MetaNeer Labs, Inc.

Now that we have the design somewhat down, we need to start converting these ideas into technical language, bringing us to…

Step #2: Architecture

With Myriad Sensors’ ideas transformed into visual specs on paper, it’s now time to translate those ideas into language the MetaNeer developers can understand. This part of the process is similar to the design phase but contains much more technical details, such as data flows, transitions, etc. You can see here how similar the result of the architecturing brainstorm is to that of design, at least in the way that ideas and flows are represented:

Photo Courtesy of MetaNeer Labs, Inc.

The architecture phase culminates with a (long) list of tasks for our developers to begin working on. We use Asana for all task delegation and tracking from here on out.

Step #3: Deliver v0.8

Now that we’ve fully picked Myriad Sensors’ brains, as well as our own, we build. The goal is to deliver the first iteration of the app. The devs begin the day with a morning meeting with the architect, senior dev, project manager, and junior dev, and then are off to the races on their Asana tasks.

Photo Courtesy of MetaNeer Labs, Inc.

And after a few grueling days of work, viola! v0.8 is born and ready for Myriad Sensors’ feedback. The folks at Myriad Sensors were happy.

Step #4 – Deliver v0.9:

Now that Clifton has given us tons of valuable feedback and suggestions, it’s time to get working on v0.9 of the PocketLab app. Time to meet again, create a bunch more Asana tasks, and keep cranking!

In a quick turn from the first round of feedback, we have another version for the Myriad Sensors team to check out. Clifton was really impressed when he saw the simultaneous graph-over-the-video-display feature.

At this point, we focus on collecting any remaining bugs that our development team had either missed or not gotten to yet. These, like all other tasks (you’ll notice a recurring theme here) are dropped into an Asana task list and the devs move on to the last step: deliver v1.0 of the app!

Step #5 – Launch v1.0:

The final step before delivery is to hunt and squash bugs. After a polishing we delivered v1.0 to Myriad Sensors in time for their demo day!

Since then, Myriad Sensors has demoed to the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Chicago, and has thus far had an extremely successful Kickstarter launch. Again, if you haven’t seen by how much they blew by their Kickstarter goal, check it out here.

We’re glad that we were able to work with such a badass team, and here’s to Myriad Sensors continuing to kill it moving forward!