i4pd’s brief was to build on Aqualife's theoretical idea to increase the efficiency of fish vaccination through improved product ergonomics and use of in-built technology. Existing devices are manually operated, deliver varying amounts of vaccines and have poor architecture which results in user fatigue. A single operator will typically uses one of these 'guns' to vaccinate by hand over 30,000 (anaesthetised) fish per day.
The project deliverables were split over two prototype systems. The first was a Functional Unit, picking up on investigative research done by the client, to prove the system worked. The second prototype developed upon the learning of the first, included custom mechanical engineering and custom PCBA design, build and test, within enclosure’s that had been developed with consideration to size reduction, ergonomic handling and industrial design.
i4pd's industrial designers completed extensive market research into the available vaccination platforms across the whole aquaculture and pastoral industries. An extensive product architecture and ergonomic studies were conducted though a series of brainstorming sessions. A novel archetype of the vaccine gun was selected and refined through the development of various physical models. The device was engineered to be rugged and IP 67 rated due to the harsh environment in which it would be operated. A functional and aesthetic prototype was developed for trialling at fish farms by the client.
Custom electronics and firmware were designed for both the Pump Unit and Vaccination Gun from: block layout; circuit design; PCBA layout; PCBA procurement build & test; and system integration. The work involved selection of key components including: a twin custom colour sensing system; pressure testing (to ensure proper dosage); wireless communication system; laser targeting system; user interface components to suit the rugged environment; power supply.
Three sets of PCBA’s were made so that there were enough sets for debugging and for prototype integration and test. Integration and test identified areas that required enhancement to optimise the product performance – these updates were designed in, prototype parts made, integrated and re-tested to meet the clients requirements before hand over for field testing.
The product is currently being trialed by the client and is patent pending.
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