Moto Handheld Barcode Scanner

Thought I’d share this, first real project I worked on finally launched. (I’ve worked on several other released projects, somehow the smallest and simplest one took the longest time to develop!) It’s a small form factor laser barcode scanner designed for low cost environments where a traditional gun form factor isn’t appropriate. It’s got 3 buttons for operation (scan, delete, and bluetooth pair). The bluetooth lets you easily scan barcodes to either the device itself, or a laptop, cell phone or other device. Silver door on the bottom is a dust cover for the USB and quick release for the device if attached to a neck lanyard. Device itself is smaller than a business card.

Typical use cases are for low frequency scanning from gift registry (we also do the higher end devices seen at stores like Stop and Shop or Bed Bath and Beyond), inventory, facility management, etc.

thats great Cyber, nice job!

would love to see more development side if you can share, sometimes the lead up is the most interesting part

Sadly all that stuff is under NDA. :-/

Bummer… no sketches, huh?

Some nice form work, amazing it could packed into that small form factor! Thanks for sharing… bummer about the sketches!

Thanks, it actually used to be about 10mm narrower. After the ID was finished the battery pack used went end of life so they had to switch to a larger and much wider pack which drove the whole thing to get a lot fatter without a lot of time to refine the proportions. I got used to the chubbier version though. :smiley:

I think the sketches are probably a gray area - technically all those concepts are still “owned” as much as I’d like to share. Stinks working on something for 2 1/2 years and then only getting to share product shots.

In reality though, not much of the final design was in the initial sketches - most of the evolution happened in 3D over a course of about a dozen foam models and rapid prototypes.

I have a question for you: what were the requirements around the design language you used?

Since it has Symbol and Motorola logos, was it meant to look like a part of one companies products or stand separately?

I’m guessing you work for one of those two companies … What was the design “DNA” requirements for the brand that you used to judge whether the design was right or wrong? (not talking about the ergonomics, attractiveness, or mechanical - just the shapes & CMF you used to make it look “Moto”… or “Symbol”)

Thanks Cyber…

Bit of history:

Motorola bought Symbol technologies back in 2007. The core issue in our data capture/barcode space is that many of our customers haven’t made the jump that “Motorola” means Symbol, so almost all of the data capture products you see (and you can’t go very far into a mall or retail store without seeing one) are still branded Symbol.

With that said - there isn’t as much of a design DNA in this space as you would think. The lifespan of your average cell phone is maybe 2-3 years. The lifespan of one of our scanners is close to 10 - which means that almost all of our scanners are currently anywhere between 8-10 years old and just coming up for refreshes now. This means that looking backwards to get alignment was a bit of a challenge. (The previous product was this)

Most of our products though focus on amorphous shapes, with the primary driver being ergonomics. The taper at the center of the product, the recessed area around the keypad, and the scoop running through the bottom surface are all designed around naturally aligning your hand to the best ergonomics for scanning - IE you’ll never pick this up and hold it up side down or sideways and think “is this right?” The rest of the form is really driven around just wrapping the engineering as tightly as possible to keep it small.

The material choices were actually driven by another recently released PDA/phone product we released as these two devices are meant to be closely paired (you can see this in the picture above where the driver is using the scanner to scan barcodes to the phone):

This product is meant to have more of a consumer appeal than our typical enterprise space, so the metallic silver, soft touch and gloss were all focused on that.

With all that said, our bar code scanner designs are the most often imitated in the industry so a lot of future work will be to redesign the entire portfolio so that we have much better alignment to the future than to products designed in the 90’s. The big challenge from the corporate side though is you have a company who is selling millions of scanners with extremely high margins, so convincing them that the designs need to be refreshed is hard when all they are so successful with their current strategy. Every nickel and dime that gets added to support nicer ID (material cost) will be challenged like crazy.

Thanks for sharing… very interesting stuff! Do you think that “amorphous ergonomic” is the design language across Motorola products? I do remember many Moto products from those walkabouts back in the late 90’s that had kind of shape.

Think that was more of just the fact that it was the 90’s. :smiley: The design groups for the different divisions of the companies are totally separate entities.

The general slogan we use for our group is “Performance with personality”. We want our products to be professional and comfortable while still being approachable and less rigid then say the current design languages you’d see on a Motorola Droid.