Smartwatch Project Feedback

Hey everyone, I did a smartwatch project for my senior thesis back in the spring called LYNC. I’ve gotten some feedback on it recently during a couple of interviews and it seems like it could use some improvement. I wanted to get some more opinions on how I can improve the project. Here’s the link below so you can view the project.

Some of the feedback I’ve gotten so far:

-The leather strap doesn’t look very realistic and looks kinda amateurish. I made the strap in rhino and had some trouble getting the stitching to look right and the leather textures in keyshot are hard to get right. I did all of the renders in a single pass but I just learned about doing multiple passes and combing them. Doing a separate pass on the strap might make it look more realistic? I’m also not sure if I should just redo the strap and then add the stitching manually in photoshop.

-Didn’t like the fact that I am trying to hide the technology. I should be showcasing the technology in a socially acceptable way. I’m thinking about taking the emphasis off of the ability to replace the strap on your watch and instead making it an added feature or kit.

-I’ve also gotten some negative feedback on the look/finish of the charging case. I’m not really sure what to do about it at this point.

Thanks ahead of time for the feedback!

Hi Jase. You will likely get more feedback if you post the images directly into the forum. It makes for a better conversational experience.

From an archetypal standpoint I thought the idea of having a real watch on one side and a smart watch on the other is very unique. I hadn’t seen that before. Sure the leather band could be more worked out, and with that amount of electronics you probably wouldn’t want to make it leather anyway, but I thought it was acceptable as a concept.

I also think the two-sided approach is pretty cool. There are a ton of smartwatch concepts out there that are no different from what has been done, so doing something new (but still within the realm of believable and acceptable to that market) is a good way to go.

I think the screen could be integrated differently rather than touching flush to the leather. I see the appeal of making it look seamless, but that is keeping it a little less real and looking flat compared to the rest of the watch. Any traditional watch has some gaps (like between the bands, case, and arms), but they own and accept it, just like the watch side of your concept … maybe this could inform the touchscreen display side too.

I can see how leather would be tough. Like on your inspiration board shows a couple leather bands, just rendering the cut sides and back and with different layers could do it (i.e. different textures on each face). Even with how the Apple Watch went for a more cartoony Illustrator look with their bands, you could embrace that also (IMO they could have gone more realistic and still look clean).

Hey Jase,

I like the product layout, it’s a fresh take and I like the fact it’s a little more stealth and hidden. The only thing I worry about is what happens to the screen while I’m using my mouse and my wrist is rubbing all over the table surface?

As far as getting more realism in your renders I would suggest getting really nit picky about some of those small details that make things look real. Right now your stitches look like flat surface decals. Also the scaling of them looks off. If you looked at real stitching in leather, it’s essentially a pipe that is weaving in and out of holes. So if you model some of those nuanced details from the get go you could save hours of post production work trying to fake it.

I modeled up a quick example to show you what I mean. Granted this isn’t perfect (I think I made my stitching too big, and it should probably be a little more recessed :slight_smile: ) but it gets the point across of what adding some extra detailing can do. It might take an extra 5-10 minutes in CAD but if you’re going to end up with 10-15 final renders that’s a lot of time saved in Photoshop post.

cool concept Jase

at first I thought: again, another design of smartwatch, which (the idea) personally I do not like that much.

hence, your solution to assemble both - ordinary watch with digital display - convinced me to rethink my opinion about smartwatches once again. this could wotk.

It is somewhat crazy how people can get so pedantic about things when theres clearly a bigger picture going on.

I like the concept and could genuinely see myself using a variation of the design. If you think about when you check the time on a watch you glance at it quickly, not spend half a minute or more looking at your wrist. I would imagine the same with viewing an email/text on a smart watch, you’re going to quickly flick your wrist and view it and not want to go through swiping of screens. Your concept allows the user to be discreet as well.

I agree the leather needs some work, even without worrying about the stitching it is far too orange at the moment. Sometimes when taking inspiration from real objects for renders I’ll bring the image in to Photoshop and use the eyedropper to find out the Pantone colour. I’ll then drop that on to the material in Keyshot which gives a much better result.

The good news is realistically theres not a lot to work on. The presentation is great, so is the sketching, model making and CAD - all that needs sprucing up is the end renderings. As I mentioned to you on Behance some companies have entire departments of people whos job it is solely to do this so you aren’t going to be a master of it all.

Agree with most here. It’s not the concepts that needs sprucing up, but the presentation and final last 10% of details that you need to focus on to really make sing.

Example the connection between the screen and leather worries me. The edge treatment of the strap, the ease of use of that buckle design. The colorways/material choices and how they speak top different consumers. even down to the choice of watch its paired with.

Dialing these details in will take it from cool idea, to wow I need that right now.

What employers want to see is not only that you can come up with cool concepts, but that you can come up with cool, executable concepts.

Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I will work on redoing the CAD model in the coming weeks and work on those details.

That looks pretty realistic choto! What program are you using to render that (Looks like the model was made in rhino)? I’ve been using keyshot and none of the leather textures seem to look that realistic. Also, one of the major issues I came accross when making the leather band was how to curve the band around in a circle while keeping the stitching and everything in the right place. How would you recommend I do that?

In Solidworks there is a Command called Flex. We model the band flat/ with all the details. Then flex it.

Hey Jase.
I used Rhino and Keyshot as well. I would probably model the band in the round position and use the “Flow Along Surface” command to get the stitching on there, I can post a quick tutorial but you should be able to youtube it to get an idea. Otherwise if you want it to bend you could use the “Bend” command, but it often leads to strange distortions so I wouldn’t recommend it.

For the leather I used a leather image that I found on google image, then in Keyshot use that image as the diffuse color. I’ve never had much luck with the default keyshot leather textures as well.

Hey all I’ve been working on some of these details using some thumbnails sketches. I’m trying to refine the form and functional details before I get into Solidworks.

The first image is some variations on form and finish details. The direction I’m leaning towards has a protruding sapphire piece with fairly large chamferred edges. I like the depth and some of the distortions you get with having that chamfer on the sapphire. I think it adds some visual interest to what would just be a normal curved (in one dimension) piece of glass. It also protects the corners since sapphire can be very brittle and chips easily. I’m also trying to break up the form between the band and watch body, which will make more sense in the other images.

The second image shows how the redesigned clasp might work as well as the redesigned band to watch battery connection. Another idea was to be able to add a heart rate sensor by replacing the shorter of the two leather bands. I was playing around with the idea of having a traditional pin connection to the main body, very much like how a leather band is attached to most watches. One side of the pin would serve as the positive battery connection, and the other side the negative battery connection.

Sorry about the quality of the last image, I didn’t have a scanner on hand. This is where I’m at with the battery connection to the main watch body. The band would be secured to the watch body with a traditional pin, which would be more durable than the other options. There would be a flat contact point at the end of the band on the top that would interface with spring contacts on the metal body.

Let me know what you guys think!

Hi Jase,

Interesting ideas going on here. It would be great to see your ideas come together in some sketches communicating a full watch, rather than just several details sketches.

The neg/pos pin connector is interesting but I’m not understanding where the battery is stored…I’m assuming in the band or clasp like the Qualcomm Toq?

Devils advocate: I would suggest exploring the ux to get passed something rather than just a panoramic display. Especially since your portfolio already has something similar. Same for your sensor. These things don’t just have to track heart rate, steps, and sleep. What else can it sense and who can that benefit?

Hey thanks for the feedback Mitso.

I’ve been working mainly with detail sketches because the device will be symetrical so it didnt seem to make sense to me to spend time trying to sketch out the entire watch each time. It was much faster to just sketch one side’s details.

The battery is located in the watch strap in between two layers of leather and I’m using a thin, flexible battery like in the image below. The idea was to spread the components around the wrist instead of stacking them vertically like in every other smart watch. This also helps one of my goals of keeping the watch unobtrusive so that the traditional timepiece is still the visual focus.

On the behance project page theres an animation of what I imaged the UX would look like. I’ll have to look into some upcoming sensor technology and see if theres anything that might make the watch better. I guess one of the advantages of having the modular sensor part of the band is that it can be upgraded with better tech as it is developed.

Just saw this pop up all over my blogs.

I literally came here to post the same thing!

I guess it was only a matter of time before something similar came out. I think there’s still some notable differences between that and my concept. Here’s a few renderings of where I’m at with the new CAD model. The screen is done for the most part, now I just need to finish the leather band!

The point I was getting across was that you have a reference of a company introducing tech on the strap. This example is interesting as it is a traditional watch maker trying to marry the emergence of wearables with the tradition of a nicely crafted watch. It would be something you could bring up if an interviewer were to criticise the concept like you said a few had.

It’s starting to get there I think though! Only thing I’d personally like to see is the chamfer of the glass be flush with the aluminium. Right now its raised and then the chamfer starts, it’d be interesting to see it recessed in to the body if that makes sense?

It happens all the time. You are working on something quite innovative and something very similar comes to market. It is tempting to get down on the idea, but instead look at the competitive example as a proof of concept. It works, someone else saw the same problem as you and uncovered the same insight. The advantage you now have is you can study what they did and see objectively wha they got wrong and take the idea further!

Also, I agree with the above, it would make sense to have the glass just a little recessed so the metal was like a set of rails protecting the glass from scratching a bit.

Hey guys, thanks for the feedback! I pulled the glass back so the chamfer starts at the flat surface now and I think it looks a bit cleaner. It sounds like you were talking about having the glass fully recessed below the metal? I intended for the sapphire glass to be the material that comes in contact with a desk, surface, etc, and it would actually protect the metal casing since it is much harder and nearly scratch proof.

Anyways, let me know what you think of the current models below. I think I’m nearly ready to start putting the final renderings together. I’m trying to have this project included in my portfolio that I’m sending out soon. Internship is only until the end of February so not much time left!