Aug 24, 2016 | By Benedict

PLUX, a Portuguese bio-signal technology company, has recruited 3D printing company BEEVERYCREATIVE to 3D print plastic casings for BITalino, a multi-functional DIY toolkit containing sensors and bio-signal technology. BITalino can be used to quickly prototype bio-applications for wearables.

The uncased BITalino board

Bio-signal equipment is a growing area of technology used in smartphones, wearables, and other devices, and is especially useful in fitness and physiotherapy applications. In 2007, a group of Portuguese engineers formed PLUX with the intention of creating new bio-signal tech that would be free of the noise and wiring problems frequently found in existing products. PLUX vowed to create well-monitored wireless devices that could wirelessly transmit data to a computer and enable people to move freely and without hindrance while doing so.

BITalino, the result of almost a decade’s hard work from PLUX, is a bio-sensing application prototyping platform created to fill a gap in the market. In its cheapest incarnation, the device is available as a board without any type of housing. However, since some users may prefer to have their board protected from external interference and damage, PLUX called in a favor from a friend. Fortunately, the company is on good terms with fellow Portuguese startup BEEVERYCREATIVE, having met them, thousands of miles from their shared homeland, at the Rome Maker Faire.

BITalino Board Kit BT (€149)

“We’ve followed BEEVERYCREATIVE’s work for a long time,” said Hugo Silva, Chief Innovation Officer at PLUX. “They’re doing some fascinating work. Not only that, they’re also a role model for us because we’re doing the same sort of thing: making things easy to use, in order to democratize this sort of technology.”

When BEEVERYCREATIVE’s Francisco Mendes first saw the naked and exposed BITalino board, he asked Silva if PLUX sold the item in that state to its customers. Silva explained that, yes, they did, in order to save on costs, so the two began working together to create some 3D models which could be printed to create a plastic casing. An initial batch of models was then made available to the PLUX community so that BITalino users could 3D print their own practical and attractive casings.

3D printable BITalino casing

BEEVERYCREATIVE were challenged by PLUX to come up with 3D printable casing designs for a selection of BITalino models. The BITalino r(evolution) Board, for example, features a prominent button which needs to be accessible to a user’s fingertips. To accommodate this function, BEEVERYCREATIVE designed a thinner layer on the top part of the casing which bends inwards when pressed. This enables the user to push the button through the 3D printed housing.

For the BITalino (r)evolution Plugged, a board with a pluggable cabled connection between the sensors and the main board, the BEEVERYCREATIVE team faced a slightly different challenge: “We were asked to create a box to protect the printed circuit board,” explained  André Magro of BEEVERYCREATIVE’s Innovation Department. “We made a box to house the sensors that come with this version of the device. We were also asked to make a case for each of the sensors in order to keep them protected, and we made these two-part pieces.” The Plugged model also utilizes a thinner section covering a pushable button.

When BEEVERYCREATIVE’s work was complete, the company had created a set of multi-colored sensor housings with functions abbreviated on the outside and belt-clips and hooks for strapping the BITalino to clothing while on the move. The Portuguese 3D printing company even created a flexible armband for the sensors, enabling BITalino users to quickly assemble their own wearable device.

3D printable flexible armband for BITalino

The cheapest BITalino board, the (r)evolution Board Kit BT, is available for €149 ($168).




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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