I developed and engineered the innovative charger for the Play Impossible Gameball, then helped get it made.
Play Impossible’s Gameball is packed with sensors and connected to a flashy smartphone app, enabling all sorts of new ways for kids to play. Check out their video here.
Minimize downtime. maximize playtime!
The Gameball is powered not by a battery but by a supercapacitor. This unusual power source may only carry about a quarter the energy density of similarly-sized lithium ion batteries, but it makes up for that with lightning-fast charging time. Hold the charger on the ball for just 20-30 seconds, and the supercapacitor will be fully charged, providing a whopping 1-2 hours of play.
Engineering the charger
My industrial design coworkers dreamed up an angular, modern-looking shape for the rapid-charging stick. It was my job to turn it into a functional, robust, reliable, and manufacturable device. I began with several different possible architectures, and produced innumerable prototypes of each, before settling on the final design: a battery carrier that slides into a long sleeve, with electrical contacts insert-molded at the far end to complete the circuit and connect to the ball.
Getting it made
Next, I established the desired injection-molding scheme, carefully tweaking the design to avoid common defects such as sink and weld-lines. I then interfaced directly with multiple potential contract manufacturers, and went through several rounds of quoting and DFM feedback to determine which one would be the best fit for Play Impossible’s specific needs as a startup. The rapid charger now ships with every Gameball sold.