Jan 23, 2020 in Viewpoint

The story behind our workplace sensor

At Mapiq, we strongly believe that our smart office platform is only as good as the data it’s fed with. Good working sensors are a high priority for us. But many existing sensors are slow, or not functioning the way we want them too. So, we decided to make one of our own. A few months later, Mapiq's workplace sensor was born. A capacitive sensor that measures through and under the desk with high precision, to get an accurate overview of the occupancy. And not to forget, the only user-centric sensor there is.

Bouwe de Planque
by Bouwe de Planque
Mapiq's workplace sensor
Mapiq's workplace sensor is the only user-centric sensor developed in-house, based on capacitive sensing technology

A redesign for our sensor

The sensors are already out in the wild since June 2017, proving their worth. But like any other product, we received feedback for potential improvements. Along with our own experience, we created a new base for a redesign of our sensor. And that’s what we did. We’ve kept all the features, but improved and expanded the product to what it is today.

It all started with a prototype

The redesign process started from scratch: ideation sessions to define functional requirements and sketching to explore possible product aesthetics. But also, a prototype of all the mechanical elements of the design was built. If you combine this, with a whole lot of evaluation, you have a newly redesigned sensor. But we’re not there yet. After the design was chosen, all parts were detailed for manufacturing. After all, having a 3D model is nice, but a product has to be designed in such a way it can actually be made. And made fast. Because we didn’t want to wait much longer.

How is our sensor made?

Our manufacturer builds the sensors in a fully automated production line, where all components are placed, soldered together and programmed by robots. Copper boards are made and the connections between components are carefully etched into the copper. A fully automated milling machine cuts out all the boards. After that, it is a very precise task to place all the electronic components with solder paste onto the copper board, by a pick-and-place machine. The boards are then baked in an oven, where the heat fuses the components to the copper boards. The plastic parts – the housing – are molded by a 120-tonne molding machine. There are five different custom-made steel molds and seven individual parts that make up the final product. The melted plastic is added at high pressure into a steel mold, and then rapidly cooled to make the parts in seconds.

The machine then throws out the parts and they are ready. This means that all parts are now made, but also need to be put together to create the final product. Assembly is done by operators that push and screw together all the various parts that make up the product. And finally, we test to ensure the sensor works. Then they are ready to be shipped!

Mapiq's workplace sensor
Mapiq's workplace sensor is a capacitive sensor that measures through and under the desk, to get an accurate overview of the occupancy

What’s new?

To sum up the story behind our sensor, what’s actually new? 

  • The sensor is smaller, sleeker and has stronger housing for electronics
  • A mounting plate is added for easy mounting and removal of the sensor
  • The LED lights are more uniform thanks to new lights and a light guide
  • The release button has been moved to the front
  • A new short-throw button that is much less prone to defects
  • Mounting by screws is also possible if required
  • The other features remain unchanged, and the product is backward-compatible with our existing products.

Office analytics

Mapiq's workplace sensors give insights into available desks and up to date occupancy numbers of the office. Are you wondering if our sensor is the right fit? We're here to help.

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