Why did Hamstand appear
One of the problems faced by mobile app developers is with testing devices. Devices are lost, employees forget to return them to their place or leave them discharged. Such things interfere with work, cause irritation and can lead to conflict situations. The time spent by QA specialists searching for a gadget or charging it leads to a shift in releases, which means losses and lost profits for developers.
Some organizations lead Accounting for smartphones and tablets in spreadsheets or corporate chats. But this approach is suitable only for small teams, otherwise the tables quickly lose relevance, and the working chat is full. Some companies build their own storage and accounting systems for mobile devices, but they often turn out to be bulky and do not fit well into the interior of the office.
Engineers from Hamstand, a startup that passed through the acceleration program of ITMO University, have proposed a solution to the problem of mobile device management. They developed a smart stand that allows you to store and charge gadgets, as well as view information about them, for example, quickly find the current user.
The team entered the accelerator program already at the prototype development stage, when it made changes to the design of the boards, integrated them into the stand and finalized the software.
“First of all, I would like to note the excellent organization of the acceleration program, many useful workshops and an active community of entrepreneurs around the university. Working with the accelerator tracker, we focused on promoting the product and getting closer to sales. The main task was to confirm the hypothesis of market demand for the product. We finalized the prototype and reached potential customers ”
– Hamstand team.
How the system works
The stand is a hardware and software platform in the form of a modular cabinet. Its body is made of wood and has several compartments for gadgets of different sizes. All compartments are equipped with RFID control boards, backlight, lock and charging terminals. The main module contains an RFID sensor for employee cards and a control tablet.
The heart of the system is special software. It monitors the performance of smartphones / tablets and provides information about them. The devices located in the stand are registered using RFID tags. To quickly update information about phones, they use a camera – it is needed to read the QR codes that are generated in the application on devices. Access to the stand is on the employee’s card: this way the software understands who took or returned which gadget. You can add a face recognition function.
Almost all components are developed by the Hamstand team independently: from the chassis to the printed circuit boards. An exception is the iPad control tablet. Also, engineers are engaged in backend. It allows you to combine several stands at once and synchronize them with the database of employees – the system does not transmit this information anywhere, it only uses it for communication with the managing software. The team also provides an API for automatic synchronization with the database.
Assembly of the first prototype
The prototype of the stand was developed for about a year. During this time, both the electronic components and the design have undergone changes. Engineers reworked the 3D model several times to get an ergonomic design and simplify assembly. Some appearance options are presented below:
In the photo: sketch of one of the earliest versions of the smart rack
In the photo: on the left and in the middle – the first appearance options, on the right – one of the last iterations of the layout design
In the photo: the prototype of the case “in the tree”
In the photo: final construction in wood
The team wanted to create a recognizable style to meet the high requirements for interior decoration and product quality that any IT company makes. For the same reason, Hamstand spent a lot of time looking for contractors who could complete the project in the right way. Hamstand: “The choice of wood makes our product special, because this is an extremely rare example of using this material for such tasks.” As for electronics, the first batch of developed boards was decided to be replaced – RFID antennas created strong interference. We settled on the version with sequential switching of antennas in order to reduce interference.
After several iterations, the software on the control tablet also passed. Engineers experimented with application design and various scenarios (user-flow) to make the system simple and easy to use.
In the photo: the main screen of the control tablet
In the photo: user screens and devices
The first tests and prospects
Hamstand is testing one of the largest Russian companies. Already managed to identify and eliminate several shortcomings of the smart stand. For example, because of the dry air in the office, the case of the box was damaged – now it is covered with a special protective material. The initial version of the stand turned out to be very difficult, especially with six modules installed on 40+ devices. The design was redesigned by adding voids and reducing the weight of the model by 35%.
Pictured: Hamstand team on St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum
Now the team is engaged in attracting the first customers, speaking at technology conferences and disseminating information in specialized Telegram channels.
Lamoda and Playrix have already shown interest in the project. The product attracted the attention of not only large organizations – before the new year, the team received an order for a mini-version of the stand, made in the form of a monitor stand for a tester from Perm.
“In Russia, according to our estimates, we have about a thousand potential customers. We plan to occupy at least 10% of this market and start a campaign in Europe and the USA with the funds received. ”
– Hamstand team.
In addition to the flagship product, Hamstand is preparing custom solutions to develop new technologies and enter other markets. In the future, engineers can add a disinfection system to the booth to collaborate with hospitals that use tablets for electronic patient records. The authors also say that they have already received a request to design a solution for managing a working tool in engineering workshops.
The Hamstand team consists of three people: Dmitry Apekhtin, Sergey Glagolev and Oleg Karakyan.
In the photo: Sergey Glagolev, Oleg Karakyan and Dmitry Apekhtin
Dmitry graduated from the ITMO University Master’s program in “Optotechnics“. Today he is the CEO of Hamstand, responsible for the product, project economics, software development and design: “I was always interested in developing in new directions. At some point, the choice fell on the idea of Hamstand, and we started work. It requires almost all the competencies that I was once interested in: design, engineering skills, development and so on. ”
Sergey Glagolev – Technical Director. He also studied at the ITMO University Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. At Hamstand, he develops software for boards and tablets, and also designs integrated circuits and electronics: “From childhood I was fond of electronics and electrical engineering, I like to do everything with my own hands, to delve into and understand technical systems. That is why I entered robotics at ITMO University, but still in the learning process I decided to look in the direction of IT and from the third year went deep into programming. The idea of the smart stand design came amid problems in the company where he worked then. He suggested that friends think about it. Having estimated everything, we took up the project. It’s cool that we can fully use both the programming experience and the engineering background. ”
Oleg Karyakyan is a graduate of MSTU Bauman, Department of Equipment and Rolling Technologies, received his second diploma at the Moscow Polytechnic University under the program “Technological Entrepreneurship”. He holds the position of Director of Business Development and is responsible for marketing and sales: “Hamstand is the fifth project for me, I am in the position of business and, using the experience, I have high hopes for him. In addition, I was very lucky with the team, the guys and I have known each other for a long time and are tightly connected by a common worldview. ”
P.S. If Hamstand products are of interest to you and you would like to chat with the team, write us in private messages. We will be happy to provide contacts and introduce you!
What’s inside ITMO University (our English-language materials on Habré):
- Functional Materials and Devices of Optoelectronics
- A tour of the Museum of Optics
- The robotics lab