One of the positive results of the proliferation of smartphones has been the ability to easily capture and share instances of corruption or abuse of power. In recent years Police Departments around the world have come under ever increasing scrutiny due to viral videos capturing such abuses. As an innovator in their industry, TASER is the leading provider of non-lethal firearms for law enforcement. Seeing an opportunity to meet an unfilled need TASER created a camera system to act as a monitor during Police altercations. The AXON Flex body camera system is designed to accurately and securely capture altercations, protecting both the public and police officers.
My contribution to this project included: Industrial Design, Human Factors, Concepting
At TASER I served as an Industrial Designer for the development of the AXON Flex system. When I started the camera had mostly been designed but much of the work of how the camera would be used still needed to be completed. Cameras were not a standard piece of equipment at this point so it was very unclear how officers would wear them. My job was to assist in the creation of a kit of accessories and charging stations. My biggest contribution to the development of this kit was in the design of the Low Rider Headband.
What started out as a seemingly easy project turned out to involve a lengthy list of obstacles, the biggest being it could not enter the outer ear canal such as existing earbud headphone designs. Doing so would conflict with widely used radio earpieces and restrict hearing. Not having this anchor point meant that the design would need to generate a secure fit solely based on pressure force on the skull. A difficult task when there are so many different sizes and shapes of heads. The final design was a result of extensive iterations of fit trials to create the most comfortable and secure fit possible.
Using existing Taser Products as a style guide I searched for inspiration which would match the use case and help drive the project.
I created stacks of quick sketches to explore form and function of how the headband would interface with the camera as well as adjust for various head sizes.
Using Solidworks and 3D printing I was able to quickly prototype and try many different designs and sizes.
I had my coworkers try on the different designs for hour and report back. Also, had actual officers explore the product for feedback.
I really enjoyed working at TASER. I felt like I was helping to make the world a better place and their design language was especially enjoyable for me. I have always been drawn to science fiction and at TASER I was encouraged to pursue this inspiration. As the lone designer, most of my time was spent working in SolidWorks, but I also prototyped in foam and other modeling materials. I drew countless pages of concept sketches, and used Illustrator and Photoshop to better communicate my ideas.
"Matthew was brought on as a contractor and then as a full time engineer in my group. He helped us with many projects from concept through engineering, models, requirements testing and production release. He has a good design eye and strong 3D CAD skills. He also has good problem solving skills and a "do what it takes" attitude."
Sr. Mechanical Engineer at TASER International, TASER Int