Year in Review 2017

Happy New Year! As promised in our 2016 Year in Review, 2017 has brought us many opportunities to learn, grow, and play. From long-term clients jumping in to make the next version of their product, to new startups launching their first prototype, to seasoned vets looking for a way to get in the hardware game. Below are some highlights from our busy year.

Tomorrow Lab Squad

Band Photo courtesy of Emily Ullrich.

We added two new members to the fold in 2017 — a Project Strategist, Jesse Pliner, and an Electrical Engineer, Jingwen Zhu who is working under the tutelage of both Ted and Dorian. Her background in Digital Media and an MPS from NYU’s ITP Program provides a smart and exciting addition to our team.

We had the pleasure of hosting nine interns over the course of the year, including more women than ever, and two high school students in partnership with the NYC Career & Technical Education program to encourage teenagers to explore real-life STEM career opportunities to prepare for their future. We will continue this partnership through 2018 and are already vetting potential interns. Our partnership with the Futureworks NYC incubator allows us to run workshops to actively mentor the local community.

Pepin became a father! His twin children, Lorenzo and Ilaria, were born on March 31, 2017, and have already hilariously fit into the family as Pugsley and Wednesday Addams. Awesome job, Teresa!

The Addams-Gelardi Family Values.

When Pepin was out on Paternity Leave, Joe and Tan took over the Mechanical team and proved themselves to be excellent leaders (as if we had any doubt!). We are always confident in our team’s ability to manage themselves and their part of product development, but it’s a whole new ballgame to take the helm on a project.

On a more personal note, Dorian took an extended trip to Mexico City and got married! A great way to close out 2017! Pepin and his family went along for the ride, and by all accounts, it was an amazing time.

Photo courtesy of Nikhol Esteras.

Shelby took short leave of absence at the beginning 2017 to handle some long-term medical issues, and boy was the office different without her! Thankfully, she recovered fully, and published an excellent two-part series on Medium on her experience Living with Epilepsy here and here.

Magellan Ain’t Got Nothing on YouTube


As we are never all work and no play — if you haven’t had a chance to see what else we are up to — check out our YouTube Teardown series! Just like our work to develop new hardware products, we take well-known devices and tear them down to explore the guts of the design and engineering behind how they work. This can lead to a better understanding of the science required to make a new product, or, for the case of the YouTube teardowns, an opportunity to continue our 2016 goal to learn something new. Don’t forget to subscribe and suggest other products for us to teardown (anything $200 or under please)!

Projects We Love

In 2017, we worked on over 20 projects ranging from bicycle and traffic counting, smartphone charging solutions, smart toys, worker safety, fashion, and products designed to secure decentralization. Below are a few we can share.

CountCAM2: Video Traffic Counting

Revolutionizing Video Traffic Counting

COUNTCam2 is a video-based system for counting vehicles created by (the team behind WayCount). Inside the body is a digital video camera and recorder, capable of recording several hundred hours of footage. The video is later retrieved and analyzed in order to study traffic volume, speed, and vehicle types.

What makes the COUNTCam2 unlike anything like it on the market is its relatively compact size, ease of use, and wireless connectivity to a mobile device app for setting up the recording. In order to keep the main camera body as small as possible, we created an optional secondary battery 'booster' pack that customers could purchase to extend the overall record time by over 200%. The user can setup either a low or high resolution recording via the mobile app, press start and walk away. The COUNTcam2 is for sale here.

Scout: Cognitoys’ Astrobot AI Friend

Image courtesy of Cognitoys.

Cognitoys, a smart toy design team responsible for the creation of the Dino and STEMosaur educational tools, came to Tomorrow Lab in need of making the next smart friend to join their toy family. Utilizing interior software and technology, our team developed the astronaut character Scout using sketches and in-house prototypes. We added advanced hardware and engineering to create the new, more interactive toy that responds to conversation and emotions through touch sensors, a light sensor, smart, built-in LEDs, and push-to-talk functionality.

The rechargeable LiPo battery helps kids play longer! For pre-sale now and set to release in Fall 2018.

HYPR: Decentralized Authentication Device to Protect Your Data

We’ve been working with HYPR for three years to help create a hardware device to address their solution for biometric authentication. Using voice, face, eye, fingerprint, palm, and even behavioral methods instead of simple passwords, HYPR aims to decentralize security to keep online data safe.

The device is for consumers looking to reduce identity fraud and maintain credentials within insurance, retail, online banking, stored payment methods, even ATMs. In 2017 we began work on the next iteration of the device and are continuing that work throughout 2018.

JUMP Bikes: Pedal-Assisted Electric Bike Share Program

Another long-standing client and colleague, Social Bicycles (now officially known as Jump Bikes), brought Tomorrow Lab onboard to develop an User Interface Strategy & Product Design for their new electric bicycles. This new system prioritizes a set of new features including dock-less systems, electric-assist bicycles, and an upgrade mobile app.

We helped design and engineer the Front Interface Module (FIM) to further incorporate the app into the user experience using our holistic design process considering on- and off-bike requirements. It was fun, and the bikes have rolled out in both Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, with several other cities lined up to hop on the newest bike share possibility in 2018.

Stay Tuned…

Lastly, towards the end of 2017, we teamed up with our friends at Studio Rodrigo and Degordian to build our new website! We plan to launch this fantastic design in the Spring. For more on what we’re up to, follow us on all the usual social media channels, and of course, subscribe on YouTube. If you want to teardown with us, please let us know and we’ll be happy to invite you on as a guest. In the meantime, get out there and make something!

Feel free to reply in the comment section or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TomorrowLabNYC.