Reimagining a life-saving gas monitor

We set out to reimagine a modern-day canary, and 10 years later, the GasBadge is still protecting workers and saving lives worldwide. Industrial Scientific recognized opportunities to improve the single gas monitors worn by miners, steel mill workers firefighters and others who do potentially dangerous work. So the leading global provider of portable gas detection equipment asked Design Central to collaborate on an updated model with improved functionality that also created a next-generation visual brand language (VBL).

  • Industrial Scientific
  • Commercial
  • Strategy
  • Research
  • Product Design
  • Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • User Experience

Objective: A durable, easy-to-use single gas monitor that enhanced quality and reliability standards as well as the visual brand language of Industrial Scientific, a leading provider in portable gas detection equipment.

Field research enables understanding of dangerous environment

To fully understand the wear and tear endured by a single gas monitor, Design Central took to the field, visiting steel mills to talk with the people who would wear and operate the GasBadge. We observed a “day in the life” of the product to experience firsthand how each person used, serviced and downloaded data from their current monitors to track gas personal gas intake over time. We left with a better understanding of challenges and opportunities, from making it waterproof to assuring its batteries could be efficiently changed.

Thoughtful strategy and consistent collaboration make process smooth and effective

Armed with understanding, Design Central began mapping out a strategy. We identified who touches the product, who records its data and who changes its batteries. We determined what information needed displayed and stored. We asked how users could best be informed of a problem (lights and vibrations helped alert users). Then, we began hand-sketching ideas on how it could be configured. And we considered the feasibility of using plastic in-mold graphics, over molding and rubber-like bumpers, an innovative approach for this industry. Throughout the process, we maintained open dialogue with Industrial Scientific’s internal marketing and engineering teams to analyze their brand, assess competitive conditions and identify goals for improving user experience.

Consolidated design and several prototypes ensure life-saving product

Conceptualization in computer aided design (CAD) layouts led to a compact, lightweight gas monitor with simple and intuitive buttons. Design Central’s designers made the best use of limited space on the GasBadge’s screen while enhancing Industrial Scientific’s VBL. And they did it while working hand in hand with our engineers, who used their understanding of over molding and in-mold graphics to consolidate parts and turn this design vision into a leak-proof, shock-protected reality. Design Central moved through several stereolithography (SLA, a form of 3D printing) prototypes to ensure the GasBadge could withstand its dangerous environment and receive a third-party certified IP rating. Industrial Scientific received tool-ready files and were eventually able to manufacture the GasBadge at reduced costs.