In the last post, I showed the original set of prototypes including the armband mount. This was driving reason for the system--being able to run with my phone without having to change cases or try and get a phone into and out of some plastic sleeve. And it worked! Pretty well at least.

There were a couple of drops that were the result of the case not latching properly when I put it back on the armband while running. Fortunately, the phone was fine but I knew I needed something more reliable. Enter version 2: Beefcake.

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Once I had the concept proved out, I started applying some engineering to the idea. There are two major engineering differences that made Beefcake better.

  1. Moving the magnets from under the interface shape to around the interface shape. This makes the phone attachment much thinner than the original, where they are stacked on top of each other.
  2. Using an array of smaller magnets in a widely (as possible) spaced pattern. By moving the magnets away from the center, leverage now helps to make the system more efficient. As an example, if someone is trying to push a door open, it's far, far easier to keep it shut by pushing on the handle, rather than by pushing on the door right next to the hinge. The original was pushing near the hinge, Beefcake was pushing at the handle.
This thing work...actually a little too well. While I used smaller magnets than in the original prototype, the array was so much stronger that using this thing in the car would sometimes result in pulling the entire mount off of the car. The armband was super secure but a little harder to get off than I would have liked. You also had to watch your fingers as it would snap closed with serious force.

Testing out beefcake led to a number of revelations for me. First, I would need to 'tune' the strength of each mount for its intended use. The car mount needed way less holding power than the armband or bike. Second, the auto-aligning capability of the array of magnets was incredible! Not only did it help you get the phone in the mount, it actively prevented you from doing it incorrectly. I knew this was the general arrangement that I wanted, I just needed to make adjustments.

Next time: Adjustments