28 April 2017

How Not to Design Reasonably

One of the fails going around the internet is Juicero, which is selling a press to squeeze raw juices from its pouches into a cup.

This press recently had its price reduced to "only" $400, for a juicer.

What's more reporters at Bloomberg discovered that you could get about the same amount of juice from the pouches using the Mark 1 human hand.

Not bad for a company that has raised $120 million in VC funding  ……… For a juice squeezer.

After all of this product designer Ben Einstein did a a disassembly and a deep dive, and  he found a ridiculously over-designed mess.

The short version is that there is a press using a custom motor and custom gear train, a half dozen machined aluminum parts which drives an aluminum plate against the pouch to uniformly apply pressure.

Einstein inventoried the following:
  • An extremely complex plastic molding, including co-molded parts.
  • A heavy custom machined aluminum frame.
  • A custom power supply.
  • Massive custom hinges on the door.
  • Custom sliders.
  • A very robust custom gearbox.  
  • Etc.
Looking at this problem, I immediately have a better way of doing things.

I could make a prototype using an off the shelf aquarium pump for less than $100 in in parts.  (It would work like the so called "Neat Squeeze" toothpaste tube), or do something similar with a store bought pasta maker retailing for $29.99.

That took me all of 15 minutes to think about it.

This is all of Silicon Valley dysfunction in a squeezable pouch.


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