A journey through Sherlock design process

A few days ago, our product designer Andrea was reviewing some old material and found some initial drawings of Sherlock.

Since a lot of you are curious about how Sherlock was designed, here is a small peek into the design process that led to the current product version, narrated by Andrea.

I joined the Sherlock team at the very beginning of product development, when all we had was an idea and an electronical board for the proof of concept. Our goal was ambitious: we wanted to build a tiny GPS tracker that could be hidden in bike handlebars.

Basically, it had to be a simplified flexible smartphone fitting a diameter smaller than a penny.

The main concept emerged quite soon: a flexible “straw” with antennas as close as possible to the bar end. Batteries would occupy the inner space. A micro-USB port on the exposed head would allow charging the device without removing it from the handlebar.

However many other questions required months of development to be answered:
  • How is the casing assembled?
  • Will it be possible to lock it inside the bar?
  • How to hide the USB port without reducing usability?
Talking with manufacturers we decided for a simpler solution.
For example we removed the locking mechanism. Instead, we bet on invisibility, and it payed off.

Handling the first moulded parts we felt like something was missing: the device was a bit too soft and we wanted the battery contact to be failsafe.

The solution was a small clamp that acted as interface between batteries and PCB edge, while reducing the weak section of the casing.

Shipping finally started!
A few months later, we upgraded the adapter and enriched the casing with a texture.

No major issues occurred in relation to industrial design.
Sherlock even scored “Excellent” in the Design category during a test performed by a major british telecommunication brand.

Nowadays, thousands of Sherlocks are out there, across US and Europe, helping cyclists keep their bicycles safe.

Thank you for being with us in this little trip down memory lane!

If you want to check out more of Andrea’s work, have a look at his Behance portfolio.