Panono is a Berlin based startupthat developed and manufactures a 360 photo camera which takes fully spherical images with an image quality of 108MP. Alongside the hardware Panono develops an app that can be used to take and process images; stitching software to create seamless images; and a website to view and organize the images. I was the first team member to join the three founders soon after they founded the company and worked with them for 4,5 years on both the industrial design of the camera and the UX design of the software products.
During my graduation project for the master Industrial Design Engineering I developed the concept design for the Panono camera.
The aim of the project was to translate the functional prototype created by Jonas Pfeil (founder and CEO of Panono) into a mass producible version of the camera. One of the challenges during the project was to create a product layout which accommodated the 36 cameras and other electronics within a smaller casing so the camera would be easier to transport and use. Assembly and production of the product was challenged by the large amount of cameras and different viewing angles, a challenge which was increased by the reduction of the size of the product. The concept I developed divides the sphere into three equal product parts which accommodate the camera’s, two ‘poles’ where the camera controls and USB connector are placed and three tapered stripes which visually give the camera a top and bottom side.
From concept to detailed design
To turn my concept design into a fully detailed product design we started working together with an external mechanical design firm based in Berlin. During weekly meetings founder Jonas Pfeil and me would meet the mechanical engineers working on our product to discuss the progress and ensure the design solutions moved in the right direction.
During the project I was responsible for the final visual design and usability of the camera.
In parallel I worked on the testing of prototypes and the inspection of Solidworks data, drawings part samples. Once the mechanical design was finished I took on the project management and managed the involved partners and manufacturers to ensure the quality of the parts met Panono’s standards and the timeline was kept.
Developing and maintaining a smooth production process
Due to the complexity and material choice of some of the parts, we experienced a lot of issues during production. Some of the parts had visual issues, for instance due to improper cleaning of the molds and machines or issues with the molding parameters. Others had geometrical issues, caused by mold defects or deformation after ejection of the parts from the molds.
I kept close contact with the different manufacturers to get the quality of the parts to the required level as soon as possible, planning factory visits whenever necessary.
In the meantime the assembly process needed to be set up at our EMS’s factory in Poland. I visited the factory on a regular basis. First to teach the assembly process to the assembly workers and to help develop different assembly tools. Later to ensure the assembly process and quality of the assembled product was optimized. In Berlin I set up an IQC process to ensure all products sent out to the customers were up to Panono’s standards.
Next to my work on the camera I helped design several accessories, which included a tripod adapter, a stick, bags and the product packaging. I cooperated with the several manufacturers of the accessories to ensure that all products met Panono's demands and fit within the product range.
The most interesting of all these was the development of the connection between the accessories and the camera.
As users need to be able to charge the camera while using the accessories, the connection point was placed at the USB connector on the camera. The connection needed to be as sturdy as possible, ensure a good connection with the USB connector and be quick and easy to use, while fitting into the small space available on the camera. This resulted in a push and turn system which was implemented in the Panono stick, adapter and tripod.