The RYOBI Phone Works app combines pro-quality measuring tools with smartphone technology in one efficient and intuitive hub, designed to facilitate a better and smarter way to measure and manage home improvement projects.
for [x]cube LABS:
Billy Zinser, Principal Strategist + Interaction Designer
Sachin Tulla, Technical Lead
Swetha Dubbaka, Project Producer
Sami Ulla, Data Scientist
Rohan Kartik, Interaction Designer
for Techtronic Industries:
Mark Huggins, VP of Product Development
Scott Kippes, Director of Product Development
Jim Martin, Associate Product Manager
Jeremy Connell, Industrial Designer
RYOBI PHONEWORKS EARBUDS
RYOBI PHONEWORKS LASER POINTER
RYOBI PHONEWORKS LASER DISTANCE MEASURER
RYOBII PHONEWORKS INSPECTION SCOPE
RYOBI PHONEWORKS MOISTURE METER
RYOBI PHONEWORKS INFRARED THERMOMETER
RYOBI PHONEWORKS STUD FINDER
RYOBI PHONEWORKS LASER LEVEL
The RYOBI Phone Works app augments the functionality of traditional analog home improvement devices - through the integration of RYOBI's Phone Works smart devices with an iPhone or Android phone.
Equipped with a large high-resolution screen, high performance processors, plus additional sensors not typically found in most home-improvement tools, the Phone Works app augments traditional tool measurements and recording powered by the smartphone's ability to add context aware data including timestamp and geo-tagging, camera integration with a heads-up-display, easy sharing features, additional typed or voice notes, historical archive of measurements, and more.
By off-boarding most of the processing as well as the display screen, the RYOBI Phone Works tools were designed to be ultra-light-weight, compact, streamlined devices, allowing for improved portability and ease of use - all accessible and managed through the same mobile app.
Moisture Meter • Detects water content in wood, drywall, cement, and other building materials between 6%-44% • App displays moisture values against current location humidity conditions • Recordings combine photo, measurement, and contextual data
Laser Level • Activate the crosshair laser level from the app • Using the smartphone's sensors, detect 'level' or any custom angle • Recordings combine photo, measurement, and contextual data
Inspection Scope • Flexible scope provides visibility behind walls, inside pipes, and other hidden structures • Captures video or images from the app and activate the ultra-bright LED work light • As a wireless device, it can be used up to 10' away from your smartphone
Laser Distance Measurer • Measures distances within 1/16" accuracy at 90' • Calculate length, area, volume, indirect and continuous measurement functions in the app • Recordings combine photo, measurement, and contextual data
Infrared Thermometer • Measures temperatures between -22°F and 662°F • App HUD tracks surface temperatures in real time • Recordings combine photo, measurement, and contextual data
Stud Finder • Uses smartphone-controlled calibration to locate studs under drywall up to 3/4" • The device can calculate center stud within 1/8" • Shows live tracking of stud location from your smartphone screen
Laser Pointer • Uses smartphone's sensors to function as a laser level • App includes adjustable timer • SOS function also available
Noise Suppression Earbuds • Customizable noise protection suppresses noises over 82 Db, safety certified Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 30 Db meets applicable OSHA safety standards • Via the app's user interface, manually dial out specific noise frequencies (Low, Mid, and High) by using the equalizer function. • Audio recording
Beyond "just" creating one centralized mobile app hub for a specific set of devices, creating a unified user interface design across all tools was an extremely satisfying challenge to take on. The objective was for the user interface design to be intuitive when considered for one specific tool (one with expectations for very specific use as an analog tool), but translated into a digital interface - and more importantly, also logical in it's interpretation across all other tools, in order to provide a shared UI language across the app, that not only facilitates ease-of-use for the end user, but also represents the RYOBI brand as a digital product first and foremost, but one that must still feel like an integrated part of the RYOBI family of hardware devices - beyond just the Phone Works tools.
Building a digital product as a replacement for an analog tool could be considered a "gimmick" - so, it was of utmost importance to add value to the products' functionality (in the mobile app), beyond what was available in the market for such similar analog consumer tools, while at (and below) the average device price-range. Taking advantage of the built in hardware and software provided by iOS and Android phones provided opportunities to increase usefulness and leap far beyond what could have been a gimmick, to something more efficient, meaningful, and personal.
Because of this intimate relationship we have with technology, specifically our smartphones, these devices that we choose to always keep close to us and rely on so heavily - linking and attaching behaviors, tools, or other activities, to these very personal devices, strengthens our psychological connection with said behavior, tool, or activity, therefore, extending that relationship beyond the device, to the app and it's connected hardware. Keenly aware of this romance, we knew the RYOBI Phone Works app had to be something special, and something we could only accomplish through thoughtful design that merges digital UI/UX design with industrial design, maintaining a forward thinking outlook, but also acknowledging the legacy of the analog hardware that inspired this new product evolution.