May 8, 2015
How Piper nv Was Created
The move from Piper classic to Piper nv was an intricate process that our design team hasn’t yet been candid about, until now.
Though we had a successful debut with Piper classic, we felt there were features we needed to add into our second security system to make it even more optimal than our original.
For Piper nv, the standout upgrades were an all-new camera system and night vision. Despite knowing it would be a major challenge to include these new features while maintaining our industrial design, we refused to back down (afterall, it was our quirky appearance that captured the attention of millions in the first place).
With night vision, every camera emits near-visible infrared wavelength light in order to be be able to see in darkness. This is a wavelength of light that’s invisible to us, but one that Piper’s image sensor can pick up.
Apart from retaining a similar look, a real challenge was making sure that the IR light from Piper was properly diffused and spread out, since Piper’s fisheye lens captures 180 degrees of wide angle video.
To top it all off, we wanted to hide the IR LED’s responsible for emitting the light behind two different colors of plastic!
So, in order to:
- keep a similar design
- introduce night vision
- allow for wide-throw IR LEDs
- diffuse the LED light and
- hide the LED’s behind both black and white plastic,
…we had to work with an advanced plastics manufacturer and test every IR-transparent material we could.
In the end, we had to formulate a brand new type of plastic for the black model, and use material specifically designed for LED light bulbs for the white model.
The entire process took 3 months, and was only a small part of the work we had to do for night vision. We still had to squeeze the LED’s in the case, introduce a switcher for the image sensor, shrink other components and support the new camera system in both the Piper firmware and mobile app.
Participating in the development of this feature was a highlight of my career!