blueSLR: Combining Bluetooth® and Smart Device Technologies


"The decision to engage with Design 1st to be our design partner was an excellent investment. They had the talent to take our idea, render it, complete the engineering, prototype it and work through the physical, ergonomic and aesthetic aspects of both the manufacturable product and the retail package. All of which allowed me to focus on the software, the operation and the requirements of the business." Derick Cassidy Founder & CTO, BlueSLR


Working with Ottawa-based XEquals, Design 1st was the industrial design and physical product development engine for the blueSLR product; A truly “Made in Canada” product, XEquals’ first product’s success comes from combining a Bluetooth® module with a companion application for the iPhone®, iPod® Touch and iPad® devices which enables well-known digital SLRs (Single-Lens Reflex) camera brands such as Nikon®, to be wirelessly controlled.


As a Bluetooth® device, blueSLR is an accessory that connects to any compatible digital camera. Remotely control the camera’s focus, shutter release, or timer by downloading the free blueSLR phone companion App to the smart device, in addition to remote shutter release, the blueSLR App also enables users to encode the GPS location information from the smart device and geocode (place location data) are automatically embedded in the picture files when you snap the picture.


For Design 1st, the challenge was to create the physical housing around a wireless accessory that works with ;mobile devices to remotely actuate a Digital SLR camera's shutter, and have the ability to encode GPS coordinates in all pictures taken by the camera. The accessory had to blend into the camera body – materials needed to match the camera materials so as not to stand out when the accessory was connected to the camera, and size had to be minimized. The accessory needed to be designed to allow the same accessory body to be used with a multitude of camera bodies - by simply changing the adapter on the accessory to mate with the appropriate connection type on the camera battery.


Derick knew he had a great idea in blueSLR but what he needed a partner to see it through to a market-ready product. He turned to Design 1st because he felt confident they had the expertise to take the idea from concept to engineering prototype. Design 1st worked through the physical, ergonomic and aesthetic aspects of both the manufacturable product and the retail packaging which left Derick free to focus on the software development of the product and the operations of his growing business.

Combining art and engineering is a careful balance of talent, team and experience. Success comes through recognition by others and the accolades for the blueSLR product have been growing in number. The product received a Bronze award in the Electronics category in Appliance Design’s 24th Annual Design Award competition. Products entered in this prominent competition are carefully examined by an independent panel of judges, comprising of industrial design experts who judge the entries based on appearance, human factors, innovation and technical merits. This design award is in large part due to the collaboration created by the blueSLR/Design 1st partnership.


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