Prime Cuts: In a NUT shell

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Following a roaring success at the recent Gadget Show Live 2011, it seems that all the hard work that went into the creation of the NUT has been worth it.

This iPhone3 protective case, designed and developed by Okoqu, not only offers waterproofing and shock absorption but with its eye catching design, it’s pretty desirable too.

– The NUT is fully weather proof and shock absorbing with the iPhone suspended in a TPE overmoulded jacket inside the unit

– The main area of innovation is the screen, which is made from high impact polycarbonate. Although it’s a rigid 0.8mm thick front, the iPhone touch screen can still be used as normal with only very minimal reduction in sensitivity

– The NUT has been entirely designed and produced in the UK from design tooling, moulding and packaging

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– The starting point for the NUT was consumer driven with target markets, price point, retail strategy and design brief defined before any design work actually started

– In the early design concept phase freehand sketching was used together with Illustrator and Photoshop

SolidWorks was the main tool used in the design process. It allowed them to create quick 3D CAD mock-ups to understand overall product size and manufacturability

Keyshot rendering software was also heavily used to help Okoqu understand the product aesthetic (very important as the majority of the product is optically clear) and branding emphasis

– Both early renderings and schematic CAD models were used to present the idea to potential investors and trade contacts to gauge feedback

– As a small business with little to no development budget, simple SLA prototypes were used to understand product size, part interaction and to demonstrate to prospective buyers early on

– However, with the difficulties and costs associated with prototyping optically clear, very thin parts with overmoulded elements, the decision was taken to invest in virtual simulation and then progress to injection mould tooling

– Mouldflow analysis was used for most of the parts with a great deal of effort going into understanding how to mould and gate the lens as it is so thin and optically clear

– Once happy with the overall concept and design detailing, the NUT was developed fully in 3D CAD for injection moulding. This data and tooling drawings were then used to manufacture the product in the UK

– Interestingly, it took Okoqu almost as long to devise the product branding and name as it did to develop the product

– The NUT was officially launched to the big wide world at the Gadget Show Live event in early April. It is available for £34.99 directly from www.okoqu.com with free UK delivery.

– Okoqu are currently working on an iPhone 4 version of the NUT

– Okoqu’s design director, Russell Beard says: “We have stepped away from the ubiquitous low quality Chinese produced mobile phone accessory and designed, developed and manufactured the NUT in the UK. It is a premium product of unprecedented quality and is something of which we are extremely proud”