Are you ready to get Naked?

Five months ago, a Lateral View team of developers started working on a couple of game-changing apps for Naked Labs, a startup creating the first in-home body scanner.

Our client, Naked, is perfecting a scanner that makes 3D digital models of users’ bodies and collects and displays health and fitness information from each model including circumferences, body fat percentage, weight, lean and fat mass values.

Our team, formed by Joaquín Gatti, Operations Leader; Fernando González, iOS Developer; Martín Bacigalupo, Android Developer; and Federico Mazzini, iOS Developer, is working to develop iOS and Android mobile apps that work with Naked’s hardware. Here’s an interview to get to know more about this project!

What is Naked?

Joaquín Gatti: It is a startup based in Redwood City, California that was founded in 2015. Their objective is to build a product with which users can quickly scan their bodies, obtain a 3D digital model and see metrics like body fat, waist size and much more. The idea is to track the state of your body over time.

Martín Bacigalupo: Yes. It’s aimed at people who are making an effort to change their body through exercise or diet, are training for an event, looking to improve their athletic performance, or just curious about how their body is evolving.

Is it just for high performance athletes?

MB: Not at all. Anyone who wants to see how their body improves or worsens day-by-day can use it and can find it really useful.

Which is Lateral View’s role in this project?

Fernando González: Naked needed mobile apps and Lateral View got into action to give them solutions. As a product, Naked, has a few different “parts.” On the one hand, there is the scanner hardware itself, consisting on a mirror and a scale, and on the other, the 3D digital body model and all the data obtained from it. We articulate each of those parts and make the information available, legible and understandable on mobile devices.

Federico Mazzini: That’s exactly it — there’s Naked’s hardware and software and we help their team connect it to mobile.

So you have developed the app for both iOS and Android.

JG: Yes. Actually, we are still working on them.

How much work is left?

FM: We’re in the home stretch.

JG: We are polishing the main functions of the app that allow a user to scan and visualize the information that the scanner provides on the app, like graphs of data over time. At the same time, Naked’s team in California is working through final manufacturing and production tweaks on the hardware.

Do changes in hardware have a direct effect upon your work?

JG: It depends. We interact with the device using Bluetooth so if there is a hardware change that implies adding a new feature that needs to be shown on the app then absolutely, it affects us. But, if an improvement has to do with something like camera calibration or with the rendering of body parts then it will probably won’t change our work.

Can the information that the app collects be used for medical purposes?

JG: It is not Naked’s priority currently, but it may be used for medical purposes in the future. The technology they are developing has a great potential that still needs to be exploited. I know they have received a ton of interest from doctors, physical therapist, university researchers, college and professional sports teams.

How is the hardware sold?

JG: Naked sells the hardware through their website on a pre-order basis. They are not shipping yet but they will start this spring.

Can you download the app without having the scanner? Is it useful?

FG: Yes, because it includes a demo. With the demo you can see body models from a couple of their long-term beta testers to try the basic features of the app, understand how Naked works and see how it can help track body changes over time.

Who is responsible for the visual aspects of the app and the product?

JG: Naked’s design team is responsible for the design — they design of their app is an important touchpoint for customers, so they take the look and feel very seriously. We help them with comments and suggestions based on our experience, especially with Android design.

MB: Yes. We also help them understand the development limitations and trade-offs between different designs so they can make smart decisions.

JG: And we also let them see other apps we’ve developed using certain libraries so that they understand to what extent of features and customizations.

What is the workflow like?

MB: We have calls in which the whole Naked engineering team participates. We talk about the tasks we are working on daily and have planning meetings every two weeks. We also have two groomings every week where product requirements, software architecture and designs are explained. This setup allows us to keep on working without losing track of the changes and new stuff ahead.

Was it always that organized?

JG: When we started working with Naked it was more ad hoc. The first interviews were calls because we are based in Barcelona, Spain and Mar del Plata, Argentina and they are in Redwood City, California. Once we were partners with them, we traveled to their offices.

When we arrived we realized that the workflow between all the parties needed better organization. So, we took the lead on implementing agile sprints. After a while, another Naked team member — a Product Manager — with him we continued to further organize and prioritize features, functions and tasks across all the engineers as our pace picked up.

Part of the project’s success resides on knowing exactly what you are going to build and how you are going to do it. We try to help them define requirements, think through features and make sure the sprints go according to the plan. We talk regularly with the designers and the product owner and all of Naked’s other engineers including Bluetooth, Cloud, Computer Vision, and Mobile.

One of the biggest efforts has been around Bluetooth. In fact, there is actually a Bluetooth SDK for each platform (iOS and Android) that we developed to communicate with a Naked scanner. It’s also flexible enough to have other scanners paired in the future.

Was the Lateral View working team always formed by the four of you?

JG: When we started we were 3 of us. A few months in, I had a meeting with Naked’s Product Owner, and we discussed our overall speed and she suggested we added one member to the team. The majority of Naked’s customers are Apple users, so we realized that the most logical thing to do was add a second iOS developer to our team.

This has been helpful when testing hypotheses — while there are things that come out of research, there are others that have to be tested before in order to intelligently allocate resources and time. Having iOS moving at a slightly faster speed allows us to experiment in advance: if a feature works on iOS, only then we implement it on Android. We don’t want to replicate any errors.

Who is in charge of testing the product?

MB: When we went to Redwood City in December, Naked’s research team ran a two-day study. They had 20 people of different genders, ages and sizes take 6 scans per day, Saturday and Sunday, to test the quality of the scans.

JG: During that study, they also collected data to compare the results of their scans to other measurement techniques — including manual circumferences (with a tape measure) and dunk tank and DXA test to measure body fat percentage. On top of that, they interviewed people and had them test out the app. We were in the office helping troubleshoot — it was actually lot of fun!

While continuing to perfect their product, Naked has also been sharing it with the public. Last month they participated in one of the most important technology conventions in the world, the Consumers Electronic Show (CES), in Las Vegas.

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