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The Time Key Money Box

Variations of money boxes, piggy banks and coin jars have been part of domestic life since ancient times, used first as a necessary tool in the absence of banks, as a helpful aid to teach children financial literacy and in recent times a way of saving funds for everything from a new car to a dream wedding. They have transitioned from modest terracotta urns, sterling silver steam trains, novelty pigs and back again.

Today, with the media embracing saving, scrimping and bargain hunting and a shift in consumer behaviour to an awareness of value over cost, retailers everywhere have seen mounting sales of these novelty items– with one of the most popular designs, uniquely decorated terracotta urns, whilst the classic piggy bank still remains a childhood favourite.

The Time Key Logo

When Adam and Dan Kelly from Voorpret Ltd approached Cubik, they had a smart solution in mind for the modern day, money box user and gift giver – rethinking the humble money box from the realms of the novelty to the world of personal financial management.

Concept

Voorpret’s concept was to design an electronic money box which encouraged the user to save as much as possible within a self-determined timeframe, without the need for will power, which disables the user’s freedom to retrieve the saved funds within this time but ultimately retaining the possibility for funds to be redeemed once the time has passed. The concept was geared towards solving two problems:

  1. Classic money boxes do not encourage or challenge the user to save.
  2. Popular money boxes do not give any option to retrieve funds other than breaking the unit.
  3. Bringing the money box into the 21st Century allowing users to set goals and targets on a mobile app device.

Voorpret intend the product to manage personal savings and as a perfect gift idea for a friend or relative with a big event to save for –  a parent may gift it to their child at university who has dreams of travelling at the end of their second year of study, with £50 safely deposited in The Time Key to be redeemed in a years’ time for their Eurostar ticket.

Cubik were commissioned to refine the specification in the first instance and progress the product all the way to the manufacture of three prototype units.

During the first phase of development, the project team at Cubik consisting of design engineers Chase Callender, Giles Sanders and Project Manager, Luke Davies, set to work on the important research which would form the foundations of the project, outlining the following product requirements whilst selecting suitable power supply, user interface and locking components.

Hardware Design

With a tightened up specification, design work could begin. In this instance Cubik partnered with local industrial design suppliers – Amalgam Models who were tasked with the design and manufacture of the enclosure.

The schematics were generated, followed by the PCB layout using Altium Designer.

During the Design, Cubik’s project team also outlined both positive and negative user stories to underpin the embedded software design.

The Time Key Box Model

The Time Key Box Model

The Time Key Box PCB Layout

The Time Key Box PCB Layout

Protoype Production

Prototype Production

At this point, with the design phase signed off, reviewed and approved by both Voorpret and the Cubik team – the project was ready to advance into production.

BOMs and design outlines from Amalgam Models were sent across to our production team enabling procurement to begin. The team manufactured three prototype boards with one in reserve; the process including procurement lead times taking three weeks.

Software and Test

Software and Test

At this point in the process, our multi-talented design engineer, Chase Callender began the coding the software which would enable the product’s unique functions, including the locking, time setting and power saving features.

When the software was complete, the team was in a position to validate the unit against the compliance matrix compiled during the specification phase, testing for the correct use of power sources, the display of time and required locking/unlocking.

Project Wrap-Up

With a functioning board, working software and beautifully designed enclosures, the three prototype units were ready to be packaged up, in preparation for Voorpret to carry out important user acceptance testing.

Cubik’s work may have ceased for the moment, however, we are currently in talks with Voopret surrounding a possible 2nd generation of The Time Key with an increased number of functions – but for now we can’t wait to find out the fate of our prototypes over the coming months, with a product so attuned to a tangible problem, investment and funding success could be on the cards!

CONTACT US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR REQUIREMENTS

HiETA

Adrian Schmieder of HiETA commented: “Cubik’s quick turn-around of a functioning PCB has sped the delivery of the project and enabled me to focus on areas of the project in which HiETA has expertise.  The project is a great success and produced valuable information even from its first use.  I am very impressed with the support Cubik provided me throughout the project, from initial concept through to PCB delivery.  I will not hesitate to engage with them again as future PCB projects arise.”

Inductosense

Speaking about the collaboration between Inductosense and Cubik Innovation, Founder and CTO Dr Chenghuan Zhong (Bamboo) stated: "It was great working with the knowledgeable and experienced team at Cubik Innovation. They always provide full support as well as useful and thoughtful advice to us, helping us find solutions for really difficult problems."

Aquabar

Geoff Jones, Aquabar Inventor: "It was a pleasure to work with Cubik on our project. Paul and Sam understood the concept at one meeting, and produced a solution filling the brief within two weeks which has enabled us to find a potential partner. We will certainly use Cubik for our production units later in the year, Many thanks."

Plymouth University

Paul Davey, Associate Professor (SL) Plymouth University: "If you need a prototype developed to a high standard and on time you would be hard pushed to find someone better. They have highly trained, experienced engineers who get the job done."

Clean Energy Prospector Ltd

Damon Rand, Head Product Design: "Paul and the team have really helped us speed up the turnaround on our prototypes and assure the manufacturability of our designs. If you’re designing electronics in the South-West, then Cubik is a great choice for short-run manufacturing."