NeoSpectra Scanner

Increasing efficiency in agriculture through user-centered design

Farm work is time-sensitive; animals are hungry and growing, crops have optimal harvest windows, and agriculture staff have hefty workloads. Historically, to determine the quality and composition of feed and soil, farmers would need to send samples off-site for time-consuming laboratory analysis.
Now, they can do it in an instant, in the field.
Here’s how we made it happen.

Client: Si-Ware

The task 

Design and engineer a portable spectrometer using Si-Wares’ lab on a chip technology to provide farmers with instant, in-field materials analysis to allow fast adjustments to maximise livestock feed quality.  


The solution 

The NeoSpectra Scanner- a sturdy and ergonomic hand-held device that provide on-demand accurate analysis of homogeneous and non-homogeneous samples using Si-wares single-chip FT-NIR technology. 

How we did it 

Si-Ware approached us with their technology and the idea and sought our expertise to design a portable spectrometer that optimised their NeoSpectra technology to fit the real-world needs of farmers.  

It was no easy feat. Our team overcame the complex task of engineering a device that provided suitable heat dissipation for the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) semiconductor chips produced by Si-Ware, without compromising the physical demands and ergonomic needs of farmers.

We thought deeply about how farmers would use the device. We produced many mock-ups to develop a design that could perfectly marry the technical requirements with the physical demands of its final use-case.

We built in large scanners to cater to multiple sample types, which could withstand the often dusty or wet conditions of farms, and a grip versatile enough to cater for all farmers.  

Product DNA

The product DNA phase is where we define all the overall feeling of the product and define all the necessary requirements. As well with the basic setup of parts and working principle. The end result is the initial release of the PD document.

Proof of Concept

In the POC phase, we develop the working principles and test them. All critical and unknown aspects of the product have to be understood and problems must be solved before moving onto the next phase.

ID & UX Design

During the ID phase, we create the product’s appearance and user interaction. We not only make sure that the product is designed to be ergonomically friendly and visually appealing but also keep the production feasibility and cost needs in mind. By working hand in hand with engineers and production managers, we design the product to minimize the risks and costs that may occur during the production


Our team of engineers designs the encasement and all details for production, including draft angles, screw bosses and ribs for assembly. The engineering work is tested with working prototypes and the final deliverables are 3D files and supporting documents ready to start tooling. Pilotfish can also take care of the development of the electronics with the support of our team in Taiwan.


Tooling & Production

Pilotfish oversees all tool design and the quality control of the tool production. We diligently work with trial samples until we reach the golden sample, or in other words, the perfect set of finished parts. During the pilot run, small batches of the product are made for end users to test as well as for marketing and promotional purposes and CE/FCC certification. After the pilot run, Pilotfish manages the production of the finished, ready to sell product.


The result

Farmers can simply calibrate, scan and analyse data measured from the bag, barrel or bucket to make prompt decisions and improve feed quality, in turn increasing production and profit.  

The success of our work helped Si-Ware secure a partnership with Dairyland Laboratories Inc. to distribute the NeoSpectra scanner to the market.  


         Behind the scenes