March 19, 2020

“The sensor technology we are developing is something novel and beautifully engineered.” Q&A with Ani Goswell.

Ani Goswell is a Sensor Engineer at Prevayl® . Having studied for a BSc in Applied Physics and an MSc in Satellite Communications Engineering she joined Prevayl in May 2019 as one of our first employees.

We caught up with her to understand her background in space system design and spacecraft structures as well as the unique approach Prevayl continues to take towards sensor development and hardware creation.

What first inspired you about Prevayl?

During university I worked briefly with another awesome tech start up in New York. My time there highlighted the attractive features of working in a non-traditional company environment, growing the business as much around the team as around the mission.

After graduation I was looking for something with that same sense of freedom but in a field more closely aligned with my interests.

Prevayl was introduced to me and I was excited by the prospect of working with one foot in new wave electronics and the other in cutting edge textile development. 

What does a typical day look like for you at Prevayl?

My role has evolved a lot over the last year. I did a little of everything in the first six months before settling into the hardware team.

Right now, I’m working on the development of custom testing apparatus for our sensor tech, which involves a lot of lab time working with our diagnostic equipment. I also create some of the technical supporting documentation for that and additional documents to support our other departments both in-house and offshore. 

You studied space system design and spacecraft structures and mechanisms. How do you apply this to your current role?

Much of systems design builds with the same basic blocks and I think a lot of the restrictions of working on spacecraft systems, which are designed to have as low a margin of error as possible, also apply to working in a tech start-up environment with tight timelines and the precision needed to create new and innovative tech.

Stress testing and mechanisms knowledge also has a direct application in the hardware we’re developing as it’s crucial for all parts of our products to have a long, useful and sustainable lifecycle.

How do the sensors developed by Prevayl differ from the wearables that are currently on the market?

While the sensor technology we are developing is something novel and beautifully engineered, its big differentiator is that it is driven by the wider team. The ability to look at our product offering end-to-end allows our garment, software and hardware teams to integrate more seamlessly.

This enables us to deliver a product that is not just innovative by overcoming engineering challenges, but is something that is comfortable, easy to use and discreet. A system which is usable by everyone, not just athletes, workforce and medical professionals. 

How important is it to be able to create hardware in-house? How does Prevayl approach this?

Developing an end-to-end system and designing our hardware in house is crucial as it keeps Prevayl ahead of the competition. We don’t have bottlenecks by utilising someone else’s tech. Even the major players have their limitations.

Developing in-house also ensures that when we are collating our datasets, our data quality is the best it can be. This is crucial because it means we can ensure that the insights we provide to the user are accurate and concise. It also allows our team to work closely with our in-house patent team to protect ideas enabling us to innovate quicker.

We recently moved into our new research and development facility, which occupies a beautiful Grade I listed building. Here we’re able to design, fabricate, test and re-adjust all in-house – often within the same day!

The turnaround time to deliver internal projects has greatly reduced and we’re able to use our budget more effectively as our outsourcing costs have also been reduced. Plus it’s always great to be involved in more hands-on design and manufacturing. We’re lucky to have plenty of natural light and being based out of such a historic industrial part of Manchester makes it a very pleasant and inspiring place to work. 

It’s clear to me that what enables Prevayl to develop so quickly is our team. We are led by experienced wearable tech pioneers who have delivered product multiple times over but who still embrace experimentation and new innovation.

This drive and vision, coupled with our bespoke development process and in-house facilities, allows us to eclipse anything seen on the market today.

What role did your parents play in your chosen career path? How important do you think it is for future women in tech to have positive role models in the industry?

Seeing anyone who is good at what they do and clearly enjoying themselves while doing it is a strong motivator to follow in that person’s career footsteps. I was lucky enough to have that at home with both my parents working in software engineering.  

This inspiration applies across the board. Working in the tech industry can provide anyone with the right mix of challenge, creative output and reward. It’s all about being surrounded by talented, inspiring and creative people.

You’ve been involved with STEMNET since 2014, how vital are STEM ambassadors for the future of the tech industry?

I think exposure to STEM subjects outside of a classroom is important, the excitement of a school trip or a family day out can really cement a positive association which can go far in changing how STEM subjects are perceived.

A positive exposure to the possibilities of a career in STEM is super important. I was lucky enough to have this at home and at school when I was growing up. I hope to continue to play my part in showcasing the possibilities for the next generation through my work at Prevayl.