6+ Ways Visonic Dome Evolved From Prototype To Production

visonic dome prototype blog post
Good design isn't usually perfect the first time. It's developed and revised from iteration to iteration. From prototype to production, years of refinement resulted in the final Visonic Dome design of today.

Share This Post

Revised & Perfected
From Prototype To Production

When Visonic Dome launches on Kickstarter later this year, it’ll be something like a swan song for my father’s design. But the final product that backers get after the campaign ends features a ton of improvements over the original prototype from 1989.

Visonic Dome has gone through more than a couple iterations and revisions. All those years of refinement resulted in the final design we see today. If you’ve already read our “Design Credo” page, the refinements listed here won’t come as a surprise. Every change my dad made to his design was for simplicity and effectiveness.

The following are 6+ ways that my dad refined his original ultrasonic contact lens cleaner prototype into a producible product – the current Visonic Dome design in a nutshell.

1.) Fewer legs to stand on

Can you spot some design differences in the image below vs the current Visonic Dome?

visonic dome prototype
The original Visonic Dome prototype was already a minimalist design. But by the time of the first production run, my dad whittled this form down even further.

First, notice the legs. The original had 3 feet on each side for a total of 6. The purpose of the feet is to keep the device stable when it’s running. Ultrasonic vibrations can get pretty intense.

But by shifting the angle of the two feet in front by 45° you can get rid of the lateral feet while maintaining an equally stable platform. The benefit isn’t just a cleaner aesthetic. It’s also simpler to produce. Fewer feet make the design easier to remove from the plastic injection mold.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

2.) Turn out the lights

The next, most obvious alteration is that iconic yellow ring.

Believe it or not, the original design had a glowing center ring. When it was turned off, the ring appeared transparent gray like above. Plug it in and the power-indicator light behind the button lit the entire center up like a Christmas ornament.

Visonic Dome prototype plugged in
The original Visonic Dome prototype didn’t have its iconic yellow ring… until you plugged it in. Then it became a contact lens cleaning nightlight.

Admittedly, this is a striking feature. Unfortunately, it didn’t display as well in a retail setting. The light only showed when the Dome was plugged in. So it was dropped in favor of a yellow, non-luminescent ring.

Color, as we know, is an important way to grab attention from shoppers. It’s also a way to build brand recognition. And my father had decided that a yellow ring would be the best way to create brand identification.

Another benefit of switching away from the transparent ring was that the power-indicator light could display different colors without altering the appearance of the device. So now the current design shows an orange light when it’s running and a green light when the cleaning cycle is complete.

3.) It all hinges on the baskets

Inside, the design was minimized even further.

In a previous post, we looked at how the contact lens baskets were moved from the inside of the top cover to a removable lid. That design change totally simplified the way that the baskets functioned. What was originally engineered as a 3-hinge design became a much more elegant living hinge.

In the image below, you can see how the baskets flipped out to the sides. My dad called it a “butterfly wing” design. Around the top rim of the center part was a silicone ring that acted as a seal when the top cover was closed. He later repurposed that rim sans silicone as the receiver for the removable baskets.

The baskets also evolved from an ABS plastic material to a softer, more flexible polypropylene.

original Visonic Dome prototype
The baskets were relocated from the inside of the top cover to a removable lid.

4.) More powerful transducer

Not all of the changes were just cosmetic. In fact, some of the most substantial swaps were things you can’t see from the outside.

The original Visonic Dome prototype used a wimpy 20 kHz ultrasonic piezo transducer. That also happens to be the kind that basically every other ultrasonic contact lens cleaner on the market uses, too. That worked fine as a proof of concept, but my dad was developing the Dome for CooperVision – the world’s biggest contact lens company in the world at the time. And they needed something more powerful to blow away the competition.

So after clinical tests, the engineers ultimately settled on a transducer 10x larger and 3x more powerful. That’s why we know that the Visonic Dome is just as effective at cleaning your contact lenses as enzymatic chemicals.

5.) With great power comes great responsibility

Lastly, here’s a few changes that might seem unrelated at first, but all link together. Stick with me.

visonic dome prototype back side
The original prototype plugged directly into the wall. The power prongs folded down when not in use. This was swapped out for the current design because of safety and usability reasons.

Again, Visonic Dome was originally designed to plug directly into the wall like a nightlight. The idea was to minimize cables and power cords. Unfortunately, drawing electrical power straight from the wall wasn’t ideal.

For one thing, it restricted the design to North America since other regions use different plugs. And besides that, it was kind of dangerous… Early prototypes had a tendency to blow up.


So the design was modified to run via an AC/DC adapter. This had the benefit of working globally as well as regulating the power draw. And with the addition of an internal step-up transformer, the Dome was actually running the ultrasonic transducer with even more power than it had before. More power, in this case, means cleaner contact lenses.

6.) Push the button

But changing from a plug-in design to one powered by a cable caused a front button rethink, too.

Originally, the Visonic Dome powered on as soon as you plugged it in. And pressing the front button opened the top cover.

My dad didn’t want to unplug a cable to power the Visonic Dome on and off. So the function of the front button was changed from releasing the top cover to working as a power switch. Now, pressing the button activates an automatic timer, indicated by a color-changing LED light.

The button material was also changed from plastic to silicone, which made the button more obviously press-able and had the added benefit of creating a reliable seal to lock out moisture. This was a material my dad was very familiar with from his laboratory equipment days.

And since the button no longer opened the top cover, an extra lip was added around the button to act as an affordance to help open the device.

More than just a prototype.

Finding and fixing flaws is a normal part of product design. But it also takes time and can cause delays. And the inevitable design changes and missed deadlines can leave crowdfunding backers feeling unhappy.

Visonic Dome is unique in its development stage for a crowdfunding design project since all of those refinements have already been worked out. That means every backer should get exactly what they expect – an awesome contact lens cleaner – in a timely manner.

The final Visonic Dome design – coming soon to Kickstarter

The design is ready. I’m ready. Which leaves just one important question. Are you ready?

Sign up for the email notification below to find out as soon as we launch and get your ‘Early Bird’ rewards!

Beautiful. Simple. Iconic.

Do you like good design? Do you believe that beautiful products make your life better?
Visonic Dome is designed to clean your contact lenses with less effort. And it's beautifully simple.

Exclusively on Kickstarter, Visonic Dome is available only for a limited time. Back it early to get your "Early Bird" discount and save -20% off.

Related Posts:


How To Choose The Best Color For Your Product Design

When choosing the right color for your product, packaging, or advertisement design, it’s important to ask yourself “what does my customer want?” By understanding these common color-emotion connections, you can communicate the benefits of your product more clearly – and quickly.

Read More »

simply cleaner contact lenses

win your FREE
visonic dome.

Enter sweepstakes ‧ Earn entries ‧ Increase your odds of winning

32 lucky winners are getting their Visonic Dome absolutely FREE

One of them could be YOU

yanko design

The Visonic Dome contact lens cleaner is coming exclusively to Indiegogo.

Yanko Design readers who sign up for our email notification save -50% off on launch day.

get notified.

  1. Sign up for our FREE email notification.
  2. Be first to know when we launch on Kickstarter.
  3. Save -50% off as an early backer.