October 6, 2020
In our last update we let everyone know that we had discovered issues with the gluing of optical parts in our micro projectors. We're happy to report that since then we've received new projectors, and we've been testing them at length to ensure everything has been fixed and they are of high quality. We're incredibly thankful to our optics manufacturer for jumping on this and delivering us new projectors in less than four weeks.
In addition to receiving the new projectors, we've also received samples of our custom USB-C cable and wand tubes. The USB-C cable has a custom over molded feature that slides into the back of the glasses, with special grooves to keep the cable from pulling out. The cable itself is also very flexible and is angled to direct the cable down along the left glasses ear piece, making it very comfortable when wearing the glasses. We're really pleased with the look and feel of the cable, and we think you will be too.
The wand tube is also quite special. It is made of plastic that looks completely opaque black, even when shining light through it, and yet it can pass Infrared (IR) light. This is similar to the plastic material used in tv remotes, although the material we used doesn't have the typical purple look to it. It took a while to find a manufacturer who could secure the special material that we wanted to use for this part, so we were very excited to get the completed tubes for testing. At this point, all of the wand tubes have been produced for the Kickstarter and pre-order kits, and they will be heading off to the final assembly location.
Here's a gif showing some testing we did with the wands, lighting up the IR LEDs with different tracking patterns. This view is taken directly through the Head Tracking camera in the glasses. Here you can clearly see that the IR light shows through the black plastic wand tip.
We've been busy preparing for final assembly in China, and part of that preparation has been to build and ship testing fixtures, aka robots. Following are some fun gifs showing some of the robots and fixtures we've been building and testing prior to shipping them off to our final assembly partner in China.
This first robot moves the glasses into various positions, and the left and right projectors flash a set of patterns at each position. It's actually quite hypnotic to watch. If you look close in this gif you may catch some of the patterns being flashed on the board.
This next robot is one that we lovingly refer to as the Wobulator, not to be confused with a wobbulator (two Bs), which was used to tune AM radios back in the day or the Wobbulator (two Bs and capitalized), from Tel-Instrument Company. Our Wobulator tests various aspects of the glasses by swinging them around in different patterns.
This next fixture is used to program the wand PCBs. It uses small spring loaded pins, called pogo pins, that touch off on parts of the printed circuit board (PCB) and enable us to flash firmware onto the boards and test the radio. This fixture also has phototransistors that can detect the infrared (IR) LEDs on the boards, allowing us to ensure that all of the IR LEDs are functioning properly. These are the IR LEDs that show through the black tube that we mentioned earlier.
These are just a few of the robots and fixtures that we've been building that will assist with automation, validation, and testing in the factory during final assembly.
We know all of you are anxious for an updated eta on when the kits will start shipping. This year has thrown a big old wrench into the works, for everyone involved in manufacturing. Our inability to travel to our manufacturing partners has introduced delays we weren't anticipating. Typically we could be on site with our partners, building fixtures, debugging the manufacturing process, and ensuring a level of quality in all of our parts. Now we have to do smaller steps, shipping samples back and forth between the various factories that we're working with, and some things that would typically take days now take weeks to work through. We're continuing to make steady progress, and as soon as we're sure of the ship dates we'll let all of you know right away.
We value all of you, and we really appreciate your patience as we work through all of this.