Update 11: Pre-production Units
It’s been three weeks since our last update and we’re eager to share with you what we’ve been working on. Due to the overwhelming love of our new design, we think it’d be the most appropriate to start this update by introducing our new pre-production units to you! In manufacturing, a pre-production unit (PPU) is a fully functional prototype of a device for demonstration and evaluation to prepare for mass production. Below are some pictures of our two PPUs.
With the two PPUs, we were able to verify that our circuits worked properly and the material properties met our expectations. But most important, the two pieces revealed how we needed to improve our mechanical design. For instance, one major issue we encountered earlier was how to make Vigo adjustable to fit different facial structures. After some experimentation we decided that the best way to approach it would be to make the neck bendable which posed a challenge for the manufacturing techniques involved in joining two materials together — hard plastic would only cover the two ends but soft plastic would wrap Vigo throughout its length. The two PPUs showed a distinctive line where the hard and soft plastic met and one of them outlined the contour of the flexible circuit board (FPC), which didn’t quite meet our aesthetic standards.
Therefore, we were very careful to choose a molding factory that has the capability of doing double-shot molding, the best way to manufacture dual-material products. The other route, cheaper and faster, would be using traditional insert molding, which requires more manual work and therefore is less accurate. Since the last thing we want to do is compromise quality for cost and time, we opted for double-shot molding to be able to eventually deliver a high-quality product to you. And for that reason, our estimated ship date is delayed to the end of May. Making molds for such a dual-material and irregular-shaped product turned out to be much more time-consuming than we had expected, and we offer our sincerest apologies. We had previously scheduled our ship date based off an average mold making time of 30 days; but we needed to make two sets of mold for double-shot molding which would take approximately 60 days. I know this is frustrating because this isn’t the first delay in the course of the past year, but we are just as eager to see Vigos being shipped out as you are, if not more. Our mechanical engineers have been working closely with the molding factory modifying the design to ensure its manufacturability. Our hardware team, consisting of former Cisco employees, has been running rigorous tests on the hardware to enhance its robustness.
Meanwhile, our software development teams are going full speed ahead as well. To ensure that Vigo also comes with an app that provides a seamless user experience, we teamed up with a Shenzhen-based software company exclusively focused on mobile app development for innovative hardware products. They have extensive experience in working with Bluetooth products, which many other teams we have reached out to don’t have, and were able to customize a development plan based on our needs as well as provide valuable advice on app functions. In addition, to make sure that not only does the app do what you expect it to do but also look the way you expect it to look, we’re working closely with an European design team to enhance the app’s user interface (UI). We understand that people have different aesthetic preferences due to demographic and cultural reasons, and that’s why we chose this UI team whose style is more modern and concise. Below are the new UI designs for our app. If there’s anything you like or dislike about the current UI, please leave a comment to let us know! After all, the whole point of doing UI is to make sure that you like it ☺
Last but not least, we would like to make a little happy announcement: Yiping, who graduated from University of Pennsylvania last year with a double-major degree in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, joined us two months ago to be in charge of hardware and manufacturing!
Yiping is a very outdoorsy person and this picture was actually taken on a rock climbing trip to the Gunks. Before joining Vigo, she worked at a Hong Kong-based startup company focusing on manufacturing related innovations. We’re very excited to have her on board and can’t wait to see what we’re able to create together.
And… that’s a wrap!
The Vigo Team
Originally published at www.kickstarter.com.