Update 13: Overall update · Meet Vigo, the very first energy gauge — for you.

Overall update

11 fully functional devices from our first pre-production test batch T0

Hey backers!

It’s been a while since our last update and we’re eager to share with you the progress we’ve made over the past six weeks.

Manufacturing

Big news first: our molds are done and our first batch of test devices (T0) is out! As you may still remember from a previous update, we opted for double-shot injection molding as opposed to regular insert molding because Vigo uses both hard and soft plastics. The major advantage of doing double-shot injection molding is that it requires minimum human work and therefore achieves higher precision. Instead of having a worker take the first molded part out and insert it into the second mold, a double-shot injection molder rotates the two molds after the hard plastic part is done and molds the soft plastic part around it so it’s perfectly embedded in the soft plastic shell. Below are pictures of our molds and molding process.

One of Vigo’s molds
Double-shot injection molding process

After the molding was done, we assembled 20 devices for structure and functionality test, 11 of which are shown in the picture at the very beginning of this update. The purpose of batch T0 is to identify the improvements needed for the current structural design and ensure that the device is mass producible. For instance, we replaced the circular iron bar in the bendable neck with a square one so it would stay stationary during the molding process and eventually yield a more controlled bending in the final product. We’ve finished testing all 20 devices and started modifying the molds for the next batch (T1) of 50 test devices. The next batch will focus primarily on the aesthetic appeals and we may need some input from you then!

Algorithm

The major update from our algorithm team is that beta tests will start next week! We started designing our beta experiments over two months ago; due to the liabilities and different parties involved — for instance, recruiting drivers for on-road testing — we’ve revised our proposal repeatedly to get it approved by an institutional review board (IRB), which is a prerequisite for experiments of this kind. We’re all very excited about the upcoming beta tests because we’ll finally get to evaluate the performance of our devices under real world conditions. In addition, this is perfect timing for us to start beta since we have just finished our in-lab data collection including driving simulator tests and will be able to put our learning in good use.

Hardware

Our hardware team has long been underrepresented in our Kickstarter updates since it’s rather impossible to elaborate on their progress without writing a technical report. This past month has been hectic for them. It is not difficult to make a circuit that works; it is difficult to make a circuit that works well, on every device, and bug-free. With more and more fully functional devices rolling out of the assembly line to test, our hardware team has been working heads bent to test every single feature and measure the variations among devices. One critical change in the circuit design was removing one resistor — doesn’t sound very glamorous or dramatic, but it did the job — now our data has significantly more details, which is essential to algorithm development.

Software

Our software team is wrapping up UI implementation and moving forward to backend functionality testing and debugging. Can’t wait for you all to have Vigo on your phone!

Vigo app running on iPhone 5

That’s pretty much for now. We’re still scheduled to ship in late May (didn’t want to give out the info at the very beginning so you would actually read this update haha). Thank you again for your patience and support. We’ll keep you posted!

- Vigo team


Originally published at www.kickstarter.com.

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