Update 14: Pre-beta update · Meet Vigo, the very first energy gauge — for you.

Pre-beta update

Hi backers!

We know it’s been a long time since you last heard from us; in this update not only will we walk you through our recent progress, we’ll also make an important announcement regarding our upcoming beta test!


When we first started this project, we did a survey on color preferences for Vigo and a third of you chose white. Although only doing black devices would be easier for us, we want every one of our backers to get the device that s/he has been waiting for. White plastic parts are likely the most difficult to manufacture among all colors for any kind of blemish would show and ruin the appearance. Over that past few weeks, we’ve been experimenting with different combinations to get the perfect white color and have overcome various roadblocks along the way. Right now only one question remains unanswered: Will the devices yellow over time? We have injection molded several white plastic Vigo mock-ups and have been observing the change in color every day. So far the result has been quite promising as shown in the pictures below but we would like more time to investigate into other options for color and material.

White Vigo with semi-transparent, ivory plastic button
White Vigo with opaque, galvanized button

Mechanical Design

One major challenge we’ve encountered and overcome is the material and geometry of the metal wire. As we mentioned in a previous update, we changed the round wire to square wire due to the following two reasons: First, securing the round wire in the molds would be very difficult and if the wire moved during the injection molding process, the molds might be damaged; second, the round wire would cause the neck of the device to twist in undesired directions. However, we later discovered that square wires could also be problematic because the geometry increased the stress concentration at the bending point and made the wire easier to snap.

Metal wire failed the bending test

With the help of our factory, we have tested over 10 materials and settled on an alloy of iron for our upcoming test batch T1. We’ll keep testing new materials until we have exhausted all possibilities and found the very best one available.

Another improvement we have made to our product is the ear gel and ear hook that help Vigo stay stationary relative to the user’s eye even when s/he is driving on a bumpy territory. We experimented with over 50 combinations of ear gel and ear hook and modified the designs of two current models based on feedback from test subjects of different ethnicity groups. The final product will come with three sets of ear gels of different sizes and one ear hook to guarantee a good fit for you with maximized comfort. Below is a pair of ear gels trying to eliminate competitions.


Algorithm & Software

The algorithm turns out to be much more challenging than we expected. First, blinks under different circumstances yield significantly different changes in data. In addition, events other than blinking can result in blink-like readings from sensors. For instance, looking downward might cause a waveform very similar to a blink’s. Therefore, we’ve been working hard on collecting as much data as possible and refining the algorithm that eliminates distractions so that Vigo detects blinks effectively and accurately. On the software side, our current primary focus is the Android app. Although both Android and iOS apps carry the same functions, the Android version has posed more challenges for us because of its open source nature. Good news is that our software team has finished the key functions and is moving on to enhancing UI and testing the frontend-backend communications.


As much as we would like to ship the devices right away, there are some issues that need resolving, some of which are presented in the above sections. However, since we are very close to the final production and are eager to get the devices in your hands, we are going to run a small-scale beta test in San Francisco early next month with some of our backers! Anyone is welcome to participate in our beta test where Vigo tem members will be present and collect feedback from participants. We’ll post another update soon once the details of this beta test are finalized. Once again, we would like to thank you for your support and patience, and hope to meet some of you in a couple weeks!

- Vigo Team -

Originally published at www.kickstarter.com.

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