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Unlock the potential of your DSLR or mirrorless camera and capture amazing images in any conditions.
Unlock the potential of your DSLR or mirrorless camera and capture amazing images in any conditions.
Unlock the potential of your DSLR or mirrorless camera and capture amazing images in any conditions.
15,766 backers pledged $2,650,310 to help bring this project to life.

Update #9

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Hey Backers, Ryan again. We’ve been really busy since the last update. Things are moving along well. This post got a little long, so the tl;dr is: we hit a few snags this month, but we should still be able to get orders out to our Kickstarter backers in January as estimated.

New Cameras

We received more requests for Nikon D850 support than any other camera. We managed to get one in a few weeks ago. Everything worked great (with no changes on our part), so we added it to the list of supported cameras. We haven’t been able to get the A7Riii in yet, but since the A9 and A7Rii both work, I’m very confident the A7Riii will work also. We’re scheduled to get one in a few weeks from now, but sometimes those rental dates get pushed back (as happened with the D850), so we’ll see. Hopefully we can get one in soon and add it to the list.

Hardware

Phillip and I just got back from a trip overseas to work with some of our vendors. The trip went really well. We’re fortunate that Arsenal is a fairly simple product, but it still takes a ton of coordination to get everything together for production runs. Major thanks to Phillip for handling most of the back and forth.

Some of our custom USB cables for the beta run

Click to see a timelapse from the trip (shot through a window)
Click to see a timelapse from the trip (shot through a window)

 

Rubin (our mechanical engineer) has been working hard on our enclosure. The enclosure has been through more iterations than we expected, but the changes we’ve made have really improved the product. Creating a case that fits together perfectly, is strong and durable, looks good, is easy to manufacturer, and easy to assemble takes a lot of changes and testing. Working on tooling for injection molding is a long cycle. Thanks to Rubin for pushing hard on things. In this last iteration, we made a few changes to improve the electrostatic discharge protection.

AI/Machine Learning

Our training set has expanded quite a bit over the past few months. While this doesn’t increase our neural network’s model size, it does increase our image feature/settings database size. Fortunately, I was able to make some big changes to the way we store the images and we now have quite a bit more RAM available to other parts of the code. Not the most exciting change, but it improves performance in a lot of other areas.

Camera Testing

We’ve been spending some time lately working through the way Arsenal handles various edge cases on different cameras. A lot of these issues involve when a camera battery is dying or when the usb connection is unplugged/turned off in the middle of operation (For example, some cameras disable the USB connection when a battery is below 5%, but the camera will still run). Knocking these issues out takes a bit of grunt work on our part, but makes for a better experience.

Software

Linux

Arsenal runs Linux under the hood. We’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately working on bringing some control features into our Linux kernel. We wanted some features from a more recent version of linux, but our processor shipped with an older version. (Which is really common, since the processor vendors tend to fork Linux when they start developing a processor. That means when the processor is released, the Linux version is usually at least three or four years behind.) We only need a few features brought over from the older kernel, but it’s taken a bit of time. These features mainly revolve around exposing the power management system to linux, so it can better handle frequency and voltage scaling and give us a better look into the cpu thermal performance.

Firmware/Software Updates

Ben finished up the software side of the firmware update process this week. Having code that runs on both a device and in an app presents some interesting challenges when it comes to firmware updates. The main things we tried to balance were:

As software developers, ideally you want it so both the app code and device code are always on the same version. Trying to make app code and device code run different versions results in a complex matrix of version interactions that’s best avoided. The solution here is to make sure app and device code always run within the same version. On past projects I’ve done, I’ve noticed there’s usually a small group of users who hate firmware updates. (Having been burned by failed updates in the past), so we were hoping to make it so users could maintain a version if they really wanted. The challenge here is that apps auto-update on some devices. Since some phones are set by default to auto-update apps, we need the device code to update with the app.

The last point is the one we haven’t solved yet, but it’s something I want to figure out before we ship. As an aside, I own a drone from a popular drone maker. A few months ago I drove out to a small lake very far “off the beaten path.” I got the drone out, went to connect to it from my phone, then the app on my phone told me that I needed to update the software on the drone. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near cell service. The app wouldn’t let me connect without connecting to the internet. So I had to drive 30 minutes back until I got cell service, then another 30 minutes back to the lake. All in all this was a pretty bad user experience and something we would like to avoid.

We’re still trying to figure out a good solution to this problem. We need the update to be downloaded to the phone and ready so when you first connect to Arsenal we can push the update. For smaller updates we can include the device firmware update file in the app. Unfortunately, we can’t free that space after the device updates. That’s not a big deal for code updates, but for AI model updates thats a lot of wasted space. (~200Mb) Another option is to implement background fetch, to check for updates and download the update.

Anyway, probably more info that you wanted to know about our firmware update process. We’re planning to have lots of updates even after we ship, so we want to make sure our update process is solid and provides a good experience for our users.

Bug fixing

Corey has been spending most of his time lately tracking down some bugs. Not the most exciting thing ever, but I’m glad he’s working hard on it.

Packaging

Now that our packaging dies are close to finalized, we’ve started working on the packaging design. (There is lots of weird laws about packaging we’ve been spending time on to make sure we’re in compliance)

VIP/Beta Units

After some dropped pledges, we had about 70 people who backed at the VIP/beta level. We were hoping we would be able to ship the beta units with the previous enclosure design in November, but when everything came back a few days ago, there were some issues that needed to be addressed. Because we needed one more iteration on the enclosure and tooling, we will have to push back when we ship the beta units by 3 to 4 weeks. The tooling creation process for injection molding unfortunately takes a while.

I want to apologize that we won’t be able to get the beta units out in November. We know a lot of people who backed the VIP/beta units did so to receive them early, so we will be emailing people who backed at the VIP level, offering full refunds, or partial refunds if they still want to wait to receive a beta unit when they are ready.

Part of the reason we included the beta run was to make sure the hardware worked well before we went to production, so we don’t want to ship out units with any known issues on the hardware side.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that even though we’re a little behind on the beta unit run, everything is still looking good for us shipping the main units in January. (The tooling from this beta run will be the same used for the production run.) We should have all of the hardware finalized this week, then we will just be waiting on the tooling.

Wrapping Up

We’ve been celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday here in the states this past week, and we’ve been talking a lot about the things we're thankful for. I've hired a few people in my life. For whatever reason they tend to be either really good or... let’s say not so good... at their job. This year I've been fortunate to find a few great new employees and bring on a few great people I've worked with in the past. It's been awhile since I’ve worked on a project at this scale and I'm really grateful for the current team.

I’m also really grateful for the community that is starting to form around Arsenal. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and kind words.

P.S. Here’s some shots from a recently testing (wildlife and portrait.)

 

 

 

Tristan Phipps, Wilson J Cano, and 245 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Richard Bazerghi on

      What’s happening with this project???
      I’m still waiting for the item

    2. Missing avatar

      Robert on

      Hello, will this product ever be shipped? Is there any update please

    3. Aaron Warkov on

      What is the shipping date now?

    4. Rafael Viso on

      any updates on shipping?

    5. Kevin Shafer on

      when is this getting shipped out?

    6. Ryan Stout 2-time creator on

      @Radu @Papa maxi Sorry, just saw these. Have you seen our latest updates (with a full demo) here and here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2092430307/arsenal-the-intelligent-camera-assistant-0/posts/2083020 and https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2092430307/arsenal-the-intelligent-camera-assistant-0/posts/2123480 (The 2nd update has a full demo of the app) Really sorry we had to push back our shipping date (to April) We can do a full refund if you would rather not wait.

      Thanks

    7. Missing avatar

      Papa maxi on

      I do not have any confident any more on this project

    8. Missing avatar

      Radu on

      We are practically in March 2018. What about the delivery?

    9. Ryan Stout 2-time creator on

      Hey Everyone, sorry, just noticed the comments on this update. Please see our latest update here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2092430307/arsenal-the-intelligent-camera-assistant-0/posts/2083020 Unfortunately we had to push our ship date back. Really sorry about the delay. If anyone doesn't want to wait, we can issue a full refund, just email help@witharsenal.com Again, really sorry about the delay.

    10. Missing avatar

      James Humphreys on

      Can we have an update please

    11. Missing avatar

      Bernadi on

      hi, any updates for the shipment?

    12. Missing avatar

      Pat O'Shea on

      Hi again any chance of an update there hasn’t been one since November and all the months before but nothing was n dec or Jan ?

    13. Missing avatar

      Joy Hammons on

      Are you still on track to ship in January?

    14. Missing avatar

      David kors on

      Happy New Year. Eagerly awaiting. Any updates?

    15. Missing avatar

      Todd Southren on

      Happy New Year 2018! Any more updates how is the progress? BTW looking through your posts and just for my own edification I have 2 on order but I never confirmed compatibly for Nikon D40X and Nikon D300?

    16. Missing avatar

      Pat O'Shea on

      Hi guys just wondering when shipping starts ?

    17. Chris Rives on

      Hi Ryan... turns out I’m moving in the next week, how can I update my shipping address for Arsenal? Thank you!

    18. Missing avatar

      Brett Hill on

      Thanks for the update. Everything sounds like what I would have expected in a project like this. I appreciate the comments on things like improving the available RAM as while that isn't the sexiest thing out there, I know it matters. Hard to sell improvements in invisible infrastructure. I wouldnt burn to many cycles on the edge cases cause they are after all edge cases. As long as the unit fails relatively gracefully, you're good. Updates are big one and the industry standard practices ought to get you there quickly enough. Sending a notification when updates are available is about as good as you can do. If you want to pre-download updates, be sure make that optional. looking forward to ship date.

    19. Ryan Stout 2-time creator on

      @Andrew Bodine Hey Andrew, so from your end, you'll just get a notice that there's an update and you can click to install from the app.

    20. Andrew Bodine on

      What will bug fixes and code updates look like once the units are released? Will this work through the app? Have to hook the arsenal up to my laptop? Glad you are working on most of the bugs and linux kernel issues now rather than later!

    21. Ryan Stout 2-time creator on

      @Lori Marron Benforado It's the same Arsenal unit, the only difference is which USB cable you need. (to match the camera) You can go here: https://app.crowdox.com/retrieve/2092430307/arsenal-the-intelligent-camera-assistant-0 to update the cable your Arsenal will ship with. You'll also be able to buy more cables through our site at any point ($10) Thanks!

    22. Lori Marron Benforado on

      Quick question, I am now looking to upgrade my Canon T5i to a full frame camera, will this effect my unit? Will I need to get a different one later when I upgrade my camera? Thank you so much for everything, we are so freaking excited to get this!!

    23. Missing avatar

      Salman Chishti on

      Ryan! I appreciate all your effort! I knew this would be awesome. Please do not rush the product for us funders! I want you to take your time and make it the best you can :)

    24. Ivy Schexnayder on

      I am interested in this being compatable for Sony a7s and the Sony a6300. Can't wait to get mine!

    25. Angela Mandarino on

      This will be fun once it's all done and in hand! Want to get a lot of shots of the stars!

    26. Stephen Ng Lip Chuan on

      Greetings from Singapore.
      Thanks a million for the update.
      Appreciate It.
      Will continue to wait patiently.

      Best Regards,
      Stephen

    27. Edward Wilcox on

      Thanks for the update! I just want to play with the unit. I know how to get decent pictures with my camera and would find it fun to see how I do against Arsenal.

    28. Philip Ashmore on

      Hi Ryan. Thanks for the update. I'm with the 'Rather wait till all the wrinkles are ironed out' camp. Can't understand the impatience of the minority. I'm off to Tenerife for 3 weeks in June, has long has I have got mine for then I'll be quite happy. Phil Ashmore.

    29. Ryan Stout 2-time creator on

      @Brian Monahan Sorry, the GX8 won't be supported at launch, but we'll be adding more cameras (through a software update) in early 2018. Best wait until we announce official support to buy (incase there's a technical issue and we can't get it working) If you want, you can enter your name and e-mail here to get notified when new cameras are added: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/d/F852CB82DB1A4B81

      I just got the GH5 in, but I can't say when we'll have time to get it added for sure. Hopefully soon. But some cameras are real easy to add and some take a while.

    30. Missing avatar

      Ares Kralendonk on

      Thanks for the update! Can't wait to try out the time lapse / tail light shot you made! :D

    31. Missing avatar

      ntrepid on

      @Yahya Biner Ryan has done a commendable job and delays should be expected. Would you rather have a product which is 80% of what you expected (but on time) or 100% of what you need (and late)?

      If you want to see a project which has had delays, check out Bonaverde - 3+ years and counting for backers.

    32. Missing avatar

      Leif-Erik Bredesen on

      Hi Ryan,
      PLEASE don't let one persons vitriol ruin an otherwise very positive feedback from the backers that have commented. I totally agree, delaying a product shipment is only beneficial in the end!

      Leif Bredesen.

    33. Pat M.
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks, Ryan for the update. I love to see how things take form and evolve over time. Can't wait to get me hands on arsenal next year :D

    34. Missing avatar

      Karl Double on

      Thanks for the update - and keep it coming - if you need a tester I'm using Canon6D ;O)

    35. Spectre Time on

      Thanks for the update Ryan! Cant wait to use this on my D5500 :)

    36. Missing avatar

      James Stumme on

      Loved the in depth update about the firmware. Keep them coming :)

    37. Thomas Lesch on

      Still miss the Panasonic G81 ;-)

    38. Missing avatar

      Andre Gonzalez on

      @yahya biner. HAs ryan not been transparent through out this whole campaign, has he not commented or answered questions openly about everything. Just because there is a hiccup on this particular campaign you are going to automatically complain and assume, Ryan has been open and told us that there will be a delay for the VIP/ beta peoplep. and that he would give back the money for being a beta or vip person. So if thats not enough for you why dont you just tell ryan that you want a refund and you dont have to be apart of this camaign anymore and not worry about these delays. hes offering that but i guess thats not good enough for you. this is one of the most attentitive campaigns ive been apart of. so why dont you run along and not be negative over a little snag. we are still on time for majority of the backers just not the vip which again hes offering a refund on that.

    39. Missing avatar

      Roberto on

      I'm with the majority of backers and commend you on great communication with your backers. Thanks for the update and the great work. I can't wait to see and use the final product.

    40. Missing avatar

      Yahya Biner on

      We are sick of these delays!!Is kickstart too lax with these people like ryan and that wanker fromsuperscreen that disappeared with our monies and kickstart can’t do anything? Class actions are about to haunt all of you!!!

    41. Missing avatar

      Yahya Biner on

      why is it that lately every project pull our chain after they get their monies and delay delay delay delivery sighting all sort of problems, don’t you know this before you promise the world Ryan?

    42. William Sparkes on

      Thanks for the update, much appreciated.
      Looking forward to the one that says"Shipped!"
      But take the time to get it right :)

    43. Jason Dunn on

      It's so refreshing to see a creator investing the time into communicating with backers in a thoughtful, detailed way. Please know that we all appreciate it! Thank you.

    44. Dave Creith on

      Great update, no worries on a delay, I'd much rather have a great product later. Thanks

    45. Missing avatar

      Simon greaves on

      Can't wait to try out the timelaps function at night

    46. Missing avatar

      Roy Loso on

      Give Olympus some love!!!!! Thanks for the update.

    47. Missing avatar

      Edward
      Superbacker
      on

      Speaking of drones, let me know when you figure out how to attach the Arsenal to the Phantom. I'll be first in line!

    48. Joseph Linaschke on

      Awesome update and no worries on the delay! Excited to see what you’ve been working on :-)

    49. Missing avatar

      Arlan Crane on

      Thanks for the updates. As much as we all are excited to receive the product, please keep up the good work and don't stress about the delays. Getting the product RIGHT is more important than hitting the schedule, in my opinion.