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World's First Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones. 1000 Songs. Performance Tracking. Body Sensors. Secure Fit.
World's First Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones. 1000 Songs. Performance Tracking. Body Sensors. Secure Fit.
World's First Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones. 1000 Songs. Performance Tracking. Body Sensors. Secure Fit.
15,998 backers pledged $3,390,551 to help bring this project to life.

BRAGI Update - beta2 production and factory line

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Dear Backer,

our last update was 2 weeks ago. It feels like months ago. I wanted to give a short update since we are so close. This is where we are:

Building dash in beta2 

We are building 250 pairs of The Dash this week to test the results of the changes made to the mechanics and electronics. Some devices will go to additional certifications, robustness tests and internal tests. The rest will be prepared to be shipped to developer backers. 

Changes are minor in both (mostly small value changes in resistors, capacitors and inductors to electronics and minor modifications to injection moulding tooling.)

A test production line has been set up to build beta 2 devices. Beta2 is also done to balance the work steps. We track how much time each process step takes to calculate our production throughput per work step. 

Basically if it takes a machine 5 minutes to place, program, test and unmount 12 Left or Rights of Dash, that step can output 72 pairs of Dash every hour. If it takes 2 minutes to assemble a Dash, 2 people can assemble 30 pairs every hour (ideally). This very basic example shows that we need 2,4 assembly teams in production at full programming capacity. Very basic example, since we have about 180 work steps to build a pair of Dash. Each work step has to be balanced with the entire production.

As a next step (beta3) we will place all work stations in a production line to test if the balance is correct.

Batch programmer to program, test and confirm firmware on the electronics
Batch programmer to program, test and confirm firmware on the electronics
Laser cutting machine to detach the printed circuit board from the panel
Laser cutting machine to detach the printed circuit board from the panel
Small size production including ultrasonic welding machine, end of line test boxes, mounting jigs.
Small size production including ultrasonic welding machine, end of line test boxes, mounting jigs.
Glueing robot placing ultrathin industrial glue on negative/positive mechanical parts.
Glueing robot placing ultrathin industrial glue on negative/positive mechanical parts.

We are looking forward to receiving the devices next week in Munich from this beta 2 build.

BRAGI Operating system & software

We did receive the needed software from our supplier just after sending the last update. The software team has been merging code and testing has revealed some instability of the system caused by a number of different bugs. The entire team is on bug hunt at the moment. Significant amount of work, since we have to avoid unnecessary regression (things that used to work don't anymore).

We are on good track, hoping for as few bugs appearing as possible.

How does Bluetooth pairing and streaming work?

I've made a short video on how to pair The Dash with an iPhone, streaming music as well as showing how play/pausing/skipping works. Thanks to cameraman Dan.

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Timeline

Developer kits late August/early September

Initiating Kickstarter deliveries mid September and finishing shipping of about 15.000 units until mid October.

Shipment time is estimated to 5-10 days with UPS.

Greetings from Munich,

Team BRAGI and Nikolaj

BRAGI UPDATE - getting close

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Dear Backer,

the last weeks have been very intense. We initiated Alpha6 production on the 13th of July, and have been optimizing all parts for volume production. So where are we:

Mechanics

All parts were available for Alpha6 production July 24th, but the team continued to  encounter challenges in assembly of larger numbers of The Dash. Two plastic parts need to align very precisely to enable a controlled ultrasonic welding of the parts. We saw warping of the geometrically very challenging bottom part (that goes into the ear). The warping (we are talking in 1/10 of mm range) caused failure in the water proofing tests and drop tests (due to micro-gaps), as well as challenges with assembly of the speaker/ear bone microphone in the housing (air leakage resulting in reduced audio performance).

We spent 2 weeks to create a process to control the warping for production, which eventually delayed our Alpha6 assembly by 1 1/2 weeks. 

Documentation of drop testing results
Documentation of drop testing results

Waterproofing the charging pads was a challenge too, and we are design verifying the solution as we speak.

We expect design verification for the mechanics to end next week. Even though it sounds challenging, it has been less of a pain than we expected. Dan, Arne, David and our suppliers have performed stellar the last weeks. 

The Dash in white.
The Dash in white.

Audio performance

Final audio tuning is done at the end from a process point of view, when we feel comfortable about assembly process and repeatability.

Audio performance consist of 3 parts, speaker, ambient microphone, ear bone microphone performance.

The golden samples from Alpha5 sounded great, and Alpha6 perform similar to the golden samples of Alpha5. We still have some tuning to do (software mainly), but we are very happy with the performance. The Dash is still missing some definition and the tuning will tighten that up. I've been on a business trip the last week to demo The Dash to partners with positive response.

Ambient microphone performance is great. Ear bone microphone improvements need to be made in software. It is good now, but still has potential to be improved.

Electronics

The challenges on production yield was solved by Karin and her electronics team (Karin got promoted in July. Congrats to her!). We do now have production yields of the electronics that are acceptable.

Andreas is performing fine tuning of Bluetooth performance, while Eric is verifying Magnetic Induction antennas in larger volumes. Both verifications are expected to end early next week, where we will see if verification was passed. Cross your fingers.

When we produce larger numbers of devices, we see issues that fewer numbers didn't reveal. Some of them are challenging to reproduce, but Karin and team are hanging in there. Great progress.

BRAGI Operating system & software

In our last update we informed about the Essence V2.0 software release that is needed for both the developer packages and final product. We were supposed to receive a software update from a supplier needed for one of the chips we are using. 

They failed to deliver end of July as promised, and have not yet delivered it. We have daily calls with them, but have little transparency on when they can deliver. 

It will take us 3 weeks from receiving the software before we can release a production grade software Essence package (except if we encounter bugs from the delivered software we cannot fix ourselves). 

Test setup for battery charge/discharge with 10 Chargers and The Dash
Test setup for battery charge/discharge with 10 Chargers and The Dash

We expect to build final hardware early September for Kickstarter backers, but the hardware needs a software update before we can ship any product.

The rest of the software works well, the team are reducing the bug list every single day. Promise software V3.0 software is scheduled for late September release, and can easily be upgraded by users.  

Our end of production line hardware and software is installed on the production line. Challenge is now to improve the test process and software to enable much higher throughput (enable building >1000 pairs/day late September rather than 40 pairs/day in our current beta production runs).

Lisa and Theo setting the end of line test equipment up (the black box next to Lisa)
Lisa and Theo setting the end of line test equipment up (the black box next to Lisa)
BRAGI end of line test equipment. Huge amount of work by Lisa, Theo, Rafael, Alex and quite a few others.
BRAGI end of line test equipment. Huge amount of work by Lisa, Theo, Rafael, Alex and quite a few others.

BRAGI App

Our team finished a release candidate for iOS and Android. Windows phone is still 3 weeks later as communicated in our last update. The app will feature 6 areas: Activity, Macros, Sound, Profile and Service. Activity and Macros will be part of our late September update of the App (along the full Promise V3.0 software for The Dash). 

All other parts of the app are done. Looking good :-)

The Case

Arne has been trying different colours for the aluminium slider. Arne is slightly undecisive on the colour for The Dash in white. What do you think? Silver or matte golden?

Material samples of the aluminium slider for the case.
Material samples of the aluminium slider for the case.
Testing Dash/Charger interaction and charge cycles.
Testing Dash/Charger interaction and charge cycles.

The Dash and the charger interaction is being tested thoroughly. The Dash and The Charger have to shut down charging (for security reasons) if for any reason the batteries are getting to warm. All safety measures needed to pass certifications.

Certifications

Some certifications are already in progress, while others will start by end of next week. Certifications take anywhere from a few days to 4 weeks at our test partner.

Timeline

Critical path at this moment is delivery of software by a supplier. We need 3 weeks of testing and certification work after we receive their production grade software.

As communicated in a previous update to developers, we expect to ship:

Developer kits late August

Initiating Kickstarter deliveries mid September and finishing shipping of about 15.000 units until mid October.

Shipment time is estimated to 5-10 days with UPS.

Proud BRAGI team with everyone having The Dash in their ears.
Proud BRAGI team with everyone having The Dash in their ears.

A big hello to you from a part of our team in Munich. 56 people at BRAGI are working on bringing The Dash to you.

Excuse me if I cannot respond in the next hours. I'll be on a plane from the United States to Germany. A big thanks to the lady who gave up her power plug at the airport, so I could finish this update.

Getting closer,

Team BRAGI and Nikolaj

BRAGI UPDATE - VERY IMPORTANT information for developers!!!

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

BRAGI UPDATE - on track, design verification, how it works and what's next

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Dear Backer,

things are moving along well. This monday alpha6 production was initiated. If our design verification succeeds, this production run will turn into beta production (beta is used to tune and balance the production and test) equipment.

Design verification is supposed to be finished end of July for audio, electronics and mechanics.

Audio performance

In our last update we informed you we were working on removing the distortion originating from the water proofing membrane.

We have found a nice water proofing solution, and I'd love to show how it was done, but sadly cannot due to patent filing process. Hope you understand. 

Our audio team is working on fine tuning the production process to achieve consistent audio performance. If there is a small air leak inside the Dash, it will drastically reduce the sound pressure and audio quality. We are very happy with the audio quality at this stage. Audio transparency in particular is an interesting experience.

Mechanics

The (hopefully) final parts have been received and are being used for the next prototype run. We had to add glue ducts and add a few modifications to the construction to improve manufacturability.

The ultrasonic welding process had to be changed from alpha5 to alpha 6 production due to failures in waterproofing and drop testing.

Design verification of sleeves for white and black Dash
Design verification of sleeves for white and black Dash

Something as trivial as silicon sleeves need to be tested for durability, transparency, repeatability, bio compatibility and many other things. No one said it is supposed to be easy to make The Dash.

Electronics

The team is sorting out a few bugs in the hardware, that should be resolved with the  Alpha6 prototypes. The electronics team will spend the next 2 weeks on design review checking that the issues have been resolved.

Our alpha5 build from a few months ago had a lot of electronics failing, because we introduced a new chip that had tiny soldering pads. The solder paste grain size was not fine enough resulting in only parts of the pads connecting.

The solder paste on our electronics with the tiny solder pads. Each pad is 0,3x0,3mm big. Very difficult to manufacture.
The solder paste on our electronics with the tiny solder pads. Each pad is 0,3x0,3mm big. Very difficult to manufacture.

We have changed the solder paste grain size for the alpha6 run and improved the solder paste stencil (I know, it is very technical, but that is our life right now). 

BRAGI Operating system & software

Last update we mentioned Blacklight, Essence and Promise software releases. Blacklight production software was released last friday in time for our alpha6 production run starting this monday.

Our next software release called Essence is planned for final release mid August. We have a few bugs that need to be resolved with involvement from 3rd parties, and are relying on deliveries from them end of July.

BRAGI App

The android and iOS apps are coming along well, while the Windows App is approximately 3 weeks behind. 

It is absolutely unintentional, but the windows app team is missing a qualified resource right now. It has been quite difficult to hire people in Germany who are very experienced Windows app developers.

Without additional resources the Windows App will be released 3 weeks after the iOS and android app. We are very sorry, we are doing our best to catch up!

Certifications

The Dash need quite a few certifications before shipping. FCC, UL, CE, BT, USB and quite a few others. If Alpha6 passes design verification, The entire certification process takes approximately 4 weeks. Current time plan is still shipping early bird devices end of August as planned.

How The Dash works

Chris, our UX designer, has made a short video on how The Dash works. 

Chris is the person that has used The Dash more than anyone else on this planet. He is user experience testing The Dash several times a week. A process that takes 4-6 hours for the entire test. Chris didn't want to participate in the video because he had a bad hair day. I convinced him that our backers wouldn't care much about his hair. Enjoy.

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Timeline

We are tight on our deadlines right now, but project management has confirmed pending successful alpha6 design and Essence software verification, the current timeline is still valid.

What can happen? A lot of things. We could have faulty components, water ingress, bad assembly process and thus low yield in production, bugs in the software we receive from suppliers or in our own code and a lot of other things. Our list is very long, but we have contingency plans for all of them. None of the issues we see are critical, but could require additional work. That said, we are on track to ship:

Developer kits Early August

Early bird backers in late August

Rest of backers in September.

Shipment time is estimated to 5-10 days with the selected forwarder.

In the next weeks we will send updates asking you to update shipping address (especially developers and early birds) and update colour preferences.

Regards,

team BRAGI and Nikolaj

BRAGI UPDATE - on track, on track and gems overview.

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Dear Backer,

in our last update we told you that The Dash works. And it still does. 

Major part of our work has been focused at increasing the stability of The Dash to ensure that it works really well. 

Audio performance

We have speakers and microphones embedded in The Dash. Those are protected from water ingress by membranes. The membrane on the ambient microphone works great, while the membrane in front of the speaker induce distortion at low frequencies.

By applying different adhesive and optimizing membrane structure we expect to remove the distortion in the next few weeks.

Mechanics

The last puzzle parts of the mechanical structure have come together. All injection mould tools are done except for the injection mould tool for the charging area on The Dash. It needed further improvement to decrease assembly time and reduce production risks towards waterproofing. It is noncritical to the current plan.

BRAGI Operating System & Software

The Dash is a evolving platform that is capable of improving though time through software updates. All future operating system upgrades for The Dash will be free of charge for you. 

We have 3 major software releases planned. Blacklight (V1.0), Essence (V2.0) and Promise (V3.0). 

Blacklight has all features needed to be able to production test and user experience test The Dash.

Essence adds additional features and Bluetooth Low Energy support. We rely on a final firmware upgrade from a supplier promised for ultimo July to enable us to qualify the Essence software for final production.

Promise adds more advanced sensor features like airtime, cadence, laps and others.

Blacklight RC (release candidate V0.9) should be finished this Friday and will be tested until being used for our production run scheduled for July 13th through July 24th. 

Essence RC (V1.9) is planned for the 27th of July and will go onto all the developer kits. Essence (V2.0) is planned for the pilot production planned from the 17th to 28th of August.

Promise (V3.0) is planned for late September/early October update through the Bragi APP. After Promise (V3.0) you should expect bimonthly software updates that will improve the user experience, increase sensor precision and correct issues only found within large numbers of devices.

Device to program software for The Dash and testing. We call it The Vault.
Device to program software for The Dash and testing. We call it The Vault.

BRAGI App

Work is progressing according to time-plan. The App should be in the respective app stores by end of August.

A nice feature is the integrated help function in The App. Martin shows you how that works inside the iOS app. So if you have ideas, need help or have specific challenges, we will be able to help you directly inside the BRAGI App when you have received your Dash.

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This video below displays our special developer app capable of tracing all system feedback from The Dash and an interface to make The Dash do certain actions. This app will be used solely by developers to interact with and develop for The Dash.

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Things that aren't optimal

In order to make an ultra low power The Dash, we had to make some concessions. 

Lower USB transfer speeds require less power hungry chips inside The Dash.

Our choice was significantly longer battery life vs. faster USB data transfer. Battery life won.

It will take approximately 4-6 seconds to transfer a mp3 song to The Dash. Filling all the available space on The Dash with music would thus take an estimated 4000-6000 seconds (67-100 minutes). We hope that is acceptable to you with the obvious benefits in mind.

Hidden gems that make The Dash even better

If you haven't been following conversation in the comments, you wouldn't know that The Dash will do more than promised in our Kickstarter campaign. Just to sum up the most important gems:

Battery life up with 33% towards Kickstarter promise

Improved with better speakers and acoustic performance (balanced armature speakers)

Improved with higher performance ear bone microphone for speech 

The Case will be able to recharge The Dash up to 8 times at 20 deg C (In total providing 24 hours playtime without access to USB power).

Awesome case with aluminium slider

Magnetic connector for simple and convenient placement of The Dash in The Case.

Functions that are enabled in future software releases:

Added a 3 axis gyroscope sensor that can measure relative rotations (activated in Promise)

Added a 3 axis compass (magnetometer) tell absolute direction you are looking (activated in Promise)

Two independent bluetooth systems. One system is connected to your phone/tablet/laptop as a slave. The other bluetooth system enables other devices to connect to The Dash as the master. That enables The Dash to control or receive data from other sensors, locks, watches, IoT devices, remote controls etc. This functionality is expected towards a December/January release time.

An this is just the start of an exciting journey.

Refunds

Backers have no right to a refund from Kickstarter projects, but we felt that anyone should have the right to step back. Also due to the unforeseen challenges we encountered.

Your support has been amazing, and very few has chosen to get a refund. On this Friday we have to order all components needed to build The Dash for you. We hope that you understand that we can't do any more refunds for products we have already bought parts for. 

As of today we will not provide any refunds anymore. We have kept our timeline since early April, and are looking forward to provide you with The Dash.

Competition on name

We had a small competition on our Facebook page to give the magnetic charging interface inside The Case a name.

We chose MagSnap. Short, precise and similar to the noise made by The Dash when placed in The Case. 

Congratulations to Alasdair Grant who was the first one to come up with the name. What do you think?

Timeline

We are on track to ship:

Developer kits Early August

Early bird backers in late August

Rest of backers in September.

Shipment time is estimated to 5-10 days with the selected forwarder.

Mikme microphone

If you make music, record sounds or make video's you'll like Mikme. My friend Philipp from Mikme just started an Indiegogo campaign on an awesome wireless studio grade microphone. It has reached >$80K in a day. I've followed Philipp's progress the past years and I have backed it too. Check it out.

http://igg.me/at/mikme-microphone

Regards,

team BRAGI and Nikolaj