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The Aurora headband plays lights and sounds for lucid dreaming with a smart alarm clock to help you sleep better.
Aurora is the world's most powerful sleep sensing device for dream augmentation.
Aurora is the world's most powerful sleep sensing device for dream augmentation.
1,428 backers pledged $239,094 to help bring this project to life.

Aurora DreamBand Manufacturing in China

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Aurora Manufacturing Update

Iwinks has been in China this week visiting factories and going over production plans and much good has come from the trip. 

Manufacturing the Aurora DreamBand Headstrap 

Our CEO visited the factory in Shenzhen that is producing the Aurora Dreamband headstrap. We have been working for over a year on these designs and were very pleased to receive the final production-quality samples. 

Final headstrap samples are excellent - comfortable AND functional!
Final headstrap samples are excellent - comfortable AND functional!

The built-in brainwave sensors are very comfortable while producing a very high quality EEG signal required for our sleep algorithms. The meeting with our textile group went very well and given the working relationship we have developed it was nice to finally meet face to face!

Daniel meets with our Chinese solutions team
Daniel meets with our Chinese solutions team

We ended up spending more time and money on them than we had initially panned for, but we are confident you will understand why when you see and feel them for yourself! We created a mold for the headstrap and will build a few more to speed up mass production.

The first mold for our headstraps - we will be creating more to expedite our build speed!
The first mold for our headstraps - we will be creating more to expedite our build speed!

Overall we are very pleased with these final samples and are 100% ready to place the full mass-production order. We have thousands of Aurora headstraps to build and a 6-week lead time for the straps, so now we are just waiting to receive the invoice from the factory to place that full order! 

The main factory working area - seamstresses at work
The main factory working area - seamstresses at work

Verifying the Aurora DreamBand Case Design 

During the China trip, Daniel visited some electronics factories to make sure we will be ready to quickly order Aurora once the plastic design is 100% verified. Meanwhile, our California design team has been focused on finalizing Aurora's plastic electronics enclosure which houses our circuitry and battery, attaches to the headstraps and features specially designed LED light ports for light-induced lucid dreams. 

Aurora's custom light ports
Aurora's custom light ports

As part of the final case design project, our design team has been simulating stress-tests to make sure the case will hold up under pressure.

Aurora plastic stress test 1
Aurora plastic stress test 1

To verify the latest designs we've been connecting with local 3D printers (via 3dHub - very cool service!) to quickly test our plastic design iterations. Unfortunately, the last few prints have come out slightly warped in key areas, preventing us from verifying critical design items. So to speed things up, we are using a professional agency to create our final plastic prototypes. It will cost a little more (alright more like 5 times as much..) but the end result will be a print that is practically indistinguishable from an injected molded part so we can finally sign off on the design and expedite the process of creating the plastic tool. We should have finalized samples in the next few weeks, and then we can place the order for the plastic tool!

plastic tools for other products in a Chinese factory
plastic tools for other products in a Chinese factory
Injection Molding machines using the tools to create plastic parts
Injection Molding machines using the tools to create plastic parts

While in China, Daniel has been working with factories to get a good price on the tooling and electronics assembly for the Aurora case which is especially important considering these two items represent the bulk of the manufacturing costs.

iwinks visiting an electronics factory assembly line in China
iwinks visiting an electronics factory assembly line in China

And since this is the absolute final step before we can begin mass production we are very excited to get it done! We are happy to report that there are still no circuit-related issues with our circuit board design! We have been developing firmware on the boards and are confident that these designs are truly ready to mass produce and are making preparations now to place that order and have the circuits assembled around the same time the headstraps are being shipped to us. 

So at this point the plastic is really all that is left before we can assemble the thousands of Aurora Dreambands and begin shipping to you!

Finishing Strong!

Finally, We are still polishing off the alpha tester version of our iOS app, and we will talk more about that in the next update! We plan to invite some of our active backers (Hi Manoko!) to help give us feedback about the user experience. The app is currently a stand-alone dream journaling app and as we finish the Aurora firmware and BLE communication protocol, we will begin to introduce the Aurora features as we are beta testing with you all.

Speaking of beta testing, we are currently putting together the documentation necessary to carry out our initial round of tests. Users of the Aurora so far have either been highly technically savvy individuals or have been trained first-hand by us, however with their feedback we have been making the Aurora easier to use and putting together a manual that should allow even the most inexperienced users to get the most out of Aurora. Additionally, we are working on simple Windows and OSX desktop apps that will allow easy firmware upgrading of Aurora so we can quickly address any bugs that arise during beta tests.

It is really quite exciting to see all the pieces come together and moving at warp speed! We are truly at the home stretch now and promise to keep working harder than ever until we ship Aurora. All we ask in return is that you please share our new website on social media and keep talking about us with your friends to help us finish strong!! We have more news on the way, so until then..

Stay lucid!

iwinks team

Aurora Mass Production, New IWINKS Logo, Website and Survey!!

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Hello again loyal backers!

More News on Mass Production

As part of our continued efforts to finalize Aurora's mass production channels, our team will be meeting with our factory in Shenzhen this  weekend. The factory has been producing our sensor-headstraps (pictured below) and we will be going over the final details to make sure production of our thousands of Aurora dream enhancing-headbands is truly ready for primetime. We have already created small batches of our headstraps and are focusing our efforts on quality control. We want to make sure the product we ship to you holds up to our insanely high standard of excellence.

Auror Sensor Headstrap
Auror Sensor Headstrap

As Aurora's headstrap production is finalized, we are focused on completing the plastic electronics enclosures, since essentially once the plastic mold is created, our delivery date estimates become concrete.

In our last few updates we talked about that progress and we are making great headway towards placing that mold order. Part of our design challenge has been to collect accurate sleep biometrics, safely direct LED light into the eyes as you dream to induce lucid dreams, and to keep everything as small and light as possible. The Dream Light problem was the last one to be solved; we created a small reflective plastic part which sits in front of our LEDs and reflects the light back to the eyes. 

1st hand-assembled reflector test
1st hand-assembled reflector test

When we assembled the most recent case design, we noticed a few high-level design flaws and fixes which would simplify assembly. So we implemented all of these design hotfixes and are now awaiting new 3D prints to assemble and test along with our circuits and batteries. Our manufacturing partners have been doing a great job with all of this and we are doing everything in our power to expedite the overall process.

We will continue this rapid design iterations & testing process until we are sure that our plastic models are %100 ready to be turned into molds, because at that point there will be no turning back :)We are so excited to be at this transitional state in our kickstarter project's history and want to thank you all once more for your unparalleled support and patiently seeing this project through to the end!

BRAND NEW LOOK

Finally, we are pleased to share one last thing. Since the beginning of the year, we developed a wonderful relationship with a group of design experts in San Diego who have generously helped us rethink the iwinks identity. Today we are so pleased to share with you the culmination of that effort - a brand new look and feel for iwinks.

new iwinks logo
new iwinks logo

Last night, we launched a brand new, cleaner and more informative website:

new website
new website

Please check it out and if you're happy with our recent communication and progress, let us know by sharing us on social media & filling out our brief survey. Or just say hello in the comments!

Thanks and we have even MORE incredible news coming soon!!

stay lucid,

the iwinks team

Aurora DreamBand 3D-Printed Cases Have Arrived!

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Greetings friends!

In our last update we announced that we are finally nearing completion of the Aurora's enclosure design. We'd like to clarify that all modifications to our earlier enclosure designs have been necessary to fit our finalized PCB design, and that we used the opportunity to ensure Aurora's LED light delivery during dreams met our insanely high standards.  

As part of the verification process for the final case design, we ordered 3D prints to be made using a high-quality SLA printer. Here is an exploded view of all the pieces:

The enclosure consists of 6 pieces.
The enclosure consists of 6 pieces.

 The parts arrived over the weekend, however there was one unfortunate setback. During transit the front enclosure piece was exposed to too much heat and warped significantly - enough to make it impossible to fully assemble the unit.

Here you can see the warpage preventing the front and back pieces from coming together.
Here you can see the warpage preventing the front and back pieces from coming together.

Fortunately, the rest of the pieces were largely unaffected and so we were able to verify that much of the build is right on target. We did notice a few minor issues preventing easy assembly - for example the SD card was obstructing our pushbutton -  and are already implementing those minor hotfixes now while preparing to 3D print what we hope to be our final case design!

We were very happy to see our Dream Light lenses functioning as we had anticipated - shining brightly through the back of the case and over each eye. It has been a difficult design challenge but are proud to share that our final design accomplishes the objective of non-invasive light delivery rather well!

New light reflector - the clear lenses do a great job of diffusing the light without reducing the brightness too much. Our earlier case designs attenuated too much light.
New light reflector - the clear lenses do a great job of diffusing the light without reducing the brightness too much. Our earlier case designs attenuated too much light.

As mentioned in previous updates, creating the mold represents the longest lead time so we are working nights and weekends in order to finish as quickly as possible and minimize further delay. However, creating the mold represents one of the single most expensive aspects of the project which is why we must painstakingly verify the design before we place the order.

As soon as we see the entire build assembled and functional we will be placing our mass order and begin the injection molding process. And as our primary stakeholders we apologize for not doing a great job keeping you updated on our progress. We will continue to work hard and keep you informed. 

We would like to thank everyone again for their humbling patience and understanding throughout this incredibly long and exciting journey. We have sacrificed many hours of sleep to get where we are today, but are now more confident than ever that it will all be worth it for the dreams to come. We will be working hard to stay in more frequent touch so stay tuned for new updates! For now, its back to work!

Stay lucid everybody!

iWinks Team

Aurora Design-For-Manufacturing Update

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Dear trusted backers, 

we are very sorry for the recent radio silence. Over a year ago you chose us to represent your interests in exploring the revolutionary crowdfunded space of connected dream exploration. Together, we set out to build a device ahead of its time - a sleep-sensing headband designed to enhance dreams!

We feel terrible that we've let you down a few times by providing ship dates prematurely that we were unable to fulfill. We know it makes us look unprofessional, however we've got one shot at this and need to do it right the first time. We are going to make it up to you by delivering some substantial updates moving forward - beginning today!

Manufacturing Update!

We're are truly in a transitionary period in the iwinks labs. Now that our circuit boards are completed, we are placing batch orders to test our molds and supply chain for mass production. Check out the assembled circuit boards below - they will be used to build the Aurora Dreamband Beta units for our Master Developer and Founder Level backers!!

First batch circuit order!
First batch circuit order!

While we have become experts of building Aurora Dreamband in the lab, we quickly learned that mass-producing thousands of brain-sensing headbands is a different beast altogether. So, to do this effectively without compromising on quality, we have been working with manufacturing teams to create manufacturing molds for each of the 3 principal components which make up the Aurora Dreamband: 

1) Hypoallergenic headstrap with soft, plush silver sensors 

2) Circuit board with cutting edge sleep tracking and dream enhancement technology 

3) Enclosure to house the PCB + Battery, and attaches to the headstrap 

We've come a long way in finalizing the designs and molds for each component since our last update:

1) Hypoallergenic headstrap with soft, plush silver sensors

Design: Finished

iwinks professional-grade Headstraps
iwinks professional-grade Headstraps

 Mold: Finished, awaiting verification

Mold is completed, straps ready to be mass-produced
Mold is completed, straps ready to be mass-produced

We received our first small batch order of headstraps from our factory last week and verified that the mold design is ready for production! 

Our 2nd batch order for the headstraps appear ready for production!
Our 2nd batch order for the headstraps appear ready for production!

We are awaiting a final set of confirmation samples to be tested with the rest of the build (below)! We will then place the full manufacturing order for the headstraps!

2) Circuit board - connected, low power, high-performance cutting-edge sleep tracking and dream enhancement technologies onboard.

Design: Finished

Aurora PCB
Aurora PCB

 Mold: Finished

we've ordered 100 PCBs, and assembled the first 12
we've ordered 100 PCBs, and assembled the first 12

 We recently placed our first batch order for 100 PCBs and have begun assembling them to build the first few early production units. We intend to use these boards to fulfill the beta units owed to our Master and Founder-Level backers. 

We have already begun sourcing and ordering components at larger quantities to prepare for our full production order. If the enclosures (below) passes our inspection we will be ready to assemble the full unit, test, and then ship our beta units to our higher-level backers!

3) Enclosure - houses our circuit board and detaches from our headstrap sensors for easy cleaning & maintenance. 

Design: In our last update we were finalizing this design with the following design objectives:

  • move the lights away from the center to maintain independent eye stimulus
  • curve the back of the unit to match human forehead curvature 
  • stay true to the original design and clean up unnecessary angles and cuts

given this feedback, we had our design group create the final concept mockups using our final PCB layout (design subject to change):

Final Concept Art for Aurora's case
Final Concept Art for Aurora's case

Out of all the mockups, "Sleek"  was our favorite and we decided to move forward to a 3D design.

Case, front view
Case, front view

 According to our earlier tests, we knew the lights should be focused more towards the back of the case, closer to the eyes. So we spent some time focusing on this problem while trying to minimizing unnecessary bulk.

Dream light windows were specially designed to focus the light towards the eyes, without blocking users' field of view
Dream light windows were specially designed to focus the light towards the eyes, without blocking users' field of view
Back of the case attaches to our comfy headstrap
Back of the case attaches to our comfy headstrap

Our design team spent some long hours finalizing those changes last week. We are very excited to receive the first 3D-printed test cases for our final design in the next few days! We will be focused on assembling the units in the lab and getting a final round of feedback before we create the final confirmation samples and place our final production order!

Hard tooling  - the last major hurdle

Now that the circuit boards are ready to be mass-produced, the hard tool is our longest manufacturing lead time. It will take 6 weeks to create the tool, then another 6 weeks to create our thousands of plastic cases using that tool. We dont want to delay shipment any longer so once we verify our case design from lab tests we will be placing the hard tool order.

And we are doing everything in our power to avoid further delays - during the weeks of hard-tool lead-time we will be focused on having all the other components in our labs ready for assembly, so that when we do receive the cases from our factories we will only be a matter of days from shipping!

Since our progress on the case is the limiting factor for creating a final production schedule, it therefore determines the earliest possible ship date for Aurora. We have offered production timelines prematurely in the past and are choosing to wait until we have a secure timeline before sharing it and creating expectations we cannot fulfill.

Final Production Schedule: T.B.D. by enclosure progress, currently est. 3-4 months

Commitment to Excellence

The progress we've made on Aurora reflects our strong commitment to engineering excellence: we are embedding a precision sleep-tracking algorithm into a wearable device and to our knowledge, this has never been done before in a consumer device! We decided to do this by listening to our community during our kickstarter campaign, and while it did set us back in our ship date, it was the best possible strategic pivot we could have made to ensure the longevity of Aurora Dreamband and any future iwinks devices to come.

At this point the bulk of the final work is in the hands of our MFG partners, so we ask that you please be patient with us as we finish the last few steps correctly. We promise you will have your Aurora before you know it!

Help Us Finish Strong! Please Share this Update!

You can help by continuing to SHARE our posts and talk to your friends about us! These efforts directly affect preorder sales which allow us to move forward quickly as we finish the last few steps. Every share counts! 

Thanks again for your patience while we finish the preparations for manufacturing. We have some big updates coming soon about our new website, alpha app release and more!

iwinks team

New Case Design, Updated Aurora Production Schedule and More!!

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Hello again backers,

We have lots of exciting news to share today! Aurora, the lucid dreaming headband is well on its way towards production. We have locked in our circuit and headband design and are now working hard with our expert manufacturing team to lock in the final piece of the puzzle: our case design.

Case Design is the Final Step Before Shipping
Case Design is the Final Step Before Shipping

Our case design is stronger than ever and we are nearly finished with all work on product design. Conductive snap buttons are designed directly into the case so you can easily remove the headband portion for cleaning. There are just a few things left to finalize with this design before we place our full manufacturing order:  

  • move the lights away from the center to maintain independent eye stimulus 
  • curve the back of the unit to match human forehead curvature
  • Stay true to the original design and clean up unnecessary angles and cuts  

We expect to be finished with this final step within the next few weeks and will update you as soon as we have confirmation. We are truly so close to being done and cant wait to go into full production! Towards that end we have already placed a down payment on a first small batch of production units. 

Updated Production Schedule   

We know how important it is that we deliver Aurora to you quickly and have created a revised production schedule with our manufacturing team to help give you an idea of how close we really are to shipping.

Our first small-batch production schedule
Our first small-batch production schedule

We are going through the final revisions of last design deliverable- our electronics enclosure - now. Our manufacturing has already begun creating 5 production units for our testing and verification. 

This will allow us to verify the full production build together for the first time. If everything goes well we can then move directly into full production, beginning the 3 month countdown till ship-day mentioned in our last update

And that's it! We truly appreciate your patience while we finish this job the right way. 

Circuit Design is Locked - In 

We are proud to announce that our electronic designs have been printed, tested and are now 100% verified and locked-in

Final PCB designs work like a dream!
Final PCB designs work like a dream!

This means we have fully moved our production resources to industrial design of the enclosure and moving faster than ever to our full manufacturing phase. 

Alpha Testing

We have officially begun our alpha test program with our fully functional circuit boards. Our goal is to collect lots of sleep data and user testimonials quickly to make the most of the limited time we have before we ship Aurora to you.

Towards that end, we are collecting a library of clean & high quality biosensor sleep data to compared against our clinic-proven datasets. The other accelerometer-based sleep tracking methods on the market are inherently flawed and our biosensor solution stands out as the industry leader for commercial sleep tracking.

Slow Wave Sleep, collected by Aurora
Slow Wave Sleep, collected by Aurora

Slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, is considered important for consolidating new declarative memories. SWS is characterized by high-amplitude low-frequency brain oscillations.

Phasic REM, collected by Aurora
Phasic REM, collected by Aurora

REM is where dreams occur and consists of tonic and phasic REM stages. REM is characterized by sharp rapid eye movements with similarities to waking stages, featuring increased frontal gamma waves (25-40Hz) oscillations during lucid dreaming. Our sensors are designed to track gamma waves and provide a reliable marker of dream lucidity.

This dataset is quickly becoming the basis for our open source sleep research program - more details on that coming in our next update.

App progress

We plan to release our app before we ship Aurora, and hope to share the iOS alpha release date in our next update. Android users - don't worry!! - we will fully support Android!! We are creating our proof of concept on iOS first before we port the design over - this is a common strategy for startups since the iOS ecosystem is easier to develop on multiple devices quickly compared to the dozens of various Android iterations on the market. 

iwinks at Clever Talks

Our CEO had the pleasure of speaking at Clever Talks - an incredible conference for thinkers changing the world. Danny shared the stage with Prince Ea and some other influential thinkers. We hope you enjoy iwinks' inception story and encourage you to take a chance to pursue YOUR DREAMS!

Believe it or not there is lots more exciting news brewing in the iwinks lab and we cant wait to share it with you!

Until next time, stay lucid!

iwinks team

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