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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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..