We are overwhelmed with excitement to announce that we've begun mass production of the Aurora Dreamband!! We've placed our down payment and now the injection molds for the case are being created! Meanwhile the circuits are getting printed and assembled, and all of the final production samples will be put together next month by our manufacturing partners in California! You read that right, we are finally in production of Aurora, with final ship dates in sight, and there's no turning back!
Things have been moving very quickly recently and will continue to speed up as we prepare to ship your Auroras. Since the entire case is now locked in, our focus is on quality control and ensuring our software is ready to support your device! On that end we will release a new tech update very soon with progress on our app(s).
We are committed to shipping beta units to our Master Developer backers by Christmas. Those users will help us test our platform and iron out any last-minute bugs while the rest of the units are finalized, packaged and prepped for shipping!!
We want to thank you all for bearing with us as we complete this final crucial step the right way.
The production samples in December will verify our manufacturing process and make sure we have smooth sailing as we move forward. At that point we expect a 45 day lead time for full production. Our manufacturing partners can't provide concrete ship dates quite yet, but once our entire production pipeline has been verified, we'll receive that information and share it with you the moment we can.
This week we eagerly await the confirmation of our final Aurora designs. Meanwhile we are finalizing production-level purchase orders with our manufacturing partners. We want to thank all of you, our backers, for your patience as we paid careful attention to the important details for this bold new wearable device. We promise that your patience will be rewarded and we look forward to fulfilling that promise we made to you all nearly 2 years ago.
Aurora is the world's first fully-connected sleep-sensing wearable device that improves sleep every night.
We decided to start with dream augmentation - or lucid dream induction. Our inspiration truly came from necessity, as 2 years ago we thought to ourselves "well if no one else is going to build it, we will!"
After years of R&D, our engineers and neuroscientists discovered that, while successfully inspiring makers like ourselves, prior lucid dreaming platforms had failed in at least one of 6 key categories:
1) Accurate sleep tracking (most important)
2) Configurable dream stimuli
3) Fully connected solution
4) Educating users on techniques for best results
5) Adaptive algorithms that improve and reward for repeated use
6) Light Therapy for improving sleep quality
When we were designing Aurora we looked at this list of "dream" features (that never gets old for us) and literally asked ourselves "how can we build the best lucid dreaming device ever?"
And so we decided to implement all of these features. Aurora is truly the device we wished had existed when we first discovered this field 8 years ago - a platform for sleep enhancement and personal improvement. Since much of our recent focus has been spent on production, we are getting excited again about diverting attention towards testing and user experience.
As we veer into production, testing is extremely important to ensure our user experience is superb. We been lab-testing 10 fully assembled circuit boards and are very pleased with that performance. We also recently received 10 sensor-headband samples:
From those materials we hand-built 2 working prototypes and have been diligently testing them with great success! We are now ready to ramp up the number of tester units in circulation.
Lacking the final plastic case designs, we had no easy way to put the rest of the samples to use, and no simple way to provide firmware updates to our testers without micro-managing. So we ordered more semi-custom off-the-shelf plastic cases for our beta test program (expected next week). If we receive these materials before mass production then we will hand-build more tester units. We have our sights set on fulfilling the early Master Developer backers rewards.
The iwinks Platform - Firmware Updates
During our development phase, new firmware updates were a time-consuming process and something we did not look forward to. That struggle is now a thing of the past.
We are so pleased to share that we have created software enabling users to quickly and easily update the firmware onboard Aurora - letting us distribute new builds instantly and seamlessly!
Today we are proud to support updates over USB!Our new desktop application supports this essential core software; users just click "update", then sit back and watch our latest firmware magically delivered from our servers straight to their device.
Our new desktop solution ensures that immediate support will be provided to all our customers immediately after we ship regardless of whether they have a smartphone.
Thanks for reading and look out for the next technical update soon talking about our open sleep platform.
Greetings and apologies for this long overdue update,
Thanks for checking in on our progress with Aurora: the Dream-Enhancing Headband - we are very proud to share that although things have been quiet the last few weeks we've been extremely productive!
Last time, we were awaiting 3D printouts of Aurora's plastic designs for final assembly & verification. We received those designs and everything looked great when we first assembled them:
The screwless design allows the case to be opened and closed relatively easily while remaining secure. Nearly all the specs were on point: our PCB mounting holes were aligned, USB port fit in place and the battery fit snugly inside. its been challenging to get here - from designing the pushbutton just right:
to figuring out how to route our LED light effectively:
But we figured those things out and were happy to see this revision come in nearly perfect. Unfortunately there were just a few minor issues that prevented us from moving ahead and locking in our plastic mold for full production:
1) Our conductive snap buttons install correctly and make good contact with the sensor bands, carrying your brainwave signals directly to our circuitry:
Unfortunately the layout of the snaps was just slightly off from those in our headband, preventing a flush fit with the headband.
2) SD card not accessible without unscrewing the PCB.
3) Small hidden defect near usb port which only became visible once we printed out the design:
Otherwise the entire package looks and functions beautifully:
The necessary design modifications have already been made and the iwinks team eagerly awaits assembly of the final 3D printouts. We expect for this to be the final design revision before we can begin mass production :) Meanwhile we've been preparing our final purchase orders with our manufacturing partners.
We had hoped to be entering full manufacturing by this point, thereby beginning our 3-month countdown to shipment and meeting a December deadline. Unfortunately it looks like we will have just one final minor delay in our timeline. Fortunately, we will be able to afford all costs for full production with room left over for a nice inventory. The challenge will be to stay lean so that proper care can be given to the iwinks cross-platform app, infrastructure and future products.
2 years ago we set out to build the worlds most powerful lucid dreaming wearable device and that is exactly what we have done here. No pivots, no last-minute changes of heart, only exactly what we promised!
We'd like to thank you all once again for your patience as we complete our first product. As you read our updates we hope you keep in mind that none of this would have been possible without support from backers like you, and although we are 2 whole years in to this project, we are more pumped and grateful than ever for the opportunity you have provided us!
Look out for another update in the coming days detailing the technical specifications of the iwinks Sleep Enhancement Platform ;)
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..
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.
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.
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.