and thank you for supporting Aurora Dreamband - the world's first sleep sensing headband designed to influence dreams! We started as a kickstarter project to build the most advanced lucid dreaming device out there but ended up with a platform capable of so much more! While our partners have been busy with manufacturing, we've developed a cutting-edge platform capable of aiding doctors, researchers and hackers in creating their own sleep studies!
We are excited to report that mass production is seeing great progress! A few days ago we received the final samples for our smart-textile headbands - the last set of final samples we had been waiting on. They look and feel GREAT and have let us verify that the molds are now ready for mass production! We are working with the manufacturer on sourcing and protocol for the headbands to keep quality control high as we expand production into the hundreds and thousands.
Meanwhile, our first mass-production order for the plastic cases have arrived and we are beginning to assemble the first mass-production batch of electronics in our lab!
While we will build the first batch ourselves, we're working with our MFG partners to automate this build process at our factories while keeping costs down and quality control high.
At this point, our top priority is to hand-build the first batch of units in the lab and immediately automate this process with our partners to ramp up production. We've identified a minor issue with installing our snap buttons - affecting one out of every 5 units - and are working with our factories to machine a tool to fix the issue.
We are also working to have our packaging, fulfillment and shipping logistics ready to facilitate the balance of your orders, and to create inventory for future orders.
Live Updates Every Weekend!
If you've been joining us for our live chats (Sundays at 3pm hosted on our twitter channel), you've seen the progress we’ve been making each week, from the day we got our embedded platform online, to the day we received our final plastic and electronics samples... all the way to today. You’ve seen the trials and tribulations from receiving samples, identifying issues, and working with the factories to get it right. Most of all, you've seen a committed and dedicated team who will stop at nothing to get the job done!
We are embarking into unknown territory - building a product that has never existed before and its been many weekends and late nights in the lab. If you’re happy that we've continued to press forward on our original promises and pleased with our recent progress, please buy us a pizza! Few things boost moral in the lab like a hot pie!
We hope that the next time we provide an update, we will have a few of the first batch of devices ready to ship!
We are excited to announce a collaboration with tech giant INTEL and UC Berkley's Entrepreneurship center! Working closely with these groups, iWinks recently participated in a one-of-a-kind tech accelerator program (and graduated with a prestigious award); the program took place over the last few months and will air on NATIONAL TELEVISION soon! Full announcement coming next week!
Lets Talk iWinks Tech
It's been 2 months since our first beta units made their way into the hands of our most adamant supporters - and boy have we learned a lot! These brave and patient souls have helped us identify all sorts of bugs and usability issues; this has been instrumental in getting Aurora Dreamband ready for prime time. We owe them a big thank you - its because of them that all of our backers will receive a fully tested, streamlined product with a great user experience! Today we will be sharing what that process has been like, and featuring the incredible software we've developed to perform these critical tasks!
Firmware (Or, Delivering a Great User Experience!)
Now that our manufacturing partners are pushing manufacturing forward semi-independently, our team efforts are focused on finalizing the finished product as soon as we receive them so we can immediately begin fulfilling orders!
Towards that end, our beta testers have been testing our latest 6 firmware builds as beta releases and each new release has improved and stabilized the Aurora Dreamband user experience. The firmware is the magical machine code that allows our device to deliver a great user experience and will be installed by our team on the final products when we receive, package and begin shipping them to you!
Early on, several of our beta testers experienced over-stimulation - the LEDs were too bright and flashed too often. Since then we've focused on designing our default REM-stim settings (including the minimum amount of time between stimulation as well as the default brightness of the LEDs) and collected lots of sleep data - which has directly improved the accuracy of our sleep staging algorithms.
We're happy to report that together these changes have greatly improved our tester's nightly experiences and we are already receiving some incredible testimonials - and for the first time ever we are happy to report that users that have no professional affiliation with our team have been experiencing Aurora-Dreamband-Enhanced-Dream-Experiences (ADEDEs)! While the field is still so young, these early promising results mean that we are ready to start shipping a great product to you now, and to build on our success moving forward!
The iWinks App
Codenamed Borealis, our cross-platform desktop application is providing users with a way to get the full Aurora Dreamband experience tonight. Our first release is for the desktop - and we are supporting both OS X and Windows machines!
Our beta users are already using this tool to configure and update their Aurora Dreamband - helping us collect sleep data and rapidly experiment with new features in the field! The past 2 months has been dedicated to working out the kinks for this software and we are excited to announce the current list of features!
Firmware Updating - With a click of a button, Aurora Dreamband firmware is downloaded directly to users devices! This means our user experience is constantly evolving as we learn from our beta testers!
User Accounts - Access your sleep data on any computer. Simply log in with your account information and voila!
See Your Sleep Data - Syncing your Aurora Dreamband data to your computer is a breeze. View important statistics about your sleep, including a hypnogram showing your actual sleep stage progression through the night. Most sleep trackers fail to do this reliably and we've not only solved this challenging technical problem but have embedded it within the device itself (smartphone NOT required)!
Share your data - The app allows you to seamlessly upload your raw data to the cloud, enabling us to anonymously retrieve data from the field to help improve and monitor our algorithm's performance.
Automatic-Updates - The app updates itself automatically each time it is opened!
We are celebrating this major milestone since this platform enables us to test the core value proposition for Aurora Dreamband while opening the door to new possibilities.
The next features we'll be tackling will help our lucid "power" users get more out of the device by providing enhanced configuration settings to take greater control of their REM dream stimuli!
But what about the mobile app?
This desktop app will be serving as a user experience testbed for our first batch of shipments. Because mobile development can be timely and costly, and after rebuilding several versions of our prototype iPhone app, we decided to focus our efforts on building a great standalone device first before layering in the app experience. Our progress with the desktop app has already provided us with great knowledge that just wouldnt have been possible from a smartphone app. We plan to release iOS and Android apps after we begin shipping the first finalized devices to backers and preorder customers.
When Can I Expect My Device??
You can expect an official dedicated update regarding production very soon but we have some very good news today! We have resolved all the remaining issues with the manufacturing and are simply waiting for our partners to finalize the production schedule. We are preparing to place the down payment for the first large batch of units and will update you once that is done (we expect this to happen sometime in the next week or two)! At that point, we will be only 45 days away from having the first batch of units in stock, ready to be shipped!
Check in with us today!
The truth is, things are happening so fast now that when we sit down to write an update, things have already changed by the time it's finished! So instead we've been hosting weekly Periscope live chats (link on our twitter feed) to provide regular updates on our weekly progress. The live chat is held every Sunday at 2pm PST (notice earlier time due to Easter Sunday) and we encourage you to join us and ask your questions to get answers in real time! We look forward to seeing you all at 2pm!
Last Sunday, during our live Periscope chat, we promised a more in-depth KS update. Here it is! If you missed the chat, please join us every Sunday at 3pm for iWinks Live on periscope! Follow us on twitter to learn more about dreams and sleep, stay current on progress through our beta testing and receive event notifications for iWinks LIVE! If you can't join us, you can always watch the video for 24 hours on our twitter feed after each live event!
To recap our video chat from Sunday, our plastic mass-production samples have arrived and we've assembled the first few in the lab. We are happy with the final production quality! There are just a few minor tweaks to make and then we will be placing our full production order. We have already sent the requests to our manufacturing partners and await a final delivery schedule!
In the meantime we are working with our textile partners to receive the final samples for the headband:
We expect to have all final samples in our office by middle of next month. Our overall lead times are still the same as we've always stated (2-3 months), so all we can do is hurry up and wait for the final samples.
Until then we will be hand-assembling as many units as possible in the lab and shipping a few more beta units to our select Kickstarter backers. Also, remember that as we get closer to full production, the beta units will more closely resemble the final product! We're not there yet, but soon we will be expanding our beta test group - so stay active in the conversation with us!
Borealis Launches Today!
We are so happy to finally announce the beta release of our Borealis software platform. The counterpart to Aurora, Borealis will do all our heavy lifting - data collection, firmware updates and helping us test new value propositions with our growing beta group!
The first release is focused on supporting USB-firmware flashing, and with it we are so excited to release a new firmware build featuring major REM-identification improvements! Our betas already have access to the tool and we will be working round the clock to release the new firmware build over the next few days.
This tool will keep our beta testers up-to-date with the latest build so that we can test which features we will import into our smartphone app. We've already learned so much from our beta testers and Borealis is going to revolutionize the way we make new discoveries about sleep and dreams!
iWinks LIVE - Every Sunday 3pm PST
Every Sunday check in with iWinks LIVE - we are hosting weekly live video chats to share our progress for the week, show off any new goodies and talk about what's still to come. This week Andrew will host the first ever Tech Chat! If you are a developer, hacker, or just plain interested in what will be possible with the Aurora platform we encourage you to join us!
If you can't join us during that time remember you can always watch the video session for up to 24 hours after the session on our twitter feed!
We Love Pizza!
Finally, we want to express our sincerest gratitude to you all for your support to keep this dream alive! If you like what we are doing and the progress we are making every week, we really like pizza and would so appreciate if you would help us keep moral high as we finish up this project! Please, if you love what we are doing - show your love by buying us a pizza!!
If you're like us - strapped for cash but working hard, we rely on word of mouth. Just telling your friends about iWinks and sharing our posts to social media goes a very long way in furthering our cause!
Thank you all again so deeply for supporting us - we are almost home!
we are happy to report that the plastic cases from our manufacturing partners have arrived and they look great! Check in on periscope tonight (link on twitter) to see the new samples (see below)! All of the parts fit together as intended, and we have been able to install our circuits and batteries to create functional unit that can be mass-produced!
While assembling these new samples, we did notice a few minor issues with the plastics:
-The snap buttons do not fit perfectly into their slots (even though we provided verified 3D models)
-The pushbutton needed a slight modification to fit correctly
-The reflector piece arrive without the mirror-like finish we had requested, awaiting the fixed samples
We have been working with our team to implement the mold fixes and we are awaiting a timeline for the final deliverables. We are hopeful that this will be the final round of fixes on the electronics/case before we place the mass production order for the Aurora Dreamband case!
Beta Testing Underway
Meanwhile our team has been hard at work shipping out our beta units and collecting data from the field. We now have 5 units in circulation and are working to release our software platform Borealis to our betas. This software will streamline data collection and support new patches and firmware updates as we move towards fulfilling the rest of your orders. Our next update this week will talk more about this progress.
Check in With Us Today!
We have truly enjoyed talking face-to-face with many of you on our recent Livestreams and look forward to more! Tonight we will be hosting a periscope live chat - check in with us on twitter for the link:
We are happy to announce that we have shipped out the first Aurora Dreamband beta units to our Master-Developer kickstarter backers!
You read that right! We are shipping units to the first backers! These lucky supporters will get to test out our fully-functional prototype units! While this is not yet full-blown production (update coming on that soon), this is a first pivotal step towards satisfying all of our kickstarter rewards!
Aurora Dreambands are now on their way to our MVBs (Most Valuable Backers) all over the world!
Lets Dream Together!
So far, people have really enjoyed testing Aurora Dreamband and have shared some exciting dreams with us experienced while wearing it! One subject reported having much more clarity during his dreams when testing Aurora - more than he has had in years! Another reported the ability to fly (although we are are mystified by the fact that no stimulus was even presented that night..)
Given all of our early success we are excited to open up our testing to the public and to introduce our distributed testing utility - Borealis.
As we finalize our smartphone app, borealis will let us rapidly deploy new solutions to our growing user base and collect valuable feedback automatically. This utility is critical because:
(1) USB firmware updates means testers can seamlessly stay up to date with the latest and greatest builds from our engineering team with a single click.
(2) Dreams are very personal and unique to each individual as are everyone's brainwaves. The more users we have testing our platform and contributing data to our algorithms the better our dream and sleep-enhancing solutions will become.
Aurora Dreamband Full Production
Our manufacturing partners have been making great progress in getting the Aurora Dreambands built and assembled!
We have already received the first large batch of fully assembled circuits, batteries and SD cards. We are now waiting to receive the plastic case samples built using our rapid injection mold tool, and the final headband production samples. The most recent headband samples came out really great and are much more comfortable than our pre-production models, so the hold up remains to be the plastic cases. We are scheduled to receive the plastic case samples by the end next week.
Since we are working exclusively with local domestic manufacturing partners now, we are keeping a close eye on production while developing the quality assurance tests for the final Aurora units.
Today we are setting out on a journey together - a journey into a very personal space. Therefore it is important to us that you - our stakeholders - stay happy!
While we will always cherish our beloved lucid dreamer community without whom we would not be where we are today, there have been many recent comments from backers and preorder customers who are understandably upset about the production delays.
So we would like to host a live conversation about iwinks - covering production, Aurora Dreamband, dreaming, sleeping or anything else you'd like to discuss regarding this kickstarter campaign and/or your webstore preorder.
We will be announcing the time and date for our Livestream(s) on our facebook page. We will try to host a few of these sessions over this weekend so keep an eye out for the link! We invite all of you to join in on the discussion over there.
We are so close to finishing this project and we want to thank you all so much for your commitment and patience during the course of this project. Even after everybody receives their Aurora, the journey will only be just beginning. We'll have more good news for you soon!