App, Chip Pro updates, and tooling pictures
Doppler supporters lend me your ears!
We have a full update below with some pretty interesting pictures on the bottom! Read on and let us know in the comments any questions you might have.
Everyone has a favorite feature of the Doppler and we were surprised pretty early in the process as to just how many different favorites there are! Some love the big display, others love the USB C upgradability, most like Alexa, but the thing most of us at PAI are most excited about is the App. Not necessarily what the App can do at launch, but some of the features we plan on adding after the Doppler launches. In order to get you some of these awesome features even sooner, we have decided to bring in the big guns and have agreed to a partnership with the Zemingo Group.
We have been talking to the guys at Zemingo for about the last 12 months on and off and finally got to meet face to face at CES. Their expertise is really going to bring a level of polish that we couldn’t have achieved. It will also allow new and exciting features to come to the Doppler sooner than we could without their help. Currently, Zemingo is reviewing everything we have done previously in regards to the app, ripping it apart and improving it. We can’t wait to see what they come up with, it’s going to be awesome!
As some of our backers have noticed things aren’t looking too great over with one of our main hardware partners, Next Thing Co. (NTC) makers of the Chip Pro, the “brain” of the Doppler. Allow me to explain what’s going on, how this affects the Doppler, and what we are doing about it.
Back when we were designing the Doppler we wanted it to have a full computer inside, this meant a tiny SBC (single board computer) embedded inside the product somehow. Most of the solutions were going to be too expensive, so when we found the Chip Pro we were thrilled. This was a $16 computer available at any quantity that was designed to be embedded directly onto our circuit board. We ordered some boards, tested them out and were happy with the solution. Since we were working with these guys so closely, we knew something serious was going on as early as December.
We were told in January that things were looking up and we were in discussions about putting in our production order when things QUICKLY turned south. In the next couple days, it will be announced that the assets of Next Thing Co. will be for sale allowing someone to manufacture and sell Chip Pros to people like us. Now, this being said we have no idea if or how they will change the product and what price they will sell it for. So for the first production run of the Doppler, we need to go a different direction.
Over here at PAI, we have been very busy evaluating multiple different options to replace the Chip Pro. We looked at any and every option we could imagine, from producing our own Chip Pro, using a Raspberry Pi, to doing everything with a microprocessor. While we haven’t settled on one yet we have narrowed the contenders down to 2 options and we are confident we can decide on one in the coming month or so. These are both SOM (system on module) solutions that run Linux allowing us to easily port our software over from the code we had built for the Chip Pro.
So how does this affect the timeline? Long story short, it shouldn’t affect it at all. Both solutions we are looking at have relatively short lead times and our software can easily be integrated over to the solution we are using. We will have to do a couple new revisions of the circuit board as the footprint of the new solutions are slightly different from the Chip Pro, but this isn’t a big deal at all. Unfortunately, stuff like this happens all the time in the business and being able to adapt quickly is the name of the game. We are sorry to see NTC go, but fear not, the Doppler isn’t going anywhere!
Tooling is underway for the Doppler! The tools should be done in the next couple weeks and we will get the first parts of the tools, T1s, soon. This will allow us to put together the first injection molded Doppler and see what sort of tool modification we have to do to make everything fit juuuust right. Check out these pictures of the various Doppler tools!
While these hunks of metal are dirty, gross and grimy now. Once they are finished they will be textured and polished up and they will create the plastic parts for your very own Doppler! How exciting is that?
Thanks again for your support and we look forward to any questions or comments you guys might have.