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Hackable, real-time smart display: receive and act on notifications, tasks, workout timers, business metrics, emails, news and more! Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 1, 2014.

Hackable, real-time smart display: receive and act on notifications, tasks, workout timers, business metrics, emails, news and more!

First samples, CES, new estimated delivery date

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Hey Kickstarter,

In the previous update, we showed you the first printed circuit boards. We were working throughout the holidays to solve all issues, and assemble the first functional LaMetric samples. 

The first functional samples and more improvements

It's Alive 

Fortunately, we had discovered early in the process and solved hardware issues, afterwards we were able to run test firmware on the PCBs.

Several hardware issues that were discovered: 

  • audio jack wasn’t functional 
  • light sensor wasn’t functional 
  • power/reset button wasn’t functional

After some time and effort the issues have been solved, and a detailed report allowed the Foxconn team to fix produced PCBs, so they were able to run test firmware correctly.

Part of the report with PCB fixes

Before producing the first PCBs, the software team has been coding in “semi-blind” mode using development boards, but real PCB components differ from the dev board and we should have adjusted the firmware to work correctly. After several long day-nights, a couple hours to New Year, we managed to make it work.

It’s Alive - CES Facebook Fan Counter finally works several hours till 2015

Fight with the noise 

We heard noise when the device was plugged into the mains. You can listen to the noise sound. After investigation and several iterations of selecting the right capacitors, we managed to remove the noise.

Investigation of the noise

Better audio

Our next obsession is to improve LaMetric audio, provided it fits the size of LaMetric enclosure. At the moment, we are seeking the best speakers that would also fit the enclosure dimensions.

Audio speakers selection

Additionally, the mechanical engineer designed special boxes for speakers to improve the sound.

Box for audio speakers

Improved top buttons design

We weren’t happy enough with mechanics of the top buttons in the last mockup, they were designed as different parts. As a result, gaps of different width between the buttons occur. To control width of the gaps, we decided to merge buttons into one physical part.

Improved top buttons design

Bigger side buttons for all finger sizes

People have different finger sizes. Top buttons work ideally for any fingers, they are big and comfortable to operate. We decided to test how volume and power buttons work in the hands of team members. It was not comfortable enough for people with bigger fingers to push these buttons. We have increased their size, so now they should be comfortable for all backers.

Bigger buttons on the sides

Improved light pipe for auto-brightness mode

Light sensor is incredibly important for LaMetric, it is responsible for auto-brightness mode which makes the screen comfortable for the eyes in the evenings. As we mentioned before, we designed the special light pipe. The purpose of the light pipe is to bring light to the sensor, so it is able to understand when it is day or night and adjust brightness. In the last mockup, it works but not ideally, especially when the light comes from different angles. Mechanical engineer has redesigned the light pipe structure to improve it.

“Golden” mockup

We have ordered the third batch of mockups to check last mechanical improvements described above. Why did we go via so many iterations of mockups? Molds are the most expensive part and it’s impossible to remove the problems when they are produced. We should remove as many risks as possible before producing them. We stick to “measure thrice and cut once” principle because we want to bring you the best quality. We are going to receive “golden” prototype in coming days. After review, we are going to start molds production. Why the mockup is called “golden”? Because it will work as the norm with the last approved mechanical approaches.

LaMetric at CES 

After assembling of the first two samples, we headed to International CES 2015. We had a long trip to Las Vegas including flight cancelation due to weather conditions. Finally, we got to our booth at CES and exhibited LaMetric.

LaMetric booth at CES 2015 (Eureka Park for startups) 

We met a lot of our backers at CES and showcased LaMetric for them. Thank you to all of you who found the time to visit our booth.

 LaMetric backer Mateus is taking interview at CES

People love LaMetric: design, screen, functionality, feelings when you touch or hold the device. We got a lot of interest to the product starting from Samsung and ending with Brookstone.

The last day at CES

New estimated delivery date

Dear backers, the new estimated delivery date is Spring 2015.

We know many of you will be disappointed to hear this, but we hope you’ll agree it’s better to take the time to get everything right now than to risk the worst disappointment of all—a product that doesn’t fully meet all our expectations.

We know that many of you are seasoned Kickstarter backers who have lived through new product “delays” before. But for those who are new to Kickstarter we want to explain more.

When we launched our Kickstarter campaign in June, we were required to state an estimated shipping date. Frankly, picking a date several months in the future with such a complicated and innovative project is not easy. No one is able to predict with certainty how long this process will take. Based on our progress at that point, everyone on the team, along with our manufacturing consultants, agreed that January seemed like a realistic month for shipping.

The good news is that everything is currently going smoothly and we have ordered the long lead time components (some components have 14 weeks lead time) and are moving ahead toward manufacturing and delivery.

There are two approaches how to implement complex and innovative projects: 

1)Rush things and create low-quality product 

2)Get everything right and try to meet all expectations. Quality always requires more time.

From the beginning, we selected second approach: the best consultants, the best manufacturer in the world, the best software team. We think a lot of our backers implement complex projects and choose the second approach also.

We are currently finalizing details to produce the molds. This is an expensive, one-time process and we have approached it with the abundance of care that it deserves including 3 iterations of expensive mockups to remove as many risks as possible.

We also stick to all advices from Foxconn, because they know how to reach the world class quality. The next phase we are moving to called DVT, we are going to produce 70-80 LaMetric. The goal of the DVT is to perform a lot of tests - climatic tests, environmental tests, mechanical tests, electromagnetic compatibility tests, production line tests, drop tests. At this phase, we are going to go via certification process also. Produced devices will be dedicated for these purposes.

Also, we want to make completely sure that the iOS/Android mobile apps will work seamlessly with LaMetric wherever the owner may be.

If you're new to Kickstarter, you might be interested to read this Kickstarter blog post that explains some reasons why many Kickstarter projects (including the launch of Kickstarter itself) push back their estimated delivery date.

Thanks again for both your support and your patience. As a Kickstarter backer, you made LaMetric possible, we hope you understand how important it is to make LaMetric the best it can possibly be.

We will keep you posted with new exciting updates about the process and progress.

Best, 

Smart Atoms Team

Magical materialization of engineering design

27 likes

Hey Kickstarter,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you and your families! We hope you have lovely moments.

In time of holidays, the next chapter of creator's experience is a good read. Friends, let’s review the recent milestone of our innovation journey.

First Printed Circuit Boards

In the previous update, we mentioned that we are going to produce first printed circuit boards(PCBs) soon. Such stage is called EVT in the manufacturing world. The goal is to run engineering validation tests and ensure that all functionality works as designed. Recently, Igor has visited the Foxconn to control this stage from hardware design point of view.

 Igor and Foxconn IDX team during the first PCBs production (EVT phase)

We showed you 3D models before, now they have been transformed into high-tech printed circuit boards. It’s a big event to see this long-awaited moment for any engineer. For the whole team, it was the best Christmas present. We have produced fifty PCBs.

 First LaMetric Printed Circuit Boards

The boards with LEDs were produced in white color to test whether it helps to increase screen's brightness.

You will ask, why do we need such big amount of test boards? The reality is, if you want to create high-quality consumer electronics product, you should care about lots of things.

Here is the list of several directions involved in the process at this stage and they all require first PCBs: 

Electrical tests. Electrical engineering team needs several PCBs to test if all components work correctly, their electrical characteristics, find potential issues and prepare solutions for the next stage of PCBs production.

Firmware tests. Smart Atoms software engineers need several PCB to adjust and test software that drives LaMetric.

Mechanical tests. Mechanical engineers team should test how mockup work with the real PCBs. These are several questions we are going to check: Does light sensor work correctly with the designed light pipe? How the screen looks with the new mechanical structure of enclosure? How speakers work inside the casing?

Production line preparation. Production line engineers should prepare special equipment adapted to LaMetric's PCB and enclosure. It includes screwing fixtures, PCBA router fixtures, run-in rack and others.

Production line diagnostic software preparation. Foxconn software team needs several PCBs to write diagnostic software that communicates with LaMetric components and checks if they work correctly after soldering and assembling. It is very important part, these tests will help to avoid or at least highly decrease the defect rate during production.

Our engineers are performing lots of tests and solving the first issues at this time.

First Batteries

First LaMetric batteries were produced to test how they work assembled with the mockup and first printed circuit boards.

Second batch of improved manufacturing mockups

We have also got the second batch of mockups with the following improvements: improved placements for the speakers, improved rubber foot, improved mechanical construction of the top buttons, increased endurance during the drop, solved assembling issues.

Mockup’s coating brings awesome touch feelings, you will love it. We are almost happy with the casing, so we are going to start molds production very soon.

 Improved manufacturing mockups

Mobile app progress - alarm clock, radio, weather, facebook fan counter, email checker, widget store.

App progress

LaMetric widget creator plans

We are working on the LaMetric Widget Creator so everyone is able to create widgets. We would like to start from transforming our “static” simulator into “dynamic”. In short, everyone will be able quickly to create the widget and indicate URL which LaMetric should poll for the data with some interval and then visualize these data on the screen. In the future, we also plan to implement the possibility to create return actions(your URLs) that can be triggered via LaMetric action button.

If you are developer, hacker or creators and you already have an idea what you would like to track with LaMetric, please leave your contacts and ideas. For us, it's very important to know your thoughts during development and hear your feedback when it is ready.

Happy New Year! 

Smart Atoms

Enclosure, PCBs and apps progress

21 likes

Hey Kickstarter,

We have some great news to share with all of you. Let’s take a look behind the scene, on manufacturing processes that each quality consumer electronics product should go through. It’s very very exciting, especially if it is the best manufacturer in the World.

Manufacturing mockups before molds

Mechanical engineer is very talented, he has designed all internal structure of the LaMetric. LaMetric’s enclosure consists of 12 mechanical parts, including the smallest things like light pipe for the sensor to make screen lighting comfortable for the eyes.

According to the manufacturing processes, before molds creation, it is very important to validate assembling and mechanical characteristics of the enclosure. For this purposes, we have ordered two batches of expensive manufacturing mockups to verify structure, how it feels, buttons functionality, assembling processes.

Take a look, mockup looks and feels really “sexy”:

Front and back side

Top and bottom side

Left side, right side and rear cap

We also created a dummy PCBs that are assembled together with mockups to check whether mechanical elements like buttons and sockets fit and work correctly. Also, it helps to define assembling process.

Dummy printed circuit boards for mechanical verification together with mockup

Based on the first batch of mockups, mechanical engineer has solved the issues and ordered second batch of prototypes for final verification. After this iteration the molds are going to be produced.

PCB schematics, layout and materials are ready for EVT run

Two months ago Igor arrived to Shenzhen. He has been working 20 hours per day in the small room far away from his girlfriend and family. He rented apartment with the view on the Shenzhen school. It is the huge motivation for him. He starts the day from physical exercises together with children and ends at night in nearby McDonalds with PCB design. Typically, in the morning he is dealing with Foxconn team, in the evening with Smart Atoms engineering team, days and nights are dedicated for PCB schematics and layout.

As a result, he has redesigned PCBs according to the enclosure’s requirements with lots of functionality improvements including mechanical buttons, speakers, audio output, Bluetooth and others. 

Hard working nights at McDonald's 

Igor's room at Shenzhen with the view on school

MotherBoard and LedMatrix PCBs ready for EVT phase

We also bought all materials for the first PCB production at Foxconn. The goal of EVT phase is to test all electrical characteristics of the PCB's components, functionality of the product. We just sent PCBs layout for production and get back to you when get the results.

Mobile apps are getting mature 

Software team is working hard on mobile apps(iOS/Android), firmware and development environment. The following video shows how iOS app works at the moment. 

LaMetric iOS/Android app progress

LaMetric - dashboard and speaker

Friends, we have Bluetooth and Radio, it means LaMetric is also the speaker. We are thinking about changing LaMetric definition on the website and then on the product package.

We are going to change LaMetric definition to: LaMetric - dashboard and speaker. Metrics, sounds and style. What do you think? Potentially someone has other ideas. Share with us your thoughts. Be creative!

P.S. One more thing, we are very happy that LaMetric’s success inspires others on creating innovations. We are happy twice that such people are among our backers. We got the message from our backer Arjan van Bremen who, inspired by LaMetric Kickstarter success, left his job and started SPIN remote project. He is going to launch Kickstarter campaign very soon. It’s awesome, innovations change the World! Each our backer is LaMetric's team member and part of Kickstarter community, it means we all share creativity and innovative spirit!

Smart Atoms Team

Foxconn will produce LaMetric

25 likes

Hey Kickstarter,

As we wrote previously, it is very hard to select manufacturing partner, you definitely need to feel who is the best one. During Shenzhen visit, Nazar has spoken with several partners, they all were nice and added value during discussions. We had also a meeting with the iDX Technology team of Foxconn International Holdings and decided to select them. This is the best manufacturer in the World, who has been working with famous consumer electronics companies like Apple, Amazon, PocketBook and others.

Here are the main reasons of our decision: 

  • Foxconn shares our vision and likes innovative LaMetric 
  • Foxconn supports our startup at the early stage and builds long term cooperation 
  • The iDX Technology team of Foxconn International Holdings has highly skilled engineering team that adds value in the process with lots of industrial solutions and recommendations 
  • It’s one of the best manufacturing partner in the World 

Our team together with Foxconn are working hard to deliver high quality product. Stay tuned for the updates.

P.S.  Many thanks for your votes. 83% selected 2 speakers and audio output, we move according to this. Backers who selected Ethernet, don't be sad, we will support WPA2 Enterprise in the software to support offices with the high level of security. 

Smart Atoms Team

Factory, product improvements, stereo audio instead Ethernet

18 likes

Manufacturing partner

It’s extremely important to have manufacturing partner that shares your vision, believes in the product, adds value and helps you make it a reality. It was the hard decision for us. We have selected well known manufacturer in the World. It means a lot for all of us. The quality, professionalism, shared vision are the main factors that had an impact on the decision. At the moment we're discussing legal things, so we still do not want to reveal its name till we solve all details. But soon we will name it.

Factory has awesome engineering team. For the last 4 weeks together with them we have made a lot of iterations of evaluations for LaMetric’s industrial design and found solutions how to make it on a big scale by decreasing risks of manufacturing.

Product improvements

We have also made several product improvements.

Top mechanical buttons to avoid occasional clicks

Sensor buttons do not give feedback and can be occasionally clicked when you take LaMetric by hands. Taking this into account, we have redesigned them on mechanical ones for better feeling and operation.

Stylish power button

We want to make every detail awesome. That’s why we have changed power button design from ugly switch to rounded rectangle.

Volume buttons to quickly adjust volume

We added volume buttons to quickly adjust volume straight from the device.

DC power jack and USB socket

The “Burrow” solution doesn’t work because of PCBs internal structure and makes LaMetric design ugly. We moved power connector on the back side.

The power consumption on the screen’s highest brightness together with audio and Wifi enabled is above the USB standard. Taking this into account we need to use DC power jack for the comfortable use and fast battery charging at the same time. But we leave USB socket for restoring firmware in rare cases. We also plan to make the cap to avoid confusion between sockets, which one is primary for powering. The cap should cover USB and show only DC power jack, which is going to be used for most use cases. So you only open the cap when you use it for restoring firmware in rare cases or for use in limited low brightness mode by connecting to PC (we plan to reach it).

Rubber foot 

To avoid scratching and sliding we think to add rubber foot at the bottom side. 

Two speakers and ability to connect external audio system instead Ethernet

A lot of backers asked us about stereo audio, we agree that two speakers is much better than one. Additionally, we think 3.5mm audio jack is a nice idea that allows listen Internet radio via your stereo system(you can see the jack near the power button on the side view).

But the problem is very limited budget. We found the solution for this: we may implement 2 speakers and 3.5mm audio output instead Ethernet. We think Ethernet is not very critical for the LaMetric because it has WiFi, and people will be able to connect it to the Internet by using not expensive router.

So we decided to make a survey, ask backers what is more important and by majority of votes make a decision. We really need your answers ASAP by Wednesday to confirm final industrial design for the factory.

Thanks,

Smart Atoms Team