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blink(1) is a small USB light to give you glanceable notice of anything on your computer or the internet.
blink(1) is a small USB light to give you glanceable notice of anything on your computer or the internet.
blink(1) is a small USB light to give you glanceable notice of anything on your computer or the internet.
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2,655 backers pledged $132,317 to help bring this project to life.

And... we're shipping!

It's been a busy two weeks since our last update. The most important news to report is: we're shipping!

On Monday, we shipped 1200 blink(1)s to our fulfillment house, Fulfillrite. The wonderful people there should receive it early next week and start shipping them out to you shortly after that. They are based in New Jersey so don't be alarmed that it's not coming from California. We will try to ship in the order that people backed. 

Next Monday we will ship out at least an additional 1200 blink(1) units. Why aren't we shipping all of them at once? Because we have to have a...

blink(1) Assembly Party

Almost two weeks ago we had our first "blink(1) assembly party". This is where we get together as many of the extended ThingM family together to do the final assembly, QA, and packaging of the blink(1)s. It turns out it takes quite a bit of work to do this final step.

Here's what one of those parties looked like:

We fast discovered an efficient assembly process was:

  • Take electronics ESD packet and liberate 25 blink(1) electronics boards onto ESD mat
  • Inspect electronic board for "bump"; if bad put in reject pile
  • Snap electronic board into plastic case bottom
  • Snap metal case tops onto case bottom
  • Clean and Inspect finished blink(1); if bad put in reject pile
  • Place blink(1) in holding box
  • Repeat with another electronics packet

Then we had a separate packaging process:

  • Fetch blink(1) unit from holding box
  • Quick inspect to make sure it's good
  • Fetch white blink(1) box
  • Inspect box for blemishes; if bad put in reject pile
  • Insert blink(1) into box
  • Put blink(1) box into to-be-shipped box

Once we get going, these processes allow us to assemble, QA, and box up about 100 blink(1)s per person per hour. All that snapping gets your fingers pretty sore after a while.

Effusive thanks to Carlyn, Abe, Amber, Kim, and Ben, our inaugural assembly party people!

Assembly Issues

You may have noticed in the process above, we can kick out components into a reject pile. This is expected. Whenever you make thousands of something, some will not meet your criteria. We try to have multiple points of inspection to catch any issues. And we have ways to recover from the loss of those rejected parts.

For instance, while the electronics have previously been tested to be good, we found that some had solder bumps on the USB jack that made it difficult to snap the board into the case. The fix for this is easy: a quick snip with diagonal cutters shears off the solder bump and the board can be used.

Another issue is with the milled aluminum enclosure tops. Besides needing cleaning to remove trace amounts of cutting fluid residue, there were a few with obvious manufacturing mistakes.

Here's the three examples we've seen. On the left, the part was apparently only milled on one side, leaving the top large and flat. In the middle example, the piece is slanted to the right, perhaps because the piece wasn't level when milled. On the right, there is a blemish in the metal that looks kind of like a freckle. It's cute, but not part of our design.

We recover from these issues by ordering extra tops, assuming some would have problems. I'm pretty impressed we've only had a handful of bad tops.

A third issue we've experienced during assembly is that some of retail blink(1) boxes got damaged during shipment. We didn't expect this, but when we contacted our box maker, they agreed to ship us some extra boxes to make up for it.  Here's what that damage looks like:

IFTTT Integration

The awesome folks at IFTTT.com have received their pre-production blink(1)s and have been experimenting with integrating them IFTTT recipe output actions. We'll have more details soon. If you don't have an IFTTT login yet, go get one! It's an incredible resource and will be the easiest way to get info from Net-based services displayed on your blink(1).

So look for a blink(1) channel on the IFTTT channels page soon.

Pre-orders

Just a reminder, you can pre-order extra blink(1)s on our new shop: http://shop.thingm.com/

Note this is for pre-orders and they will only be shipped after all shipments to our Kickstarter backers have been completed.

Thanks!

To everyone in the US, have a Happy Thanksgiving!  And to everyone outside of the US, have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is a great holiday for everyone, a celebration of food with friends.  It does mean we'll need to move blink(1) packing off the dining room table for a day, but we'll be back at it on Friday.  With our belts set a notch looser. :-)

-=tod

Comments

    1. Creator Hedgemeister on December 26, 2012

      Have not received anything guys? No BlinkM yet. No email updates since Nov 24.

    2. Creator Tyler Eynon on December 13, 2012

      Got mine, neat little thing, waiting patiently for the app as im no coder.
      Already signed up on ifttt. There a beta build we could help you test?

    3. Creator Richard Cardona on December 6, 2012

      Still waiting here. Who is the shipping carrier? and/or is there any shipping notification or way to get a tracking number?

    4. Creator Nigel Samaroo on December 3, 2012

      Have you shipped to any customers yet ?

    5. Creator Frederick Roeber on November 28, 2012

      Yay! FWIW, I'd be happy to assemble mine myself.. I'll probably be pulling half of them out of their enclosures anyway.

    6. Creator Neal Zipper on November 28, 2012

      Boy I'm running to the mailbox every day. If it gets here by Friday no house chores are getting done this weekend!

    7. Creator Samuel Sandoval on November 23, 2012

      Did anyone get their yet? Still waiting...

    8. Creator Andrew Essex on November 23, 2012

      Thanks for keeping us oh so updated guys! =] Excited for your project.

    9. Creator Bryan Hanks on November 23, 2012

      Blink, blink, blink, blink, BLINK!

    10. Creator Josef Ferguson on November 22, 2012

      You guys should really be commended for the stellar communication through this whole process. If you were an ebay seller, I would totally be rating you A-plus-plus-plus-plus-plus! The constant updates (with pictures!) just makes me more and more excited and more and more confident in the project. Some other Kickstarter projects (*cough* Pebble *cough*) could learn a thing or two from how you guys have done things. Kudos!

    11. Creator calvinbean on November 22, 2012

      I don't mind if you use damaged boxes to ship mine. I'm not gifting any of them.

    12. Creator calvinbean on November 22, 2012

      Perhaps anyone who ordered 5 or more should get a free misfit! Yes, I ordered 5. You can't blame a guy for trying, right? :)

    13. Creator Charlie Gibson on November 22, 2012

      do you have any closeup pictures of a good blink(1)? I want to bask in its design.

    14. Creator Mistar Knowitall on November 22, 2012

      +1 for the misfits

    15. Creator Jamie on November 22, 2012

      Woot!

    16. Creator Hector Silva on November 22, 2012

      I second Adam's comments. Looking forward to some blinking fun. I agree that a bag of "not quites" would be an interesting proposition, of course, with no retail packaging and with the agreement that it would be NFR( Not For Resale/Redistribution)

    17. Creator Adam Shields on November 22, 2012

      Thank you for all of the fantastic updates! The process is quite interesting and it's enjoyable to know the process requires so much TLC.
      I will like to ask what happens to all the "misfit toys"? Is it at all possible some of those "rejects" could be off with some orders for Kickstarters? To me, it's like when you got a misprint card (baseball, Marvel, you know...geeky things) as a kid/young adult. Obviously some may not work, some may be somewhat unsightly, but ultimately they're part of the awesome history. Not to mention... possibly tinker worthy?
      Mayhaps having a "bag of not quites" at a low price could also be a cool compromise...

      All of this assumes of course you didn't put them on the boat to the island.
      Thanks again and have a fantastic holiday! -Adam