Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Vue is the world's first pair of smart glasses that are designed for everyday use. Offered in prescription, plano, and sunglasses.
Vue is the world's first pair of smart glasses that are designed for everyday use. Offered in prescription, plano, and sunglasses.
Created by
10,410 backers pledged $2,215,583 to help bring this project to life.

May Update

Posted by Vue (Creator)
95 likes

Hello backers! 

We have been quite busy since our last update, but are excited to share our progress with you! In the past month we've been evaluating prototypes, touring factories, and hiring new talent. Let's dive right in!

Printed Circuit Board Layout 

As discussed in the April update, we identified some issues in our PCB that needed to be resolved. Since then, we’ve implemented the changes and begun evaluating them on a fully assembled unit. 

1. PCB/Battery relocation: Recall from our previous update that we added a second battery and shifted the PCB to the arms of the glasses. We’re happy to say that we made samples with this new arrangement and it all fits. 

2. Flex PCB: We also mentioned using a flexible printed circuit (FPC) to ensure that the components fit safely within the curvature of the glasses. We have redesigned the PCB architecture such that the batteries, bone conduction transducers, and rigid PCB are all connected by FPC sections. See the image below to understand how it all fits together.

A disassembled look at the components inside Vue
A disassembled look at the components inside Vue

 

3. Component height: We also rearranged components to reduce interference with the walls of the glasses. On such a small PCB, this was a tedious task. We’ve successfully assembled the PCB with components and can confirm that there is sufficient clearance within the glasses.

LED Placement

Our original LED location on the inner side of the arm of the glasses was meant to blink subtly in your peripheral vision. While testing, we’ve found that the LED is too far outside most people’s peripheral vision. Because of the hinge location, we have been unable to move the LED far enough toward the front of the glasses to make it more visible. The only way to make it visible was to boost the brightness of the LED—but that basically meant the LED was bright enough to shine noticeably across your entire face. 

We have been exploring alternative LED placement, and decided to shift it to the front of the frames. The benefit here is that it falls well within your peripheral vision, making it hard to miss. By setting the LED brightness to a soft setting and adding a slow fade in/out, the result is actually quite nice. See the GIF below.

Soft breathing of the LED notification
Soft breathing of the LED notification

The new position of the LED ensures that notifications are visible yet soft enough to keep Vue discreet.

Preliminary CNC Testing 

We have made new prototypes using a method called computer-numerical-control (CNC). CNC machines are able to automatically cut parts from solid blocks of material, resulting in a more precise and higher fidelity prototype than can be achieved with 3D printing. The next stage is to evaluate this design, fix flaws, and re-evaluate the fixes until we are satisfied with the quality. For example, we may find that a dimension is off by a fraction of a millimeter. Or we may find that the thickness of the plastic over the electronics is interfering with the antenna. Or we may find that a section of the FPC is too loose or too taut. This is an essential, iterative part of pre-production work, as any changes after tooling will be expensive and time consuming.

Once we are satisfied with the product’s performance, we can can begin cutting tools for injection molds. Check out some images of the CNC version below.

Tiantian wearing a fresh CNCed pair of Vue!
Tiantian wearing a fresh CNCed pair of Vue!

 

Exploded view of all the electronic components that are assembled inside the glasses
Exploded view of all the electronic components that are assembled inside the glasses

 

Comparison of standard eyewear (above) to Vue (below)
Comparison of standard eyewear (above) to Vue (below)

Current Challenges

Progress is great, but we also want to make sure to give backers insight into the true complexity of manufacturing a product, and that includes talking about headaches. We detailed a few in our previous update, but we've also encountered some unexpected ones with our new CNC version. 

One such example is the touch panel. The touch panel is mounted on the underside of the temple piece, and senses your finger's movement over the surface. Our previous prototypes were 3D printed and painted. When we CNCed our prototypes, we used a different kind of paint to finish them. It turns out that the new paint interfered with the touch panel's ability to sense gestures. When we were testing gestures on the CNC version, sometimes the glasses didn't detect anything at all. After mounting and re-mounting the panel, as well as conducting numerous tests, we finally determined that the paint contained small amounts of metal which affected the dielectric of the plastic, resulting in poor performance.

Touch panel (above) and painted temple piece (below)
Touch panel (above) and painted temple piece (below)

This doesn't impact timelines (since we fixed the issue), but as you can see, there are always unexpected outcomes during product development. This find just means we'll have to double-check the pigment used during manufacturing to make sure it is compatible with our touch panel.

Factory Visits 

When you manufacture a product, a lot of things have to happen in parallel. While we continue preparing our design for manufacturing, we must simultaneously evaluate contract manufacturers so that we can seamlessly transition from development to production. Below are the facilities we've been evaluating. 

1. Injection molding factory: Injection molding is a process for producing parts by injecting material into a mold. For Vue, we will create molds for the plastic frames, and then assemble the electronics inside those frames. Check out this brief video (credit: engineerguy) that provides a generalized visualization of injection molding.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Creating these molds requires careful precision and is very expensive, so it is important that we have finalized the product as much as possible before creating them. In the meantime, we’re evaluating top-notch injection molding facilities to make sure we’re ready to make a high quality product.

Jason, Aaron, and Tiantian touring an injection molding factory (molds seen in the foreground)
Jason, Aaron, and Tiantian touring an injection molding factory (molds seen in the foreground)

 

The team touring a factory line
The team touring a factory line

We’ve been impressed with the facilities we’ve seen so far, and are excited to select a quality partner to move forward with.

2. Testing & Design Facilities: In addition to touring manufacturing facilities, we've also been meeting with partners in the traditional glasses industry. We've established a partnership with a group that has helped us refine our designs such that our frames look like traditional glasses, as well as offered us the ability to use test equipment to evaluate our products. Check out some images from these trips below. 

Browsing the many color options used in the glasses industry
Browsing the many color options used in the glasses industry

 

Checking out samples from a glasses factory
Checking out samples from a glasses factory

An example of a test that we'll be conducting is hinge fatigue. Below you can see a video used to test the lifespan of hinges on traditional glasses. 

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound


We plan to subject Vue to similar tests, perhaps on these very machines.

New hire—production manager!

We are thrilled to announce we have hired a full time production manager. After interviewing many candidates, we are happy to welcome Jia Yao to the team. Jia has over 10 years' experience in manufacturing and supply chain management. His experience spans a variety of products, including hardware, machinery, toys, and even furniture. Most recently, he spent ~3 years working as a mold design engineer at Foxconn, where he designed molds for computer products and saw them through to production. 

Jia drawing and explaining a diagram of the injection molding process
Jia drawing and explaining a diagram of the injection molding process

 

Jia (far right) explaining various features on real injection molding tools
Jia (far right) explaining various features on real injection molding tools

We are confident that Jia's extensive experience in manufacturing consumer products will be a huge asset for Vue! 

Next Steps 

The immediate next steps are to review the new prototypes and electronics. This is an iterative process of identifying problems, creating a fix, re-printing PCBs, tweaking software, and conducting a systems test again. Once the prototypes meets our quality specs, we will then begin to cut molds for our frames, and will work toward mass production.

Surveys and Support

Just dropping another friendly reminder to check your email for your surveys (if you haven't already finished them). Also, remember the following:

  • If you chose plano (non-corrective) lenses or no lenses you will not receive a prescription survey.
  • If you need but haven't received a prescription survey, please email support@enjoyvue.com
  • We've extended the prescription deadline to June 30th, 2017.
  • If you would like to update your shipping info or check your order (style, color, etc) then you can use BackerKit's survey recovery tool to look up your order.

Until next time!

With love,

the Vue team

 

Roy Tang, Roxanne, and 93 more people like this update.

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Martin Bryant
      Superbacker
      on

      Update please.

    2. Missing avatar

      GIL BECERRA on

      Any idea of shipping date??

    3. Thomas Ng on

      any idea on delivery date?

    4. Lee Bearington on

      All those colors!! <3 :D

    5. Missing avatar

      Aboo on

      Thank you for the detailed update. It just gives us more confidence than the end result would be more reliable and wonderful after all these efforts.
      Good job, Vue.

    6. Nicholas Furr Koceja on

      I'm very glad that this project continues to move forward, and also happy the deadline was extended. I finally have my prescription, but I won't be able to get an accurate PD until Monday.

      I'd also like to ask here since i didn't receive an answer yet (and now I know what I'm asking for). Would it be possible to get the special high-index plastic lenses as an option? If not, I'm going to have to purchase lenses separately as well. Which is fine, of course, I'd just like to know :)

    7. Missing avatar

      Phillip on

      I. AM. SO. PUMPED!!!!! This has been and is my absolute favorite project I have backed so for on Kickstarter. The design, the functionality, the ability to be discreet with our technology ie; listening to music, receiving the audible notifications etc is pretty freakin sweet. I could go on and on however I glad to see that even with the expected delays that the project has been full steam ahead. Thanks!! Peace :)

    8. Vue Creator on

      @Dale @Eric @Sma Thanks for the kind words!

      @Franco @Eric Good eye! The classic design has not changed, but you're right that a different style is pictured here. We have other designs that we are exploring internally—not for the Kickstarter units, but for potential future styles. We happened to use a picture of such a frame here, but in subsequent updates you'll see pictures of the classic pair that you're used to.

    9. Eric Tsai on

      I've noticed that as well
      hope to stick with the original design...

    10. Missing avatar

      Franco Rossi on

      Hi, i noticed that in the photo where Tiantian is wearing the CNCed glasses, the glasses (i guess that they are the classic style) appear very rounded and different from the original photos from the campain and previous updates. Was the design changed?

    11. Missing avatar

      Sma Mamo on

      Great work, thanks for your updates

    12. Eric Tsai on

      Thanks for all the hard work!!

    13. Dale McJunkin on

      Thanks for the update. Waiting patiently for the end result.
      Looking forward to the delivery. Everything looks great.