10. August 2015
All parts were available for Alpha6 production July 24th, but the team continued to encounter challenges in assembly of larger numbers of The Dash. Two plastic parts need to align very precisely to enable a controlled ultrasonic welding of the parts. We saw warping of the geometrically very challenging bottom part (that goes into the ear). The warping (we are talking in 1/10 of mm range) caused failure in the water proofing tests and drop tests (due to micro-gaps), as well as challenges with assembly of the speaker/ear bone microphone in the housing (air leakage resulting in reduced audio performance).
We spent 2 weeks to create a process to control the warping for production, which eventually delayed our Alpha6 assembly by 1 1/2 weeks.
Waterproofing the charging pads was a challenge too, and we are design verifying the solution as we speak.
We expect design verification for the mechanics to end next week. Even though it sounds challenging, it has been less of a pain than we expected. Dan, Arne, David and our suppliers have performed stellar the last weeks.
Final audio tuning is done at the end from a process point of view, when we feel comfortable about assembly process and repeatability.
Audio performance consist of 3 parts, speaker, ambient microphone, ear bone microphone performance.
The golden samples from Alpha5 sounded great, and Alpha6 perform similar to the golden samples of Alpha5. We still have some tuning to do (software mainly), but we are very happy with the performance. The Dash is still missing some definition and the tuning will tighten that up. I’ve been on a business trip the last week to demo The Dash to partners with positive response.
Ambient microphone performance is great. Ear bone microphone improvements need to be made in software. It is good now, but still has potential to be improved.
The challenges on production yield was solved by Karin and her electronics team (Karin got promoted in July. Congrats to her!). We do now have production yields of the electronics that are acceptable.
Andreas is performing fine tuning of Bluetooth performance, while Eric is verifying Magnetic Induction antennas in larger volumes. Both verifications are expected to end early next week, where we will see if verification was passed. Cross your fingers.
When we produce larger numbers of devices, we see issues that fewer numbers didn’t reveal. Some of them are challenging to reproduce, but Karin and team are hanging in there. Great progress.
BRAGI Operating system & software
In our last update we informed about the Essence V2.0 software release that is needed for both the developer packages and final product. We were supposed to receive a software update from a supplier needed for one of the chips we are using.
They failed to deliver end of July as promised, and have not yet delivered it. We have daily calls with them, but have little transparency on when they can deliver.
It will take us 3 weeks from receiving the software before we can release a production grade software Essence package (except if we encounter bugs from the delivered software we cannot fix ourselves).
We expect to build final hardware early September for Kickstarter backers, but the hardware needs a software update before we can ship any product.
The rest of the software works well, the team are reducing the bug list every single day. Promise software V3.0 software is scheduled for late September release, and can easily be upgraded by users.
Our end of production line hardware and software is installed on the production line. Challenge is now to improve the test process and software to enable much higher throughput (enable building >1000 pairs/day late September rather than 40 pairs/day in our current beta production runs).
Our team finished a release candidate for iOS and Android. Windows phone is still 3 weeks later as communicated in our last update. The app will feature 6 areas: Activity, Macros, Sound, Profile and Service. Activity and Macros will be part of our late September update of the App (along the full Promise V3.0 software for The Dash).
All other parts of the app are done. Looking good 🙂
Arne has been trying different colours for the aluminium slider. Arne is slightly undecisive on the colour for The Dash in white. What do you think? Silver or matte golden?
The Dash and the charger interaction is being tested thoroughly. The Dash and The Charger have to shut down charging (for security reasons) if for any reason the batteries are getting to warm. All safety measures needed to pass certifications.
Some certifications are already in progress, while others will start by end of next week. Certifications take anywhere from a few days to 4 weeks at our test partner.
Critical path at this moment is delivery of software by a supplier. We need 3 weeks of testing and certification work after we receive their production grade software.
Initiating deliveries early/mid October.
Shipment time is estimated to 5-10 days with UPS.
A big hello to you from a part of our team in Munich. 56 people at BRAGI are working on bringing The Dash to you.
Team BRAGI and Nikolaj
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