Vue: Your Everyday Smart Glasses

Created by Vue Smart Glasses

Vue is the world's first pair of smart glasses that are designed for everyday use. Offered in prescription, plano, and sunglasses.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

July Update: Off To The Races!
6 months ago – Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 11:06:45 PM

Hey backers! 

Another month, another update! This update contains important guidelines for backers to be aware of as we approach shipment, so after we get through the technical portion, please be sure to read the other sections! It’s been an exciting month—let’s dive in!

Production

As mentioned in the previous update, our plan has been to work with our factories on pre-production, boost our yield rate, and then move onto our first official production batch of 1000 units. We’re excited to say—production on the first 1000 units is under way! To say we are excited to be entering this phase is an understatement. It’s been a lot of work, and we’ve certainly encountered our fair share of obstacles, but we’re excited to finally be creating the first mass-produced units of Vue!

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and patience—we couldn’t have done it without you! For logistics, we’ll be reaching out independently to the first 1000 backers to make sure their addresses and prescriptions are up to date. We've also provided general guidelines below for all backers as we work on batch production. The speed at which we can produce these 1000 units will help us project timelines for the next few batches, which will each be increasing in volume beyond 1000.

We wish we could send every unit out at the same time, but doing production in batches helps to ensure that mistakes can be caught and mitigated along the way. Doing them all at once risks having a mistake carrying through to tens of thousands of units. We appreciate everyone hanging in there!

Preparing for production has involved a lot of time training staff at our factories, writing assembly instructions, and collaborating with floor managers to determine how best to use automation to facilitate efficient and accurate assembly. There is also a considerable amount of logistics that must occur within a factory during production. For example, the factory must receive our shipment of PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies, which are PCBs that have undergone SMT), deliver them to the correct assembly line, record various pieces of information including lot numbers to ensure traceability, and more. 

PCBAs waiting in trays to be assembled into frames
PCBAs waiting in trays to be assembled into frames

From there, the PCBAs and various other components are assembled in a very specific order. Below is a look at the assembly line where we’ve been training factory staff.

Front frames moving down the assembly line
Front frames moving down the assembly line

Working with operators on the assembly line has been a great way to see where things can go wrong during production. Here at Vue, we know the product inside and out, so it’s easy for us to assemble the perfect pair.

Timelapse of assembly in our office

But what’s more important than our ability to assemble glasses is our factory’s ability to do the same. When someone is new to the product, subtle differences in how they put pieces together might have big impacts on product quality. To mitigate this, we’ve created a series of assembly instructions to help make the process clear.

Working on assembly instructions for the factory
Working on assembly instructions for the factory

Assembly instructions are often quite detailed, and include pictures to help clarify exactly how the product should look as it moves down the assembly line. Everything from specific angles, colors, or shapes are included to help factory operators differentiate between a good and bad product.

Assembled Vue legs making their way down the assembly line. From top to bottom: Carbon Fiber, Kickstarter Exclusive, and Ink Black.
Assembled Vue legs making their way down the assembly line. From top to bottom: Carbon Fiber, Kickstarter Exclusive, and Ink Black.

Many steps within modern-day manufacturing processes are still done by hand. However, factories are increasingly able to use automation and robotics to help facilitate assembly. For example, machines are used to dispense glue on various components.

Glue machine on the assembly line

Unique fixtures had to be created for our product which match the exact shape of the part to be glued. The part is then dropped into the fixture, and the machine traces the exact path on the product where the glue needs to go.

Another gluing fixture is also used for the front frames
Another gluing fixture is also used for the front frames

This is just one example of how automation is used, but there are automated steps in every aspect of production, from assembly to packaging. Long term, we’ll always be looking for ways to automate processes or reduce complexity to help aid manufacturing.

In addition to the frames, the charging case has gone through extensive testing as well, and all systems are looking great! Production has already been completed on the cables, and work on the case itself is being run in parallel with the frames.

GIF of plugging in the USB-C
GIF of plugging in the USB-C

Below is a quick video of what it looks like to use the case. As you all know, it’s designed to work with either frame style of Classic or Trendy, and is light and portable enough to take with you on the go if you so choose!

Video walkthrough of charging case

From here on out, we’ll be spending a lot of time with our factories as we work on these first 1000 units. Our biggest priority is ensuring quality across the entire batch so that we can continue to increase the volume thereafter and get everyone's Vue in their hands quickly! We’re so excited to see these things come off the assembly line. Stay tuned! 

Next Steps 

We’ll reach out to the first 1000 backers independently over email to lock down final pledge and prescription information. For now, everyone should follow the guidelines below:

  • July 30th, 2018 11:59 PM PST: last chance to make any changes to frame style, color, or lens type. You must email support@enjoyvue.com to articulate this change, as backers can’t make this change themselves. Use vue.backerkit.com to review your pledge information.
  • August 3rd, 2018 11:59 PM PST: any upgrades that have not been paid for will be charged using the information entered in BackerKit. You can check if you have any outstanding upgrades by visiting vue.backerkit.com. Please use this as an opportunity to update your credit card if it is outdated.

We’ll still accept prescription updates on a rolling basis, so if you know you need to update your prescription in the near future, please do either of the following: 

  • If you already have new prescription values, email support@enjoyvue.com and let us know so we can provide you with an update link. 
  • If you do not have new prescription values but you plan to get new ones before we ship, email support@enjoyvue.com and ask us to put your lenses on hold. Once you get new values, just email us again and we’ll send you a link to update it, which will bump your lenses back into the manufacturing queue. 

Please read the above instructions carefully and remember them when you email us! Doing so will help ensure that we can get to everyone's support request in a timely manner! 

Timelines 

We estimate that these first 1000 units will go out toward the end of August. Once we start getting these first units off the manufacturing line, and after we've smoothed out any kinks that may arise in the production and assembly process, we'll be able to have a better estimate of how soon we can finish assembling and shipping the remaining units. It's also likely that batches will overlap, meaning production for the next batch of PCBs will start during assembly for the first, which will help rein in the delivery time for the remaining units. 

Support

Reach us at support@enjoyvue.com with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

  • The quickest way for us to help is by reaching out to support@enjoyvue.com
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • If you are emailing us to ask about your pledge, you must send the email using the email that you originally used to make the pledge. For example, we cannot provide account access if you originally used “____@gmail.com” but now you email us from “____@yahoo.com”. 
  • If you were charged for upgrades, it may have shown up on your statement as our company name "Vigo" instead of "Vue Glasses". Please do not dispute this with your credit card company. Please email us to verify the charge. 

We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you! 

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team

June Update: Upping The (Manufacturing) Volume
7 months ago – Sun, Jul 01, 2018 at 01:12:37 AM

Hey backers!

It’s been a busy and exciting month! Last time we left off, we were performing another pre-production run of 100 units and were working diligently with our partners to solve problems and boost our electronics yield rate toward 90%. As we march toward shipping, the work certainly does not get any less busy! Let’s dive in!

Electronics

For our latest batch of boards, we ended up producing a total of 104 boards. We had 2 that failed, meaning our effective yield rate was 98%! We are super excited to hit this milestone. It took us a while to get here, but we’re happy to see the process stabilize to a point where we can reliably produce such small and complex electronics. 

As we mentioned before, the work here required some redesign work on the PCB itself, as well as working with our manufacturer to make sure proper procedures were followed when performing SMT. For example, we mentioned in the previous update that the boards were not properly aligned in the SMT machines. To resolve this, we used a more robust fixture, which you can see in the image below. 

PCBs without components mounted in the fixture
PCBs without components mounted in the fixture

The boards are mounted into the fixture which in turn helps keep the boards from moving during the SMT process. The fixture also properly aligns the boards with the X and Y axis of the machine. The previous fixtures were not as robust, meaning the boards would move as the machine operated, resulting in misaligned components. 

Gaps in the fixture where components are placed
Gaps in the fixture where components are placed

The fixture also covers everything except the areas that require components, as seen in the above photo. This was just one of many steps taken to help boost the reliability of our process. The PCB for the glasses case also benefited from these measures, and the latest batch had a stable yield rate of 100%. 

Latest version of the charging PCB
Latest version of the charging PCB

While we managed to achieve a 98% yield rate for this batch of 104 boards, it may not remain the same as we move onto higher quantities. When manufacturing in larger volumes, new problems may arise that require unique solutions. We’ll just need to continue monitoring while we ramp up to production so that we can continue to maintain our yield rate.

Charging Accessories

While the charging case electronics and tools prepare for production, we are happy to announce that we have already started production for the charging cables! This is only a small part of the project, but nevertheless it is exciting to see these begin an actual mass production run! 

A glimpse at the branding on the USB cables
A glimpse at the branding on the USB cables

We decided to include some branding on the cables too. Our design thesis for Vue is making connected eyewear that is comfortable, fashionable, and something you can enjoy every day. That approach doesn’t stop at the glasses, and we’ve tried to extend that philosophy to everything that we do within the product’s ecosystem. 

A USB cable being placed in our packaging
A USB cable being placed in our packaging

As with all other parts of the product, we wanted to give backers a brief glimpse into the manufacturing process. Below you will see the equipment used to wind the USB cables so that they can be placed into packaging. 

Winding USB-C cables

We’ll soon be done with mass production for these components. They’ll be stored and ready for when the glasses roll off the assembly line! 

Certifications

There are many regulatory requirements that we need to meet before being able to ship out Vue to our backers. We are using units from the batch of 104 boards for testing related to these requirements. Below is a list of what we’re pursuing: 

  • FCC: This test governs the electromagnetic radiation from a product and certifies that it is under applicable limits.  
  • CE: This mark indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).  
  • RoHS: This is often referred to as the "lead-free directive" but the requirement also restricts the use of other substances that can cause health and environmental damage.  
  • WEEE: A European directive aimed at reducing electronic waste and improving rates of recycle.  
  • FDA: Registering our facilities and paying the annual fee. 

If you look at your own devices, you’ll likely see some of these logos (along with others) somewhere on them! Our list is not exhaustive, and there will be other tests we will perform. When you receive your pair of Vue, you’ll notice symbols, serial numbers, and more on the packaging which helps indicate which tests we’ve performed and passed. 

Pledges & Charges 

As we approach our first true production batch, we will need to close off all changes to your pledges so that we can create our master list that will be provided to our manufacturers. This means that you will no longer be able to change your style, color, or lens type. 

We’ll be posting a series of updates soon that will lay out exact deadlines, but for now, we encourage anyone who wants to make a change to their pledge to contact us at support@enjoyvue.com to get this done ASAP. 

Many backers have also upgraded their pledges which required more money than they originally were charged for. We will be processing these payments soon, and again, we will post another update before doing so. 

Please read carefully: To check whether or not you might owe additional money, use vue.backerkit.com to look up your pledge. If you email us and ask us to look this up for you, it will clog our support system while our staff answers many more emails than normal. This will significantly reduce our ability to respond to everyone in a timely manner. 

So remember, please use vue.backerkit.com to look this up on your own. If you have any questions after doing so, then please send us an email. Upgrade charges only occur for people who added new items or who asked us to upgrade them to more expensive lenses. If you simply changed your frame style or frame color, there will be no charges. For the vast majority of our backers, there will be no new charges.

Bone Conduction

We’ve also been finishing our inspections for our bone conduction transducers. We’ve modified our transducers in ways that helps reduce leakage and preserve audio clarity. After modifying them, we’ve needed to perform final inspections before they can be sent to our suppliers. To date, we’ve inspected 12,000 transducers and identified just 11 defects. The defective units have been removed, and we’ll be providing this batch to our manufacturing partners for production. 

Inspecting bone conduction transducers
Inspecting bone conduction transducers

Keep in mind that just because components pass inspections before production doesn’t mean they won’t have problems after. Mass manufacturing is still prone to errors, and we expect that even after all these inspections, some of our units won’t work after assembly. As we find errors, we’ll correct them and work to prevent similar things from occurring in the future.

Timelines

Now that we’ve hit our goal yield rate, we will proceed to our next batch. As mentioned in the previous update, our next target is finishing 1000 units, ideally by July. The goal is to ship these next units to backers! A lot of things will need to align in order to hit this goal. Here is a brief outline of other work that needs to be completed prior to shipping:

  • Perform certification tests for FCC, CE, RoHS, and WEEE.  
  • Perform reliability tests including drop and temperature cycling.  
  • Perform assembly trials with assembly factory to improve assembly rate.  

We’ll do our best to communicate updates and timelines as we work through everything. Stay tuned!

Instagram 

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! We post content to our story throughout the week, giving everyone a behind-the-scenes look at some of our daily activities. It’s a great way to stay connected in between our big, monthly progress updates.

To see our stories, click our logo on the top left of our profile (check out Instagram’s tutorials here).

Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses
Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses

Support 

Reach us at support@enjoyvue.com with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

  • The quickest way for us to help is by reaching out to support@enjoyvue.com
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • If you are emailing us to ask about your pledge, you must send the email using the email that you originally used to make the pledge. For example, we cannot provide account access if you originally used “____@gmail.com” but you now email us from “____@yahoo.com”. 
  • If you were charged for upgrades, it may have shown up on your statement as our company name "Vigo" instead of "Vue Glasses". Please do not dispute this with your credit card company. Please email us to verify the charge. 

We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you! 

Until next time! 

 With love, 

 the Vue team

May Update: Pre-production Work
8 months ago – Fri, Jun 01, 2018 at 01:13:42 AM

Hey backers! 

It’s been another whirlwind of a month! Production activities are underway and represent a big shift in our day-to-day activities. Supporting production means we spend a lot more time on our feet (away from computers) doing things like touring lines, troubleshooting production problems, and working with our partners directly in the factory. Let’s dive in! 

Electronics 

In our previous update, we talked about pre-production (PP) runs. PP runs are done in smaller volumes and are meant to ensure the manufacturing process is stable before ramping up volumes to many thousands of units at a time. Unfortunately, in our first PP run of about 40 units, we had quite a low yield rate of about 50%. Yield issues are to be expected, and we've been working with our partners to identify and fix issues in order to improve our yield. The good news about doing PP runs in smaller batches is that the cost of fixing the problem is kept low (i.e. ~20 failed boards are not as expensive as, say, 500).

To break it down into more detail, here are the observations from the pre-production run:

  • 25% of the boards worked perfectly off the line. 
  • 25% had bugs that could be immediately addressed and fixed. 
  • 25% had problems that could only be fixed by redoing the run. 
  • 25% were unable to be repaired.

Clearly, this yield rate is too low and unstable. Since the run, we’ve made a few tweaks to the board (like shifting some traces further apart in order to avoid electrical shortages during manufacturing, changing the ink used on the board so visual inspections are easier) and improvements to the SMT process (such as perfecting the alignment of the boards in the machines) that should significantly improve yield. After assessing our fixes in conjunction with our factory partners, we’re expected to be able to achieve upwards of 90% yield.

Reviewing PCB design at the factory, with sample PCBs on the desk
Reviewing PCB design at the factory, with sample PCBs on the desk

There were also human errors that we identified, which requires retraining operators and clarifying instructions for use during manufacturing. For example, a few reels of components ran out during manufacturing and were not replenished, meaning some boards were missing components. There were also a few instances of the wrong component being placed, likely due to an operator loading the wrong reel into the machine. After touring and meeting with our partners, we’re confident these issues will be resolved.

Touring lines to better understand procedures throughout the manufacturing process
Touring lines to better understand procedures throughout the manufacturing process

We also wanted to spend a brief moment to touch on exactly why electronics like ours have these road bumps along the way. Many backers may wonder why some products seem to have a smoother time getting parts made. While it’s true that many of the obstacles we’ve faced are due to our own mistakes, or at times inexperience, it’s also true that our electronics are fairly complex. We specifically designed them to be as thin and small as possible, achieved in part by combining rigid and flexible PCBs. We also use some of the smallest chips and components available, all of which must fit perfectly within our board’s narrow dimensions. These types of products can be hard to get right, but that is also one of the reasons we’re so excited about Vue. Getting this right means our product can be smaller, thinner, and lighter than virtually all other options on the market. Getting close to our vision of smart glasses that are indistinguishable from normal glasses is core to our mission, and these bumps are part of that process. We appreciate everyone hanging in there!

Case 

In the previous update, we mentioned that we were finalizing our mold and waiting on samples. Since then, we’ve finished tooling and inspected T0 samples! Check out the finished mold below.

A look inside the finished case mold
A look inside the finished case mold

The T0 units looked great, though they had some of the expected imperfections that all T0 samples have. Namely, there were some deformities, scuff marks, and other visual defects that can be removed by altering machine settings and touching up the mold.

Inspecting T0 samples
Inspecting T0 samples

As mentioned in the beginning of the update, supporting production involves a lot of work away from the desk. Specifically, we’ve been spending many hours and days with our factory partners to solve problems and to assist in production activities. For our T0 case samples, we spent six hours at the factory helping to actively troubleshoot defects until we eliminated them. Below you can see the finished result (i.e. the first T0 samples)!

More T0 samples
More T0 samples

We’ve already provided feedback for T0 and are in the process of working on T1. The cases are looking great. Check out the video below showing the interface of the glasses and the case using production samples from the mold.

Checking out the interface of all the molded parts

We also took a few beauty shots (not renders!) to give everyone a sense of how everything is coming together. 

Classic frames in the charging case
Classic frames in the charging case
Trendy frames in the charging case
Trendy frames in the charging case

We expect the case to be done sometime next month. We’ll keep you posted on how everything goes.

Frames 

As mentioned in the previous update, we were happy with the polished frames and have finished tooling revisions. We had a brief hiccup while preparing for PP runs that required a bit of problem solving. We noticed some cracks in parts of the frames, which was highly unexpected. The actual grade of plastic we are using is meant to be flexible, so a brittle crack is an unexpected failure mode. In layman’s terms, this means the plastic should bend considerably before cracking, but in this particular case they had not been bent at all.

A crack in the frames, which occured in a minority of samples
A crack in the frames, which occured in a minority of samples

Upon investigation, we discovered that the problem was due to human error. The operator running the molding machine used a batch of plastic that had been left inside the machine for a long time (likely days or maybe weeks). It is standard procedure to purge this plastic, as leaving it exposed to ambient humidity and temperature will degrade its properties before molding. The solution is simple—ensure that before each batch, the material is verified and any leftover material is purged before use. 

We’re in the process of receiving new samples to verify that the cracks do not form, and then the frames will be locked down for production. Otherwise the frames are looking great!

Latest Classic frames
Latest Classic frames
Latest Trendy frames
Latest Trendy frames

We’ve also received new samples of the arms that include the IML colors and textures. The new samples closely align with the look and feel that we envisioned when we launched this project.

Latest carbon fiber IML sample
Latest carbon fiber IML sample

We anticipate finishing up with IML quite soon and will keep everyone posted through future updates.

Packaging 

While the packaging design and assets are done, we’re still working with our factory to look at ways we can reduce the overall weight of the package. We can do this by using thinner materials for inserts or the cardstock on the box. A lighter package means lowered freight costs, which goes a long way when you are shipping tens of thousands of units! We’ll keep you informed of any interesting updates or changes along the way. 

App 

App development has been moving along nicely. Our Android app is complete and we are currently working through some bugs to prepare for launch. Below is a brief glimpse into the app.

A brief glimpse at the Android app

Note that we will have more content available to walk everyone through the app and its features as we get closer to shipping. 

The iOS app is following close behind. There's a bit of development work left and then it can proceed to testing. Apps for each operating system (Android and iOS) will be available when the product ships, but likely not before. 

Couriers 

For the past few months we’ve been speaking with several different global courier services to help fulfill your rewards. The logistics behind this project have been more difficult than we anticipated, specifically because installing lenses makes a product unique. For a typical consumer electronics device, a courier can simply grab any finished product off the shelf, print a label, and ship it. With Vue, nearly all of our 15,000+ glasses are unique, meaning that as soon as lenses are installed, the product is only intended for one recipient. This means that a courier can’t just grab any product out of the 15,000+ glasses, but instead they have to grab exactly the right one.

This just means there’s more work on the courier side to ensure that everyone is getting the right product, but we’re working through it! We’ll be finalizing who we’re working with soon and will have everything in place to begin fulfillment once units are rolling off the production line.

Timelines 

The yield rate issues have pushed us behind again, but we’re already in the process of addressing the concerns appropriately. After implementing changes from the ~40 unit pre-production run in May, we are now preparing for a run of 100 units in June. After assessing yield rate, we’ll be able to move into a batch of 1000 units in July and can begin shipping. We’ll then ramp up each batch and ship progressively. As always, we’ll keep you posted. We’re almost there!

Instagram 

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! We post content to our story throughout the week, giving everyone a behind-the-scenes look at some of our daily activities. It’s a great way to stay connected in between our big, monthly progress updates.

To see our stories, click our logo on the top left of our profile (check out Instagram’s tutorials here).

Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses
Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses

Support 

Reach us at support@enjoyvue.com with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

  • The quickest way for us to help is by reaching out to support@enjoyvue.com. 
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • If you are emailing us to ask about your pledge, you must send the email using the email that you originally used to make the pledge. For example, we cannot provide account access if you originally used “___@gmail.com” but you now email us from “___@yahoo.com”. 
  • If you were charged for upgrades, it may have shown up on your statement as our company name "Vigo" instead of "Vue Glasses". Please do not dispute this with your credit card company. Please email us to verify the charge. 

We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you! 

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team

April Update—Samples Galore
9 months ago – Sat, Apr 28, 2018 at 11:23:09 PM

Hey backers! 

April has shaped up to be a busy month! As we get closer to mass-production, there are lots of different areas that are finally coming together. This means that each day has been packed with production preparation, factory visits, and testing. Let’s dive right in! 

PCBs 

You’ll recall from our previous update that we had to evaluate new printed circuit board (PCB) + surface mount technology (SMT) suppliers. We spent weeks sourcing factories we wanted to work with, arranged for small volume runs to be made, and have now evaluated the results! Below you will see the first set of PCBs we received. The black and blue samples (left and middle, respectively) are from two new suppliers, while the green one (far right) is our old supplier.

PCB samples from new suppliers
PCB samples from new suppliers

Prior to performing SMT on the boards, we inspected the new samples to look for any obvious errors. Errors might include anything from a dent or damage to the board, shorted electrical connections, or even a tear in the FPC.

Inspecting small features with a magnifying glass
Inspecting small features with a magnifying glass

We were really happy with both of the samples. The quality of the boards looked great, and there were no obvious defects from what we could see. The boards were then put through SMT where all of the components were added. Before testing the finished boards, we threw them under an x-ray scanner so we could have a detailed look at all of the connections.

X-ray image of PCB
X-ray image of PCB

After inspecting, we set up a miniature assembly line in the office and had the entire team work on assembly. Not everyone on the team is technical, and not everyone works on the assembly aspect of the device, so this was an opportunity for everyone to learn the process and appreciate the complexity. Everyone was also assembling their own pair of Vue to wear, so there was some motivation to pay attention to detail.

The in-office assembly line
The in-office assembly line
The team assembling their glasses
The team assembling their glasses

The assembly process was a success. The new electronics appear to be working great, and now everyone on the team has up-to-date units comprised of pre-production frames and electronics.

Electronics Production

We’re happy to say that after evaluating the boards, we've identified our preferred suppliers and can now move forward with electronics production! This a huge, huge milestone for the project. 

Next up—optimization and pre-production (PP) runs. During this stage we’ll manufacture small batches, make sure the process is stable, and slowly ramp up our quantities. Batches will start at 500, then grow to 2000, then 5000, and so on. These aren’t exact quantities, but rather illustrates the point that everything doesn’t happen in one go. Batch production lets us catch errors on the fly, so that with each batch we can improve the process. 

T2 Molds

We received our T2 mold revisions and have been inspecting them, and they look good! At this point, the blemishes that exist on the exterior of the frames can’t be resolved through adjusting the mold. Instead we’ll have to polish the frames through a tumbling and painting process. Our factory ran a few samples of this process, and you can see the results below.

Polished/painted frames (left) vs. unpolished frames (right)
Polished/painted frames (left) vs. unpolished frames (right)

The differences between these samples are more pronounced in real life, as the tiny blemishes and scuff marks on raw samples are hard to capture with a camera. Next up is pre-production runs and final negotiations (some of which we were doing today), then we’ll be starting frame production! This will be another monumental milestone, and we’re super excited about it.

Charging Case 

As mentioned in the previous update, we took a bit more time to finalize the charging case design. After doing design reviews with our factory in early April, we commenced tooling. Check out the CAD model below to see how complex tools are even for a relatively simple part of the product like the charging case.

The CAD of the full setup required for case tooling
The CAD of the full setup required for case tooling

The tools were being cut throughout April, and are in the final stages of shaping and refining. 

In-process shot of the case tooling being made
In-process shot of the case tooling being made

Though we originally expected to receive samples last week, we decided to take a bit more time on the review process earlier this month. As with the frames, we expect this to minimize the number of tool revisions that have to be made. Our schedule is such that there is buffer between the assembly stage of mass production and case production, so this should have no impact.

In the meantime, we’re finalizing colors for the charging case! We have it narrowed down to a few options, and will let you know what we decide in the subsequent update.

One of the recent color combinations we’ve evaluated
One of the recent color combinations we’ve evaluated

We’ve been more drawn to the dark exterior and light interior, which helps the darker frames stand out a bit more. Stay tuned for final color choices!

IML

Part of the frames must undergo a special process called In-Mold Labeling (IML). For Vue, we use IML for the various strips of color on the legs of the glasses. Instead of adding color as a post-production process, we can actually add colors and textures to the arms as they are being molded. We’ve been evaluating samples of the legs recently, as seen below.

IML samples for various colors
IML samples for various colors

As exciting as it was to get these samples, the colors and textures were quite off. But don't worry—we'll continue the sampling process until the colors look proper. This is pretty typical, as colors don't always look the same once they come out of the mold. We’ve already given our factory feedback and will be receiving new samples shortly. We’ll continue to refine them and expect them to be ready in advance of mass-production.

Labeling

Product labels are another important part of this work, though certainly not as exciting as the rest of what we discuss here every month. Labels can be mandated by various countries (such as FCC and CE), recommended by international institutions, or included by the company to help inform the customer.

Testing out label placement, font, and color for the charging case
Testing out label placement, font, and color for the charging case

We’re working with our factories to specify where the labels go and what they look like. This is a pretty simple process, but it’s also very important! We’ll need to make sure our labels are compliant with government standards, and that we’ve passed any mandated tests so that we can ultimately ship the product.

Packaging

We’ve finalized our packaging design and have been reviewing pre-production samples. This was a surprisingly tedious process, at it involved not just the design of the outer boxes, but also the corresponding inserts and instruction manuals. For example, check out the trays that sit within the packaging, which will hold the glasses case.

Packaging components that hold the case
Packaging components that hold the case

We know you all probably want to see more of the packaging, but we’ve decided on keeping some of this a surprise. We are really happy with how the packaging has turned out, and we want the unboxing experience for everyone to feel exciting and new. We’ve already chosen our packaging factory and are working on pre-production runs to make sure they are prepared for mass production. We think you’ll really like the look and feel of it all!

Lenses

We've received pre-production lens samples and they fit the frames well. We’re having additional lenses made which will be tested with polished frames, since the tumbling and painting process can have minuscule effects on dimensions that change how easy it is for lenses to be inserted. Once we confirm the fit on those samples, we can give our supplier the go-ahead for production.

Timelines

Though a few things have shifted (T2 samples arrived early, charging case reviews went longer, etc) it still appears to fit within our recent timeline. Note that most of the sections in the chart aren’t hard dates. In general we assume that the start of each of those sections of work may be off (as in can occur earlier or later) by a few days.

Next up—pre-production reviews, optimization, and officially kicking off mass production! Should be exciting work ahead.

Instagram

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! We post content to our story throughout the week, giving everyone a behind-the-scenes look at some of our daily activities. 

Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses
Head over to Instagram and follow us at @vue_glasses

It’s a great way to stay connected in between our big, monthly progress updates. So if you're keen on more content, follow our page here.

Support 

Reach us at support@enjoyvue.com with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • If you were charged for upgrades, it may have shown up on your statement as our company name "Vigo" instead of "Vue Glasses". Please do not dispute this with your credit card company. Please email us to verify the charge. 
  • The quickest way for us to help is by reaching out to support@enjoyvue.com. 

We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you! 

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team

March Update—Mass Production Prep
10 months ago – Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 11:58:14 PM

Hey backers!

Welcome to another Vue update! As noted in February, we reconvened with our factories in early March after Chinese New Year ended. We immediately assessed how prepared we were for production. This work included meeting with factories, going over molds, testing electronics, and making some adjustments to production schedules. Let’s dive in!

Timelines

Unfortunately, we’re not going to hit the previous goal of shipping in March. Our new timeline is to ship in June. As always, we apologize for not being able to follow through on earlier estimates. No one likes delays, especially backers, and we can appreciate how frustrating it is to have to continue waiting to see your rewards come to life. We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we do truly apologize for having to make you wait again. Though frustrating, these delays are necessary. As Kickstarter has mentioned in their blogs, a delayed product “is eventually good,” but a rushed product “is forever bad.”

The cause for this schedule change has to do with supply chain management. The silver lining here is that we now have more breathing room to polish other aspects of the device. The adjusted schedule below provides a detailed, week-by-week look at what we'll be working on going forward. 

Adjusted manufacturing timeline (click for a higher resolution image)
Adjusted manufacturing timeline (click for a higher resolution image)

 

Note that there are some assumptions made in this timeline. For example, we've listed a T3 adjustment for the frames, but that's just a precaution. We won't know if a T3 revision is necessary until we receive T2 samples. With this schedule in mind, let's go over what we've been working on.

Electronics Suppliers

As you may recall from previous updates, the SMT (surface mount technology) factory is where our PCBs (printed circuit boards) go to get populated with all the components that make Vue work. In two of our recent batches of boards, we noticed a decline in yield rate (i.e. fewer boards were working). When we investigated the potential root causes, we discovered that our SMT factory switched the supplier they used to make our PCBs without telling us, likely in an effort to cut their own costs. This new supplier was producing lower quality PCBs. To solve this, we met with their original, better PCB supplier to try to cut a deal directly with them. Unfortunately, in order to make such a deal, the original PCB supplier quoted us double the original cost to make the boards.

In light of these quality and management issues, we’ve made the tough decision to switch factories. We are already evaluating 2 PCB factories and 2 SMT factories in parallel. Here’s how this will work: 2 separate factories will make our PCBs and we’ll then pass those PCBs to 2 new SMT factories. After we get final, populated boards back, we’ll evaluate the quality of each board combination and finalize agreements with whichever facilities produced the highest quality boards. The reason this change will take so much time is because producing boards with our level of complexity takes a while—typically around 22 days. 

Once we realized this change had to be made, we hit the ground running and began sourcing new factories. Below is some footage from some facilities we were pretty impressed with, taken in early March. 

One of the earliest PCB production steps

Though all factories these days have some degree of automation, some factories leverage it more than others. This type of technology helps improve yield rate by offering greater control over manufacturing.  

Part of an automated PCB production line

While we are frustrated with this schedule change, changing factories is simply the right thing to do. If we proceeded to mass production with our previous supplier, we risked shipping finished rewards with faulty boards. By unearthing these issues now, we are able to work on resolving them before the product is in your hands. 

Injection Molding

Our factories finished our T1 mold revisions in early March as expected. Overall, most of the issues with the T0 samples were resolved. Namely, the lens inserts can now be easily removed without damaging the frames. We also fixed another issue where uneven cooling of the plastic caused a section of the frame to shrink, creating a small dimple.

T0 on the left, with dimples; T1 on the right, without dimples
T0 on the left, with dimples; T1 on the right, without dimples

To remove the dimples, we changed the pressure gradient across each molding inlet to ensure that the pressure near the shrinkage area was increased. 

We also attempted to reduce marks that the molding equipment left on the frames. These marks can be seen on the T0 samples below.

Marks from machines (the small circular areas)
Marks from machines (the small circular areas)

The visibility of these markings in the T1 samples was reduced, but not eliminated. In the image below, you can still see these faint markings.

Reduced markings on T1 samples
Reduced markings on T1 samples

We'll now proceed with creating T2 samples that will completely remove these blemishes. Thankfully, these adjustments are cosmetic rather than mechanical, so the adjustments are quick and don’t require any large-scale redesigns that might impact other parts of the device.

Charging Case

The charging case has also needed some updating. We were meant to receive T0 samples for the charging case shortly after the Chinese New Year, but have elected to push it back in light of our other scheduling issues. This gives us enough time to make additional refinements to the case that we feel really happy about, and we’re confident you will too.

For example, we’ve updated some dimensions and sourced a new magnet for the closing mechanism. In the old case design, it was easy for the case to open when held upside down.

Old case design, where the lid opens easily
Old case design, where the lid opens easily

The obvious downside here is that if your case was upside down in a purse or backpack, or if you were holding it loosely in your hand, the lid might flip open. Not only would this potentially disrupt charging, but the glasses might fall out as well. The new adjustments help ensure the case stays closed.

Newer, more secure case design
Newer, more secure case design

While we don’t recommend ever shaking the case as vigorously as you can see us doing in these GIFs, it does demonstrate that the new case design is more robust. 

Overall, the case is coming together quite nicely. Compared with our original designs, it is compact and lightweight. Check out the latest prototype below. 

Inspecting the latest case design

As with other areas of the device, we'll keep you posted on each new sample and any revisions that need to be made. 

Testing

Something we're excited for backers to experience is the on-board notifications in Vue. For example, when you double-tap the glasses, you’ll hear your daily activity summary (i.e. steps taken and calories burned). Vue will ship with these notifications set to a default volume (which you can adjust in the app). We've been testing Vue around the office to best determine what this default volume should be—ideally one that is clearly audible in most situations with minimal leakage. 

In the video below, Tiantian is testing our proposed default volume. In the foreground of the video you can see a decibel meter, which measures the "loudness" of an environment. We won’t go into the science behind the scale, but it’s important to know that each rise in 10 dBA units is the equivalent of doubling the “loudness” of the environment. For example, 60 dBA is similar to an office, whereas 70 dBA is twice as loud and closer to a vacuum cleaner. See here for more info.

Testing Vue's default notification volume

 

The office room we're in hovers around 53 dBA (so around what you can expect in a typical office or suburban home). Here we're confirming that Tiantian can hear the notifications clearly while minimizing the leakage (in this instance, there is virtually none). 

Note that tests like these are subjective. Everyone experiences audio differently and might prefer to use Vue at different volumes. What we're focused on is finding a default notification volume that works for the widest range of people out-of-the-box, but that can still be adjusted if necessary.

Behind The Scenes—With Instagram!

One thing that we continue to hear from backers is that you want to see more of what we’re working on! We can appreciate that a month is a long time to wait between updates. We’ve decided to start leveraging Instagram Stories to share glimpses into our daily work here at Vue.

From now on, we’ll periodically post little clips of our day-to-day activities, including soldering circuits, designing models in CAD, assembling prototypes, touring factory lines, and more. To see this content, just follow our Instagram account at vue_glasses.

Follow our Instagram for exciting content
Follow our Instagram for exciting content

Make sure to follow our account (red arrow) and tap the circular picture of our logo (green arrow) to see our content! Note that no updates or new information will ever be made through Instagram—that will always be reserved for our monthly updates which go out to you, our backers, first. Instagram will simply be a place that backers can go to for small glimpses into our routines without flooding your inbox. 

Prescription Update 

To accommodate backers in light of our schedule shift, we’re going to continue taking updates to prescriptions until April 13th, 2018. Here is what you need to know before emailing us:

  • If you already have new prescription values, email support@enjoyvue.com and let us know so we can provide you with an update link. 
  • If you do not have new prescription values but you plan to get new ones before we ship, email support@enjoyvue.com and ask us to put your lenses on hold. Once you get new values, just email us again and we’ll send you a link to update it, which will bump your lenses back into the manufacturing queue. 

Please read the above instructions carefully and remember them when you email us! Doing so will help ensure that we can get to everyone's support request in a timely manner!

Support

Reach us at support@enjoyvue.com with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • If you were charged for upgrades, it may have shown up on your statement as our company name "Vigo" instead of "Vue Glasses". Please do not dispute this with your credit card company. Please email us to verify the charge.
  • The quickest way for us to help is by reaching out to support@enjoyvue.com. 

We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you!

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team