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:

February Update—Lunar New Year
11 months ago – Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 11:26:02 PM

Hey Backers! 

To everyone around the world who is celebrating, we wish you a Happy Lunar/Chinese New Year! As we’ve been discussing in recent updates, this is one of the world’s biggest holidays, particularly in China where our factories are located. We have been working to hit deadlines before the holiday, and now that it’s arrived we want to update you on where we’re at. Let’s dive in!

Lunar New Year 

Our factories have officially shut down and our vendors have gone on holiday. Before the holiday arrived, we had a little celebration at the office with gifts and our newest Vue prototypes! Check out the image below from just before the New Year.

The team with their CNY gifts—everyone is wearing Vue!
The team with their CNY gifts—everyone is wearing Vue!

Some folks on the team have traveled back to their hometowns to spend the holiday with their familes. Jia, our production manager, traveled to northern China and took his pair of Vue with him! Though not an official test, it’s a good chance to see how Vue fares in colder temperatures. It’s also a fun opportunity to celebrate the year of the dog by having an ice sculpture of a dog pose with a pair of Vue.

Happy year of the dog!
Happy year of the dog!

 

Vue in some icy weather
Vue in some icy weather

We’re happy to say that his pair of Vue has been performing great in the colder temperatures! We’ll perform controlled tests during production to determine Vue’s actual limitations.

Injection Molding: T0 Samples 

As we mentioned in our previous updates, we’ve been working hard with our factories to ensure that they could produce our T0 (pronounced t-zero) samples before the holiday. We’re happy to report that everything went according to plan! We went to our factories in the first week of February to watch the very first samples come out of the molds. We managed to get some great footage while watching the operators. It was awesome to see months of work culminate in a real production sample!

Samples of the Classic frames being molded

The inserts you see being removed from the frames are part of what helps shape the lens area of the glasses. The inserts must be placed into the mold each time a Vue frame is made in the machine. 

Classic frame samples—looking good!
Classic frame samples—looking good!

Recall from the previous updates just how long it takes to make a mold, and how many steps go into producing it. Though the finished samples that you see in the image above look simple, their creation was considerably complex! The other parts of the glasses were no different, including the arms.

Samples of the arms of the glasses
Samples of the arms of the glasses

We’re pleased to say that the legs came out beautifully! Overall, T0 went quite well. We know all of you remember the delays in producing the mold, especially that it took many back-and-forth discussions with our factories before we could begin cutting them. The reason that the work done during those delays was so important was that it helps prevent making mistakes. If the process was rushed, it is possible that our T0 samples could come out of the mold being warped or containing defects that rendered them unusable. If that was the case, it would have required a lengthy tooling revision that would have delayed things even more. 

That being said, there were still a few issues we noticed with these samples. We want to stress that these issues are minor and were completely to be expected. As mentioned in the previous update, you can’t predict everything that will happen when you model your parts on a computer, so real-world parts often come out of the mold different than you expected. 

One such issue that we’ll need to adjust has to do with the mold inserts. In the video below, you can see that the inserts from the Classic frames are easily removed.

Removing mold inserts for Classic frames

Easy removal of the inserts enables the frames to be produced quickly and efficiently. If the inserts are difficult to remove, we risk both damaging the frames as well as increasing the time it takes to manufacture the product. Unfortunately for the Trendy frames, we ran into a slight problem.

Removing mold inserts for Trendy frames

It was so difficult to remove the inserts that some samples were permanently bent in the process. To fix this, we’ll have to make small adjustments to the mold. The samples that come from the adjusted mold will be called T1 (pronounced t-one). Any subsequent updates will be named sequentially (T2, T3, T4, etc). The good news is that the T1 changes will not take anywhere near as long as it took us to get the molds made in the first place. Our factories estimate that this will take less than a week to modify and test. However, because they are on holiday, this can’t happen until the first week of March. 

There were also a few other areas on the samples that needed adjustments, but these were minor and will likely only require adjusting parameters on the mold machines. Overall, there was nothing we found in our T0 samples that requires huge reworks or lengthy re-tooling processes. That is fantastic news, and is a testament to the importance of design reviews prior to tooling. Thanks to the quality of the T0 samples, we were able to assemble them into working prototypes!

Assembly Version 

We assembled units with the latest electronics, firmware, and mold samples and have been testing them. The latest versions are our best ones yet. It's been exciting to test them over the past couple of weeks, as we're finally seeing Vue come closer to a reality. 

The latest Vue prototypes
The latest Vue prototypes

Each time we assemble new units, we perform additional rounds of reliability testing. We’ve already covered hinge testing before, so instead we wanted to show you a different test. It’s called the Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) test, and involves literally zapping the glasses with up to 8,000 volts of electricity. The purpose of the test is to ensure that the product can survive shocks from static electricity.  

Test operator performing the ESD test

To perform the test, the operator takes a discharge gun and delivers a shock of electricity to various parts of the glasses. After each shock, we test to verify full functionality. Some of the discharges are so strong that you can hear and even see the discharge (like a tiny spark). Thankfully, Vue passed with flying colors! After testing various voltages in a variety of locations on the glasses, Vue remained fully functional.

Charging Case 

We recently tested the latest version of the charging case to confirm how the glasses fit inside. In the video below you can see a flashing LED on the bottom right of the case, which indicates that the glasses are charging. 

Charging case with LED indicator (bottom right)

The new cases are looking good and appear to be functioning well. Note that this is just a prototype, so the colors aren't finalized. The small gaps you see on the edges will also not be present in the production units. We'll conduct additional tests before freezing the design prior to production.

Branding

Kickstarter is just the beginning of what we hope is a long journey. In light of this, we've been working on developing our brand so that we can establish Vue as a leader in this emerging space. In the coming months, we’ll re-launch our website, showcase our new logo, implement a new color scheme, and overhaul our design across all our social media channels. You'll also notice the new branding in our packaging and mobile apps, meaning that you'll be the first to see it. Below you can see some first impressions of the some of the branding work we've done. 

Packaging

Although a very brief part of your experience with the product over its lifetime, we want the unboxing experience to be thoughtful and exciting. After all, it will be the first thing from us that you finally get in your hands! As we get samples of our packaging in the office, we’ll show you how everything is looking. For now, check out the following mockup that's being worked on behind the scenes. 

A mockup of our packaging design
A mockup of our packaging design

The design will still evolve prior to shipping, and we'll be sure to share more with you as it does. 

Mobile App

The mobile app is an important part of Vue, as it gives you the ability to toggle on and off features, locate your missing frames, view your activity summaries, and more. We have been working on both the iOS and Android app and they are coming along nicely. We will be wrapping up final UI design shortly and will begin testing production builds of the app. Below are some drafts of the onboarding screens that you'll see when first pairing your Vue. 

Onboarding screenshots form the iOS app
Onboarding screenshots form the iOS app

The app is also something that we'll continue to improve throughout the lifetime of Vue, so your feedback as you use it will be critical! 

Timelines 

The reason we shifted our update to the middle of this month is to give ourselves time to sit down with our factories after the holidays in early March. We’ll be able to discuss remaining issues, get time estimates for fixes, and will talk about a realistic date for kicking off mass production. We will need to test our T1 samples before we can freeze the design and give production the green light.

While we still want to hit March to begin shipping units, we won’t know for sure until we sit down with our factories. The next update will come out in mid-March so that we can give everyone a clearer picture on schedules. 

Support 

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

  • 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. 
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your pledge. 
  • 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 

January Update—Tooling
12 months ago – Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:03:08 PM

Hey backers! 

Welcome to the first update of 2018! It’s been an extremely busy month for us as we prepare for the Lunar New Year (also called Chinese New Year) in February. As mentioned previously, this is an important holiday in China meaning that a lot of work will slow down or completely stop. We’ve taken this holiday into account in our planning to minimize the impact it will have on our production. Let’s dive into our progress!

Tooling 

In December we wrapped up changes to our mold and moved forward with the tooling process. This means our factories have been cutting steel into the shape of the various parts of the glasses. We went to check in on their progress this month and it was exciting to see the molds finally taking form. Below is a picture of the mold for part of the Classic frames.

In-process mold for Classic frames
In-process mold for Classic frames

Note that the molds have yet to be polished, so the surface texture still looks a little rough. The whole process takes about a month, from being made in the CNC shop to being installed into injection molding machinery.

We realize that many backers have never seen the inside of such a facility, so we wanted to dive into a little detail about what goes on here. During each step of making a mold, various parts must be moved from machine to machine. They are often so heavy that factories must use ceiling-mounted crane systems to move them around safely.

A crane’s hook used to safely move larger molds
A crane’s hook used to safely move larger molds

After initial CNC work, the molds are then moved to the Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) stage. Many of the electronic products you use (likely the very one you are using to read this update!) contain parts made via EDM. Instead of using a spinning drill to carve away at the metal, the machine uses electrical current to slowly and precisely erode material away. In the video below you can see the Trendy frames undergoing the EDM process. 

EDM machine in action

We took a close-up video of another one of Vue’s molds during the EDM process so you can see exactly how it works. The copper rod that you see being inserted into the mold is called the “electrode” and is the part that produces the electrical current. As the electrical current contacts the mold, material is removed. If you look closely, you can see black particulate (i.e. eroded metal) and sparks coming out of the hole.

One of our molds during the EDM process
One of our molds during the EDM process

Part of what takes so long to make a mold is that some steps, like EDM, are quite slow. Another reason is that there are even more steps that have to be taken just to prepare for things like EDM. For example, each Vue component that requires a mold will also require many different electrode shapes depending on how much material has been removed from the steel.

An electrode for part of the Classic frames
An electrode for part of the Classic frames

Each electrode takes time to prepare—from procuring material, to designing dimensions, and ultimately machining them into the their precise shape. Next time you are holding your phone, laptop, or other electronic product, you can better visualize all the steps that went into making them!

The many electrodes used for Vue
The many electrodes used for Vue

The next step is for our factory to finish our molds and prepare our first samples (often referred to as “first shots” or “T0”). This is where they will actually inject the molds with molten plastic so that we can assemble and test those parts. At that stage, it is common to find mistakes or dimensions that need to be changed. This is because there are a lot of real-world variables that will cause differences between computer models and actual product samples (like temperature, humidity, purity of the plastic, etc).

Once we get our first samples, we’ll update everyone on the quality of the parts and any improvements that can be made. This will also be the first time that we have true factory-produced units, which will be a very exciting milestone for the project!

Electronics 

We’ve been working with our printed circuit board (PCB) factories to make sure that all our boards are prepared for mass production. The first step is to make the PCBs themselves. Ours are a mixture of rigid PCBs and FPCs, as seen below.

Fresh PCBs from the factory
Fresh PCBs from the factory

The PCBs must then undergo the SMT (surface mount technology) process. Recall from the November update that SMT machines are used to rapidly place electronic components on PCBs. This past month we’ve spent time at our SMT factories to oversee test runs and troubleshoot any issues.

Loading Vue PCBs (green board, right side) into the SMT machine
Loading Vue PCBs (green board, right side) into the SMT machine

In the November update, we showed you an SMT machine in process. At that time, we were observing our factory work on a different company’s board. In the video below, the machine is actually placing components for a real Vue PCB. If you look closely in the bottom right of the video, you can see 3 Vue PCBs undergoing SMT.

Vue boards undergoing SMT

Once the PCBs finish the SMT process, they will have all the components placed and soldered onto the board in their proper places. We have over 100 electronic components on a board smaller than the size of a finger, including some components so small that they require a magnifying glass to see, so it's not an easy process! Check out the post-SMT boards below. 

Vue boards after the SMT process
Vue boards after the SMT process

Now these boards are ready for testing, validation, and ultimately assembly into your pair of Vue! We’ll continue working with our factories to ensure that everything is production ready. 

Bone Conduction 

We’ve received all our tens of thousands of bone conduction transducers from our supplier. Before moving to production, we performed an incoming quality inspection to ensure that every component works. We designed and developed a small test jig that can quickly test a random sample of components.

A demo of our audio test jig

The device connects the transducer’s lines to an audio output and then amplifies the audio to ensure that it functions properly. We performed this test on a random sample of 1000 units. This helps us to identify the number of broken components per batch, which in turn helps us predict yield rate so that we can keep a proper inventory of components. We’ll also have this test performed during production to ensure the transducers are functioning properly after they are assembled.

Glasses Case

The glasses case has also been making progress. After testing early PCB designs, we’ve made some adjustments to the circuitry. Below is a new batch of the latest version of the PCB. This version fixes some bugs in the previous board design, ensuring that charging is stable, doesn't overcharge or undercharge the battery, and can protect the glasses from unexpected power surges.

Newest charging case PCB
Newest charging case PCB

These boards are off to undergo SMT, at which point we'll be able to assemble them into the case and ultimately test them with production glasses.

Timelines

We’re working hard to get as much done as we can before the Chinese New Year. This has involved frequent meetings with our factory representatives to make sure our project is prioritized and kept on schedule before they go on holiday. According to our most recent meeting, they plan to get first shots to us in the first week of February, allowing us to assemble and test our production units even while the factories are off.

How well things go with these tests will determine our ability to stay on schedule. As of now, we’re preparing everything from materials, components, to electronics for the ramp up to mass production. We’re still targeting March to be ready to ship. As always, we’ll keep you posted!

Support 

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

  • 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. 
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your order. 
  • 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

December Update
about 1 year ago – Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 11:39:11 PM

Hey backers! 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Overall, 2017 was an incredibly busy year and we anticipate 2018 being even busier! We truly wish all of you the best in 2018.

With each passing month we’ve seen Vue come closer to reality. As we transition more of our work to production and factory support, the work has been complex and rewarding. Let’s dive into our last update of 2017!

Assembly Practice 

One crucial aspect of building a product is ease of assembly. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or clever the outward design of a product is—if it is difficult to assemble, it will be a nightmare for factories. Products that are difficult to assemble take longer to make, have more rejects (i.e. assembly failures), and cost a considerable amount more than simpler designs. We’ve tried to stay on top of this throughout development by consulting with factories and design engineers to make sure our assembly will be straightforward.

That being said, nothing replaces actually handling a prototype and going through a mock assembly process. One of the factors that contributed to our previous tooling complications was assembly. We worked with actual assembly engineers and operators to test out putting together Vue, and they recommended some changes to improve the process. We’ve since incorporated that feedback into the mold designs which are currently being tooled.

For those that haven’t seen an assembly factory, below is a video of what the lines look like! Note that these operators aren’t assembling Vue (we’re not there yet!), but our process will look similar.

Inside an assembly factory

Part of the work we’ve been doing is actually sitting down and working directly with operators to show them how the product is assembled. In this way, they are able to suggest changes to improve assembly efficiency. This helps us keep costs down and reduces the risk of errors. Check out our assembly station below!

Our test assembly site at the assembly factory

We’ve spent many hours (and days, weeks, etc.) sitting down with our various partners to make sure things go smoothly. We’ll continue doing this throughout production and beyond. Check out our designer, Yibin, setting up the assembly station just last week.

Yibin demonstrating how the product is assembled—in his factory smocks!
Yibin demonstrating how the product is assembled—in his factory smocks!

Once we move into actual production, you’ll see a lot of these images. We’ll be on the ground with our factories giving them the support they need to get Vue across the finish line.

Components

The components continue to roll in! We recently received our order of bone conduction transducers! Over the next few weeks we’ll be performing initial quality inspections to ensure the components work and meet our specs, after which we’ll deliver them to our assembly factory.

Our engineer, Yun, offloading the boxes of components from the delivery truck
Our engineer, Yun, offloading the boxes of components from the delivery truck

 

Lots and lots of boxes
Lots and lots of boxes

The office is getting quite packed with components, but they'll soon be sent out to our various manufacturing partners!

Reliability Testing

We have continued to run reliability tests on our new prototypes. Because we’ve made minor updates throughout development, it’s important to run tests again to ensure there are no unforeseen impacts on the device as a whole. 

Recall from our September update that we cycled the hinge 30,000 times. While the hinge remained in tact, the FPC fatigued at 10,000 cycles. With all of the updates we’ve made since then, the units now lasted 100,000 cycles. Below is another round of hinge testing that we were performing just last week!

A familiar sight now—hinge testing

There are also electrical and software tests we must constantly perform. Because our PCBs will have software stored on them, we must ensure the software runs properly before assembling them into the frames. One method for testing boards involves a jig. A jig is a device that holds a PCB in a fixed location and then precisely contacts various components on the board. Below is an image of our test jig.

Our PCB test jig
Our PCB test jig

If you ever find yourself in an electronics factory, or even at a company that designs and tests PCBs, you will certainly see such jigs. Our jig allows us to place our PCB into the tool and then lower a plate that contains metal connectors that make contact with components on the PCB. Once the connectors have contacted the PCB, we can test functionality, load new software, and test electrical connections. Because the jig is so precise, we are able to perform these tests quickly—just drop the PCB in, lower the connectors, and test the software.

Tooling 

As we mentioned in the previous update, there were some changes we made to our mechanical design at the advice of our factory. Since that update, we performed our final reviews with the factory and they subsequently approved the designs.

Jia, our production manager, diving into some tooling details with the team
Jia, our production manager, diving into some tooling details with the team


Now that we’ve re-commenced the tooling process, we’ll be able to update everyone as the actual mold takes shape!

Charging Case 

While not nearly as complex as Vue’s internal PCB, the PCB for the charging case nonetheless has required thoughtful design and time. When we first conceptualized Vue, we decided to do without a charging port built into the frames. This was informed by early customer research as well as observing industry trends for connected devices. Instead we designed Vue to have an accompanying charging case that would allow you to conveniently charge on-the-go.

We’ve just received production samples of our charging case PCB and are in the middle of running tests now. Check out the samples below.

Samples of charging case PCB
Samples of charging case PCB

The challenging part of building the charging case is that the glasses must connect with the charging contacts on the PCB every time the glasses are placed inside, so the case and the PCB have required some very particular geometry. We’ll continue to evaluate the PCB and make any final tweaks if necessary.

We’ve also been evaluating physical models of the final charging case design, seen below. One thing we’ve been working on is adding a fabric layer on the inside of the case. This emulates cases that are commonly used with traditional eyewear but also helps protect the frames against scratches.

How your glasses will fit into the charging case
How your glasses will fit into the charging case

We’re really happy with the latest design, and we are confident you will be too. The case can be easily held in one hand, and the glasses fit snugly inside so that the case is not too bulky. As we’ve mentioned before, the case will charge via USB-C, and the port will be located on the side of the case as seen below. Note that the grey ring around the port is a light that will indicate whether or not the case is charging.

Angle from the side of the charging case
Angle from the side of the charging case

We’ll update you with more on the case once we have production samples. It will be our first glimpse at what the finished product will really look and feel like.

App Development 

We’ve also been working on app design. We’ve taken some time to develop new branding—this involves choosing the fonts, color schemes, photography style, and other details that will be used when presenting Vue’s brand (we’ll cover more of this in a future update). We’ve been implementing these branding elements into our mobile app so that it follows our brand guidelines. Below are some rough mockups of the app with our new font selection (note these are mostly wireframes, meaning they are missing most design elements).

Rough drafts of new app design
Rough drafts of new app design

 

Testing some animations
Testing some animations

We want to make sure that the app experience is seamless and something you enjoy, which which takes time but is really fun to work on and test. We’re excited to share with you the finalized designs once we get there!

Onward! 

As always, thanks for your continued support. We hope the holidays have treated you well and we wish you a great 2018. The next few months are looking very exciting! Everything is proceeding according to our new schedule, and we’ll keep you posted about progress or changes in subsequent updates!

Support 

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

  • 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. 
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your order. 
  • 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

November Update
about 1 year ago – Fri, Dec 01, 2017 at 12:50:00 AM

Hey backers! 

Welcome to Vue’s November update. 2017 is almost over and we’ve been reflecting on the awesome journey thus far. At this time last year, we were in the middle of the campaign, chatting with all of you, and wondering just how many folks were ready to support our vision for Vue.

We’ve been checking out all our old footage and images from last year and it’s brought back good memories! We’ve come really far since the campaign launch and we are excited to get Vue into your hands!

Let’s dive into another monthly update.

Shipping Timelines 

In our previous update we mentioned some challenges that we’ve encountered with tooling. We spent weeks figuring out how to best solve them and ultimately made the decision to halt tooling to fix what we saw as a crucial issue.

The issues with tooling combined with Chinese New Year (explained below) will set us back further than we wanted, and therefore our new shipping estimate is March 2018.

We know what many of you are thinking: delay after delay means the project will remain in limbo, but we’re confident this is not the case. The challenges we’ve encountered and the adjustments we’ve had to make are normal parts of virtually every product development cycle. We of course wish these problems were simpler and could be solved in a more timely manner, but sometimes things take longer than expected. Bringing a product to life is difficult, particularly with a small team. But your pledges have given this product the chance it simply wouldn’t have had otherwise. Thanks to your support, Vue stands a chance at shaping the future of the eyewear market.

By adjusting our schedule, it means we have more time to make these changes smoothly rather than rushing through them to hit a deadline. We encourage everyone to read the in-depth account of what we’ve been working on to better understand the work involved in building a product!

Tooling 

As we mentioned in the previous few updates, tooling is one of the most critical and stressful aspects of manufacturing. This single piece of equipment will determine the quality of every single pair of Vue. If there’s a dimension that is off in the mold, every Vue will have incorrect dimensions. If the finishing in the mold is too rough, then every Vue will have poor surface finish. Needless to say, this part of the process has to be done correctly.

At the beginning of the tooling process, we sat down with our factory and went over a 50 page document that detailed their feedback and concerns about all of our 32 mechanical components. Every page contained critical feedback that had to be resolved. This is no easy task—just a single piece of feedback can mean drastic changes to the product.

The 50-page mold review document from our factory
The 50-page mold review document from our factory

There was one proposed change that we were uncomfortable with. Dimensional analysis revealed that part of the mold would press and drag against part of the frames when the parts were ejected from the mold. In order to avoid this, the proposed change from our factory was to increase the thickness of part of the glasses, as seen below.

The critical change—thickening part of the glasses shown in red
The critical change—thickening part of the glasses shown in red

The proposal was to increase the thickness of the problem section by nearly 30%. The alternative was to leave the dimensions as is, but the risk was that the frames would contain small dents or scratch marks after molding. These defects would be on every pair of Vue. One way we could have covered the defects would be to paint the frames and therefore cover the scuff marks, but there was no guarantee that this would look good or work. This approach would have kept Vue’s design unchanged without delaying the project.

After many long conversations about timelines, delays, and product quality, the team ultimately decided we couldn’t commit to this path. We know backers are excited to see their rewards come to life, but cutting corners is not something we set out to do with this project. It would be a bad choice for both backers and future customers of Vue.

Instead, we halted tooling, and got to work on a proper design solution. We ultimately adjusted some dimensions in such a way that removes the issue. We tried to highlight this in the images below (note: it’s hard to demonstrate the complexity of an injection molding tool in a 2D image).

Previous mold design (left), and new mold design (right)
Previous mold design (left), and new mold design (right)
  • The column on the left demonstrates the issue with the original mold. The purple is part of Vue and and the yellow is the mold. You can see in the red circle that the purple and yellow collide, which results in scratching or potentially dents as the part is removed from the mold. 
  • The column on the right demonstrates our solution. We made some painstakingly small adjustments to areas of the frames and the mold will no longer collide.

All our backers’ pledges are helping us launch a product that can define a new class of wearables that Vue may lead. Excelling in this vision requires putting our best foot forward, and launching with a mold that requires post processed parts, would produce scuffed glasses, and would eventually require re-tooling is not the right business decision.

While the delay is significant, it is the right decision for the success of what you’ve helped start. A better product means a better chance at success as a business, which means continued support for your glasses, new and improved generations, and hopefully many more pairs of Vue to come.

Chinese New Year 

Many of you may be familiar with Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival). It’s a holiday celebrated around the world, and is considered the world’s largest human migration event. It falls on a different date every year, but in 2018 it will start on February 16th. This event severely impacts manufacturing not just for Vue, but for everyone who manufactures a product.

Factories typically shut down during the holiday, and workers take anywhere from 3 to 10 days off of work. On top of that, work slows down for up to 3 weeks prior to the start of the holiday. Talk to anyone in manufacturing, and they’ll be familiar with the CNY crunch. Because of the mold changes, early production work will fall before Chinese New Year, and work will slow down considerably with every single one of our vendors and factories.

This holiday will cause a lull during February that we will begin to feel in late January. This new timeline takes this into account, which is why it’s until March.

Charging Case

Apart from the rescheduling of the injection molding process, we’d like to share with you all the things that have been going well! As most recall, the charging case was initially designed as a cylindrical structure. However, this led to the case being bulkier and heavier than we would have liked.

We then shifted to a rectangular shape that was both smaller and lighter, making for a more portable case. Once the electronics and internal dimensions were finalized, we continued exploring the external industrial design. We ultimately settled on a tapered design, further reducing the footprint of the case and making it easier to hold. 

The new tapered charging case
The new tapered charging case

Below you can see how the glasses fit in the case. Note that the internal color for the case is not finalized yet. We've been exploring bright colors but will make the final choice after tooling. 

How the glasses fit into the charging case
How the glasses fit into the charging case

The electronics are housed in the base of the case beneath the glasses. When the case is closed, the charging pins on the glasses make contact with the charging pins in the case, as you can see in the transparent model below.

The internal electronic components seen inside the case
The internal electronic components seen inside the case

The case will make a handy, portable way to keep your Vue charged at home or on the go, and we’re excited to get the first samples after tooling!

Component Stocking 

Everything else has been progressing on schedule. We've been placing orders for components, and they have been arriving in batches at a time. Below you can see the first shipment of some core components including the Bluetooth chip, accelerometer, flash memory chips, and antenna RF filters.

Components are typically stored on long, thin strips of film that are then wrapped around reels.

Tens of thousands of electronic components that have arrived
Tens of thousands of electronic components that have arrived

For some perspective, one black reel (right side) contains 5000 of the same component. In the image below, you can see the tape looped around the reel many times over. The small, brownish marks lining each arc of tape in the reel is a component that will ultimately be placed on Vue’s PCB.

Close-up of some component reels
Close-up of some component reels

We realize that many of our backers have likely never seen what it looks like when electronics are manufactured, so we took a video from our PCB factory to show what it looks like. Note: the video is not sped up, this is seriously how fast the machine operates in real-time!

Reels of components are loaded into specialized equipment called surface mount technology (SMT) machines. These machines pick up individual components from the tape on each reel and then place them onto the PCB at high-speed. In the video above, the placement head travels toward the front of the machine where the reels are stored, grabs a component, then travels back to the PCB where it is placed with sub-millimeter accuracy. This allows for high-volume manufacturing of electronics. Once all our reels of components arrive, they will be placed into the machines you see in the video and our PCBs will be manufactured!

Going Forward 

We’re conducting one last mold review in conjunction with our factory and then we’re off to the races. In the meantime, everything else has met our design criteria and is ready for production—the firmware is ready, the PCB is ready, our antenna is ready, app communication has been tested and set, components are ordered, and prescription stocking is underway. Both the Android and iOS apps are in progress as we speak and we’ve also begun narrowing down packaging designs.

Hang in there! Things are are going well and we’re getting closer to bringing Vue to life!

Support 

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

  • 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. 
  • To change your shipping address go to vue.backerkit.com and enter the email address used with your order. 
  • 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

October Update
about 1 year ago – Wed, Nov 01, 2017 at 12:46:29 AM

Hey Backers! 

It’s an exciting time of year for Vue! We’re entering the true production phase! To help everyone understand what this means, we’ll think about product development as three phases: development, manufacturing, and sustaining. 

  • Development is the process we’ve been sharing with you on Kickstarter. During this phase we’ve made prototype after prototype to make sure that Vue functions properly. We’ve evaluated components, changed designs, and tested functionality. 
  • Manufacturing is the phase that we’ve now entered. This is where we start transitioning all our designs to our manufacturing partners so that we can stock up on components, prepare and test our tools, and ultimately mass produce all of the units you have ordered.
  • Sustaining is what comes after we finish delivering Kickstarter units. It is the process of maintaining the manufacture of an existing product so that we can continuously provide inventory. 

So let’s dive right into what this new phase of Vue’s journey looks like!

Component Ordering

One big change during this phase is logistics. Thus far, we’ve made just a handful of prototypes at a time by ordering small quantities of components. To prepare for manufacturing, we now have to schedule components to be sent to our various manufacturing partners. Vue has over 134 electrical components and 40 mechanical components. Now multiply that by the tens of thousands of glasses we are making, and you can see that this adds up really fast.

We’re excited to say that component ordering has begun! Large quantities of these parts will soon be arriving at our manufacturing sites where they’ll wait to be assembled into your very own Vue frames!

See some of the components that are already arriving in the images below.

Batteries coming off the production line
Batteries coming off the production line

 

Boxes upon boxes of bone conduction transducers, and bags of hinge screws
Boxes upon boxes of bone conduction transducers, and bags of hinge screws

Assembly Processes

In our first prototypes, it often took us more than 10 hours to make a single unit of Vue. The ultimate goal is to have our factories make hundreds or thousands of units per day. This is achieved in part by simplifying assembly processes. For example, if there is a piece held together with three screws, we’ll ask (assuming we can maintain robustness): Can it be done with two screws? What about one? 


Yibin gluing and assembling a unit by hand
Yibin gluing and assembling a unit by hand

Likewise, automation helps tremendously. If components need to be glued, it is not efficient to do so by hand. Therefore, we’ll be using a few automated processes during production. Check out the videos below where we test out the automatic dispensing of adhesive. It’s really impressive to see how fast and accurate these machines are.

A machine dispensing adhesive onto a Vue arm

  

A closeup of the precise path the machine takes when applying adhesive

 

The end result is what you see below, where thin lines of adhesive have been placed in designated channels in the arms of the glasses. This shaves off a ton of time during assembly, and is far more accurate than a human hand.

The adhesive (red/black) as it appears on the arms
The adhesive (red/black) as it appears on the arms

There are many small optimizations like this that will occur during production, often at the suggestion of our assembly factory. Once production is up and running, you’ll be able to see these processes in action!

Battery Factory

During development, we’ve often come across better vendors to work with. We typically evaluate their components for use in Vue as well as tour their facilities. We recently changed battery suppliers and were really impressed with their facility. Below you can see the team touring some of their lines and equipment.

The team watching one of the many steps during battery production
The team watching one of the many steps during battery production

 

An automated machine preparing various materials for use in the batteries

Many batteries contain sheets of folded material inside of them. Below you’ll see how machines are used to fold the material.

The early stages of folding battery sheets

 

A contained machine that is operated via gloves in a pass-through window

Tooling 

Tooling is a lengthy process. Each plastic component in Vue will only have one cavity in a mold, meaning the same mold cavity will be used to produce thousands upon thousands of the same component. For this reason, the process is slow, careful, and precise.

The reason it has taken so long to get to tooling is because lots of small mechanical design changes have been made, which you can see below. The above pair of frames is from a prototype earlier this year. Below that is our final mechanical design which we are cutting tools for. You’ll notice there are all sorts of shapes and grooves inside the glasses now. These features help connect and hold various components together in the product.

Top: old prototype, bottom: final design
Top: old prototype, bottom: final design

Once tooling has finished, we’ll take pictures so that you can see all these features reflected in the cavities! Unfortunately, we’re a few weeks behind in the tooling process due to a slow review process, but now we're operating full steam ahead. We’ll provide an additional update in the coming weeks when we have more details from the factory on whether or not we can tighten this timeline up. 

Glasses Case

We haven’t covered the charging case too much, but everything has been moving along! We made some additional modifications to the design to smooth out some of the edges on the case. There were 90 degree corners that were a bit uncomfortable to hold. Once tooling finishes, we can show some cavity pictures.

Prescription and Lens Sorting

One logistical challenge we’ve had is managing orders across two different databases. We used BackerKit to manage orders and SurveyMonkey to collect prescription data. This was done to meet HIPAA requirements, which mandates the strict control of health data. The problem is that when a change is made to an order (like when someone changes their lenses from clear to polarized) we have to make sure it gets reflected in the other database.

As we prepared to send this data to our lens partners, we found numerous errors in the data. These errors were caused by many things, including ordering only single vision but filling out progressive data, providing both single and dual PD but with different numbers, taking the survey multiple times with different prescriptions, and much more.

At first we tried to sort through the data manually using Excel, but there were 15,000+ frames to go through. So instead we worked diligently with a programmer and have developed a custom program that can import our database files, merge the data, and correct errors at the click of a button. Check out the interface below.

Screenshot of our order sorting program’s interface
Screenshot of our order sorting program’s interface

 

When you build a product, you encounter countless bumps like this that end up being trickier to solve than you initially predict. While not the most exciting part of bringing Vue to life, we wanted to share this with you to show you the breadth of the work that goes on behind the scenes. It seems trivial, but it took weeks of work.

Have you completed your surveys?

If you still have not filled out your frame survey (BackerKit) or your prescription survey (SurveyMonkey), your order may be placed in a delayed batch of shipments. We’ve already sent over our first prescription batch to our lens partner, but many backers still have not sent us their data. At this point, anyone who has failed to send this may have a delayed shipment since we can’t assemble and finish your pair of Vue without this information.

Support

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

  • 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. Simply email us to verify the charge.
  • Use BackerKit's survey recovery tool to look up your order. 
  • 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