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:

August Update: Timelines, Progress, and more!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Sep 01, 2017 at 01:37:03 AM

Hey backers! 

We’re entering the final stretch of summer in the northern hemisphere and have been making solid progress. Hope everyone is enjoying themselves!

This update will first walk through both challenges and progress we've made and then will finish off with an update to our timelines for shipping.

Current Challenges

We’ve recently encountered a string of challenges that have again delayed our schedule until December 2017. We know this is upsetting (we agree and feel the same). Despite this news, we want to reiterate that despite this process taking longer, the product is really starting to take shape, and backers will be receiving a higher quality reward because of it. 

Kickstarter by nature is about bringing a product to life. So while we're excited to deliver everyone's rewards, we want to make sure what you are receiving is quality. Delays like this aren't something we take lightly, but we want to assure you that it is ultimately for the better. Your pledges should be used to bring to life a quality product, and sometimes that means we need take a bit longer to clear some hurdles.

Let's first start with the challenges we've been working through, then we'll lay out a comprehensive timeline that we've put together so everyone can know exactly what's left before Vue gets to the finish line:

Antenna

As we've covered before, connected devices like Vue require sensitive antennas to connect them to your phone. They are so sensitive, in fact, that even the small amount of electricity running through nearby components is enough to disrupt the connection. We've continued to have intermittent issues with our antenna—sometimes the connection was shaky when holding the phone in your hand or would disconnect after a distance of 5 meters.

We've spent many, many nights testing and working with specialists on antenna design and finally have a robust antenna. The new design separates the antennas (red arrows) on opposite ends of our PCB, meaning they are no longer close enough to each other to cause the same levels of interference that was disrupting them before.

Both antennas (red arrows) now placed on opposite ends of the board
Both antennas (red arrows) now placed on opposite ends of the board

 

We are excited to report that during our tests, we maintained a connection between the glasses and phone at a distance of 10m. Now that we've solved this issue we're ready to move on to FCC / CE testing to make sure the device you receive is safe for use and meets regulatory requirements. 

Final design for tooling

Check out this update where we spoke about how plastic parts are made with a process called injection molding. Creating the metal molds for this process is commonly referred to as tooling.

As you may imagine, we can’t start tooling until all the dimensions (internal and external) for our product are totally finalized. The recent changes have prevented us from finalizing such dimensions, and have of course added time to the project, but it is much better for us to find them before tooling rather than during or after.

However, now that most of these changes are finalized, we have been able to perform thorough mold reviews. Here are some improvements we've needed to make during our review process:

  • Draft angles: Some otherwise flat surfaces require slight slopes/angles so that they can be easily released from the mold during manufacturing. If these angles are wrong, and a part can’t be released, then the tool is useless and can’t be used to mass manufacture. 
Draft angle changes for injection molding
Draft angle changes for injection molding
  • Shrinking: We’ve also had to change the wall thickness on certain components to account for “shrinking” that occurs as the plastic cools. If left unaccounted for, components would shrink and be weaker. 
  • Undercuts: Certain shapes may get “caught” in the mold, so we have to add in special features or curvatures to make sure the part doesn’t get caught. Below is an animation that shows why undercuts are problematic. The only way to remove the molded component (yellow) would be to slide a piece of the mold (right side) away. 
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ondersnijding.gif
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ondersnijding.gif

These adjustments are often minor, but they take a considerable amount of thought and review to make sure they are precise enough to move forward with. We are now in the final stages of review and can start tooling within the next few weeks. This is a huge milestone, as tooling is one of the last hurdles we need to clear in order to start mass production. As our factories kick off tooling, we'll post an update with pictures!

Design for Assembly

Making a few prototypes, or even 100 prototypes, is significantly easier than making them by the thousands. Products have to be assembled quickly, efficiently, and with little error in order to ensure quality across 10,000+ units. Part of the work we have been doing is making sure that the glasses are as easy to assemble as possible. This reduces the risk for product failures as well as makes manufacturing more affordable and efficient. Here are the three separate areas we have been focused on improving:

1. PCB 

The PCB has undergone some big changes that make the product significantly easier to assemble. Our previous design had a rigid PCB with some FPC sections that were attached via connectors. When we redesigned the antenna placement, we also changed the design to a hybrid rigid PCB + FPC design. See the image below.

Top: old design, bottom: new design
Top: old design, bottom: new design

 

Closeup of PCB adjustments
Closeup of PCB adjustments

The benefits of this change are huge. Firstly, there is less risk of any components coming loose when the product is dropped, as this design removes a connector and instead directly integrates the PCB to the FPC. Secondly, it makes the product easier to assemble. The PCB + FPC are now one long component that is simply placed into the arms of the glasses during assembly, compared to before where several FPC components had to be attached by hand to the rigid PCB before being inserted into the glasses.

All our components assembled in the arms
All our components assembled in the arms

2. Mechanical components

In order to make assembly repeatable and reliable, we've added plastic features in the arms to lock the components into place. These also help assembly operators know where to place the components during assembly. Without these, components may otherwise fall out during assembly and have to be inserted again, adding time to the entire production process.

Mechanical placement tabs circled in red
Mechanical placement tabs circled in red

 

3. Touch panel

We've also had consistent issues with both touch panel performance and assembly. Below are 4 generations of touch panels that show you how drastic some changes need to be in order to make Vue easy to assemble.

Top to bottom: V1.0, V1.1, V1.2, V2.0
Top to bottom: V1.0, V1.1, V1.2, V2.0

The newest version (bottom) is now both easy to install and reliable from a performance perspective. If we had settled for an earlier design, it would have meant we had an increased risk of shipping a unit with defects or bugs, which is ultimately a total loss for backers. This new design increases touch sensitivity, reduces false positives, and prevents the touch panel from coming loose over time.

Bone Conduction

One feature suite we know many of you are excited about is Vue’s bone conduction audio. In order to take full advantage of this feature, we need to ensure that the quality is sufficient to do things like hear audio reports, take phone calls, or listen to music. 

Due to ongoing quality issues, we've decided to change suppliers for our bone conduction transducers. The new transducers are higher quality (improved bass range and reduced sound distortion) and also cause less leakage. However, we still have had to conduct thorough evaluations to compare their performance against our previous supplier.

We've also been developing quantitative tests to measure sound leakage so we can work on driving that down as much as possible. See some test setup images below.

Leakage test configuration #1
Leakage test configuration #1

 

Leakage test configuration #2
Leakage test configuration #2

In the images above, a decibel meter records the amount of audio coming from the glasses at a distance of 10cm away. This will help us evaluate the different mounting systems with our new transducers. 

From our more subjective evaluations, sound is coming through more clearly, particularly during phone calls, and the new transducers leak less than the previous ones. 

Exciting Progress!

1. Camera Control

We mentioned this in the campaign, but Vue’s gestures can be used to perform certain actions on your phone. One such feature is a remote control for the phone's camera. If you don’t have a selfie stick or remote control for your phone, you can just set Vue’s gesture to snap a picture. Check out the image of the team taken with the remote feature!

The first picture taken using Vue as a remote control
The first picture taken using Vue as a remote control

Just prop your camera up somewhere, walk toward the spot you’d like to take a picture, tap the frames, and you’ve got your image! We’re excited to see the complete experience of Vue coming together as we continue to drive toward shipping.

2. Software

We’ve also been spending time iterating on our swipe detection algorithms, which are a lot more accurate now. We’re continuing to reduce false positives, in part by including a ground wire surrounding the capacitive sensors. The algorithm has been modified in a significant way—previously it only looked at start and end points of a swipe, whereas now it looks at continuous points throughout the whole length of the touch panel.

You can now customize a gesture to report the time, take a picture, or report your fitness data!

Timeline and Tasks

Our final timelines are starting to come into focus. After conducting more reviews, we can move into the tooling phase. Once tools are complete, we can begin using those molds to make test units with real production components and assembly processes. We can then finalize packaging, submit our apps, and kick off mass production.

Latest schedule for finishing production
Latest schedule for finishing production

Credit Card Charging

We originally said we’d charge add-ons and upgrades tomorrow, September 1st but want to provide an additional week in light of our announcement to delay shipping. If you would rather be charged early (perhaps due to credit card limits, transferring funds to a card, etc), please send us an email and we can do so. Otherwise we will now charge cards for add-ons and upgrades on September 8th, 2017.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you were already charged during the Kickstarter campaign, you will NOT be charged again. However, if you used BackerKit to either ADD OR UPGRADE items that you did not pay for during Kickstarter, then you WILL be charged.

To determine if you owe any funds for upgrades and add-ons, visit vue.backerkit.com or email us.

Support 

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

  • If you have already been charged for what you pledged via Kickstarter, you will not be charged again. If you added or upgraded items using BackerKit that you did not pay for during the Kickstarter campaign, you will be charged. 
  • 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

Brief Mid-August Update
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 12:46:07 AM

Hi everyone, please read this update thoroughly! It is short and only about logistics regarding prescriptions and paying for upgrades/add-ons on BackerKit. We have gotten a lot of questions about this, and it will save the project a lot of time to summarize this information in an update.

This affects everyone, so please read!

Prescription Surveys 

Today, August 15th, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST, we are finalizing all prescription data for what has been submitted. This is an important point. If you have not finished the survey, please finish it.

Please, search your email, including spam, for the following: 

  • An email with the subject: Vue Prescription Survey 
  • An email from an @enjoyvue.com domain
  • A link from SurveyMonkey

If you end up missing this deadline, it will result in a delay for shipping your order. Our supplier can only start making lenses for the orders we provide prescription data for. If you are late in providing this, they may have other orders to prioritize making, and at that point it is beyond our control.

Email support@enjoyvue.com if you still have not received the survey so we can try to get your data today.

Charging Credit Cards for Add-ons

We will be charging credit cards for all items/orders added using BackerKit on September 1st, 2017. Please visit your order confirmation from BackerKit and confirm that the credit card you provided has enough funds and is prepared for the charge. If your charge fails, it will result in a delay of your order until you pay for whatever it is you added to your order.

Before emailing us, please use vue.backerkit.com to recover your frame style and lens selection survey yourself. By emailing us instead of using this tool, it will add more time for everyone and slow the process down collectively.

Go to vue.backerkit.com to enter in the email you used when backing us, as seen below.

BackerKit frame style and lens selection survey recovery
BackerKit frame style and lens selection survey recovery

 

Once you’ve recovered your order via email, make sure the credit card you have provided is up-to-date and prepared for the charge on September 1st, 2017. See image below. 

Click "Update Credit Card" if you need to update your payment info for the September 1st charge
Click "Update Credit Card" if you need to update your payment info for the September 1st charge

Summary 

Please provide your prescription ASAP. If you don’t, you may suffer delays in delivery because of scheduling issues with our manufacturer.

Please make sure the credit card you have provided for any upgrades or add-ons made using BackerKit is ready for the charge on September 1st, 2017 by using vue.backerkit.com.

Support

Contact us with any/all support questions at support@enjoyvue.com.

With love,

the Vue team

July Update
almost 2 years ago – Tue, Aug 01, 2017 at 12:05:53 AM

Hey backers!

Welcome to another Vue update. As always, it’s been an extremely busy month for us. There have been a lot of exciting things coming together as the year progresses, all of which bring us closer to delivering Vue to all of you! As we get closer to official mass production, we have been doing a considerable amount of technical and logistical work. Before we commit to mass production, we have to be extremely confident in our designs. Fixing mistakes now is much easier, whereas fixing them after mass production has started is painful, costly, and can take a while. For this reason, we are trying to be as thorough and as diligent as possible as we prepare to shift into mass production.

With that in mind, let’s dive into what we’ve been working on.

Antenna evaluations 

As mentioned in the previous update, we’ve been working on evaluating poor antenna performance. In order for connected devices to function properly, they need to be able to have a solid connection to things like your mobile phone. In the case of Vue, that connection is what provides important functionality, including fitness summaries, audio streaming, and more. As we redesign the PCB to improve the antenna, we use various bench-top tools to evaluate performance.

We also get to take our devices to exciting antenna labs, pictured in the images below. These labs help us to better evaluate our changes, as tests are conducted in isolation chambers that eliminate noise (i.e. signals from other devices nearby).

An isolation chamber at an antenna lab
An isolation chamber at an antenna lab

 

Another antenna lab. Devices are positioned on top of the orange pole (middle)
Another antenna lab. Devices are positioned on top of the orange pole (middle)

The above setups are designed for testing GSM/3G/4G devices; we will be using a similar setup to test our Bluetooth device. The closer we get to shipping, the more we can update you on antenna improvements and overall performance. Stay tuned (pun intended)!

Bone Conduction Testing 

Another item we’ve been working on is bone conduction performance. Again, as mentioned in the previous update, we’ve been working on reducing leakage by better isolating the transducers from the frame. Since bone conduction operates via vibrations, any motion that translates to the glasses instead of your head will ultimately contribute to leakage and decrease clarity of sound. Check out some of the various configurations we have been testing, seen below.

Various mounting designs for the transducers within the arms of the glasses
Various mounting designs for the transducers within the arms of the glasses

This is an important piece of the Vue puzzle, as finalizing this design will allow us to proceed to the tooling phase, where we can cut our injection molds and officially start work on mass production! 

We've also made a pretty important decision regarding these mounts, and that is that we'll be using what's called "double shot" injection molding. This process involves using two different materials in the same mold for a part. The benefits of this approach are as follows:  

  • Simplified assembly
  • Water-tight design
  • Reduced leakage
  • More comfortable for user (we'll use soft plastic instead of hard)

In order to evaluate the efficacy of our mounting designs, we conduct a variety of tests. Some are subjective, during which we listen to the audio and score the quality. Others are objective, where we use instruments to record the frequency response of the transducers. Check out one of the bench-top tests we perform on the various designs, seen below.

The computer records the audio from the glasses and graphs the performance through the computer. We can then compare each design to each other
The computer records the audio from the glasses and graphs the performance through the computer. We can then compare each design to each other

Battery Evaluations 

Another important part of creating a consumer electronic device is the battery. In Vue’s case, there will be two. In addition to meeting performance specifications to support our features, the batteries in Vue need to pass various tests to ensure they meet safety standards. As we get closer to mass production, the team has been touring various facilities in our supply chain. These facilities produce parts for our circuit boards, batteries, antennas, plastic components, and more.

We recently toured battery facilities and watched how the parts were made, what standards they are held to, and the various tests they are subjected to before being deemed acceptable. Check out some images we took that show some of the punishing tests our components are subjected to.

Here's a that battery was subjected to puncture via a sharp object
Here's a that battery was subjected to puncture via a sharp object

 

Impact test: exactly what it sounds like! This battery was impacted with another object, and crushed in the process
Impact test: exactly what it sounds like! This battery was impacted with another object, and crushed in the process

 

Finished batteries being placed in packaging off the assembly line
Finished batteries being placed in packaging off the assembly line

Supplier-side evaluations are only one part of the process. Batteries must first meet a supplier’s own standards before being deemed fit for sale. We then purchase those components for use in our manufacturing process, where they are installed in Vue. As Vue is assembled at our own facilities, we will run tests of our own to make sure that the batteries are performing and behaving as expected. 

Components and products also must meet third-party standards (such as UL and CE), so we will also be conducting tests that demonstrate conformity to these specifications. If you take a look at your phone, laptop, and other devices, you should be able to find some of these symbols! They are an essential part to product development and manufacturing.

As you can see, manufacturing is a complex process. At each step, we attempt to reduce the risk of malfunction by relying on a supplier and our own inspections. This is true for virtually all components that ultimately become Vue. As we officially enter mass production, we’ll be able to show you in more detail how our product is tested!

Design for Manufacturing

Much of the work we are currently doing is in preparation for a manufacturing milestone called "tooling" where we create the tools (i.e. molds) that will be used to mold the plastic components for the frames. Because this process is expensive and time consuming, we have to reach an effective design freeze where we finalize the shapes and methods of assembly for the glasses. 

In order to prepare for this phase, we've been making final adjustments to the mechanical design of the glasses. Below is an image highlighting some of these final, subtle changes we've made to prepare for this milestone.

Assembly and mechanical changes in preparation for mass production
Assembly and mechanical changes in preparation for mass production

Outside of digital CAD work, we also 3D print physical models to run tests on. At this stage, we've created countless 3D prints to test everything from PCB mounting, to hinge design, to bone conduction mounting systems. Below is an image of a recent Trendy print where we were testing some assembly changes and bone conduction mounting designs. 

A 3D print used to test mechanical and assembly changes in the Trendy frame
A 3D print used to test mechanical and assembly changes in the Trendy frame

Packaging

We thought it would be nice to take a brief break from technical work to share with you some other news. As mass production gets closer, we have begun to mockup and prototype packaging for the product. Packaging is an important part of a product experience, as it is a backer’s first interaction with their pair of Vue! We want to make sure the unboxing experience is both enjoyable and easy to understand.

There is still a lot of work to be done before the packaging design is finalized, but we wanted to share with you some drafts we’ve been working on. These don’t represent the final designs, and they may change considerably, but it is at least a glimpse into other things we work on behind the scenes.

A simple, minimalist package design for Vue
A simple, minimalist package design for Vue

 

What you will see upon opening the package (the charging case will contain your pair)
What you will see upon opening the package (the charging case will contain your pair)

Lens Manufacturing

As we’ve continued to stress in updates, collecting prescriptions early is an important part of the process for us. We need to tell our lens partner how much of each lens type (single vision, polarized, blue light filtering, etc.) we have to manufacture.

Sometimes a factory won’t have all the material they need in stock, so telling them well in advance that we require such lenses (and the amount we need) is an essential part of staying on track.

We know we've repeated ourselves on this point, but it's important! So remember: send us your final prescription information by August 15th. After this date, we will analyze all the data, after which our partner can officially start to produce lenses. If you miss this deadline, you risk delaying your order, as the only way to guarantee your lens-type is in stock is by meeting this deadline.

Timelines

Nothing has changed in our timeline. We are still on track for October. We are making great progress on improving the electronics, software, and ease of assembly of Vue. In future updates, you can expect to see more factory shots and product demos.

Research Emails

You may receive an email from a group called Stitch Research. They are helping us gather some information from backers to help us better understand your needs, purchasing habits, and more. This will help us get to know you all better so we can make sure Vue meets your needs now and into the future!

Support

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

  • If you chose plano (non-corrective) lenses or no lenses you will not receive a prescription survey. 
  • If you need but haven't received a prescription survey, please email support@enjoyvue.com
  • We've extended the prescription deadline to August 15th, 2017
  • If you would like to update your shipping info or check your order (style, color, etc) then you can use BackerKit's survey recovery tool to look up your order. 

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team 

June Update
almost 2 years ago – Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 11:38:04 PM

Hey everyone!

It's typhoon season over at our office in China, but nonetheless we've been battling the stormy weather and making progress. As we mentioned in our last update, we are currently evaluating our CNC prototypes (read more about that in our last update here). This process has involved a lot of daily testing, bug reporting, and fixes both in software and hardware. Let's check in on our progress!

Prototype Testing

We've spent the past few weeks iterating the design of our prototypes and fixing any issues we find. This has also helped us determine pain-points in the assembly process so that we can resolve them before mass production. 

In-process image of assembling some prototypes
In-process image of assembling some prototypes

This has been a really fun process for us because it means we have fully functional pre-production prototypes that we get to wear around all day! These are our most advanced prototypes to-date, and it is really rewarding seeing this product finally come to life. 

 

An updated Classic CNC prototype
An updated Classic CNC prototype

 

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

 

Tiantian enjoying her test pair!
Tiantian enjoying her test pair!

1. Gesture Control

While testing Vue, we try to engage with all of the features as much as possible. This allows us to find bugs (features that aren't working well). So far, we're pretty pleased with the state of gesture control. The algorithms for determining gesture type aren't perfect and still need refinement, but so far the demos are working great. Check out the video below of Aaron interacting with a music playlist. 

Note: pay attention to the orange pause/play symbol toward the bottom of the screen so you can see the music starting/stopping. 

Testing out the music gesture controls.

2. Step counting

Step counting is also working well. Vue tracks steps taken throughout the day and then syncs that data to your mobile app. The GIF below shows steps from a pair of Vue being tracked in real time. 

Live step counting in the iOS app
Live step counting in the iOS app

 

You can also double-tap the touch panel on the frames and you will hear an audio report regarding your step and calorie count. This is useful if you are on the go or don't want to pull out your phone just to see how close you are to reaching your goal. 

To give you an idea of the types of bugs we run into, we were experiencing an issue where our calorie counting was consistently reported as having "burned 1 calorie". This was obviously wrong (we walk a lot!), but we couldn't figure out why. A closer inspection showed that our software set the default height of a user to "0". We had a pretty good laugh at this, but it just goes to show that there are a lot of details to pay attention to during testing. 

In the future, we will set the default height of a user to an average value so that calorie counting works out of the box. Once you set up your Vue with the mobile app, you'll then be able to enter your exact height and weight so that calorie counting is far more accurate.

3. Find My Glasses

The "Find My Glasses" feature is also working well. As seen below, the app displays when you are getting closer to lost glasses. The algorithm still has some tweaking to do to eliminate some of the signal noise, but this is a great baseline.

 

4. Phone calls

We've also been testing phone calls with Vue. Voice picked up by Vue's microphone has been clear and consistent, and folks on the other end of the line have been able to hear us quite well. Just yesterday, we tested Vue while driving on the highway in the Bay Area. 

One challenge with bone conduction, as we noted on our campaign page, is that your ears are competing with ambient noise in your environment. While driving, there is a considerable amount of noise (wind, tires, vibrations, etc). During some moments on the highway, we had trouble hearing the person on the phone clearly and had to ask them to repeat statements. We'll be taking a closer look to see if we can fix this issue by either boosting volume or better isolating the transducers.

A Metal Hinge!

We've prototyped a lot of different hinges on the glasses in hopes of finding the most robust solution that can provide stability while allowing wires to pass through. We've decided to use a custom metal hinge—and we're pretty excited about it.

Our new metal hinge
Our new metal hinge

We've actually put a considerable amount of work into this component. We've dedicated one of our mechanical engineers entirely to this project, spoke to laptop and mobile phone hinge manufacturers, evaluated 4 metalworking facilities, and tested countless designs. This metal hinge will provide similar quality to what you will find in traditional eyewear. 

A closer look at the hinge
A closer look at the hinge

Antenna Issues

Vue sends and receives data from your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. That connection is maintained via an antenna that sits inside of the frames. One challenge we've faced lately is that the antenna connection seems weak. Sometimes when we are wearing the glasses, the connection dies, or music that we stream is choppy. Some of this is caused by interference (i.e. energy/signals) from other components on our PCB.

Current antenna mounted onto our board
Current antenna mounted onto our board

We are currently testing a few different antenna arrangements within the glasses to see which one performs the best. We'll need to come up with a solution that minimizes interference while still being able to fit within the small space of the frames. 

For example, we're currently evaluating a design that incorporates the antenna directly into the FPC so it is moved away from interfering components, as seen below.

New antenna design, mounted on our FPC
New antenna design, mounted on our FPC

We are getting some great data from these tests, and expect to have a better solution in time for our next update! 

Bone Conduction Testing

One concern with bone conduction is minimizing leakage while being able to maintain volume and clarity of sound. The nature of bone conduction makes this a challenge. When you increase volume, the transducers vibrate with a higher intensity, resulting in more energy translated to the frames. This is what ultimately causes sound to leak out and be audible by those around you. 

We are currently testing multiple different transducer mounting configurations to see how we can best minimize leakage and maintain audio clarity. We're looking closely at material selection, including rubbers and foams, as well as how the components are mounted to the frames. Below you can see an image of what it looks like when we test a new setup.

A test setup for a new mounting design
A test setup for a new mounting design

Below is an unedited clip of what an audio report sounds like on the current setup. The box helps amplify the sound of the transducers, and more closely resembles what you can expect to hear when you wear Vue. 

There is still some room for improvement here to minimize leakage. Minimizing leakage is often at the expense of volume and clarity. The current setup is far superior to our previous prototypes (which you can go back and take a listen to on our main campaign page). The audio report is quite clear, but there is still some soft leakage at higher volumes. We're excited to continue driving leakage down and will keep everyone posted on progress. 

Factory Prep

As we get closer to mass production, we have to create documents known as drawings. Drawings are detailed diagrams that show every dimension on a product so that the item can be produced by a factory. Below you can see the drawings we are producing for production. All of the items in blue are specifications and dimensions related to the frames. 

Detailed dimensional drawings of the glasses
Detailed dimensional drawings of the glasses

Prescription Surveys

We wanted to take a bit of time to explain to you how the logistics of building a product work, and why the timing of receiving prescription data is important. First of all, we have decided to extend the prescription survey again to August 15th, 2017. We want to give everyone the flexibility of making updates to their prescription since the product is shipping later than the original July date. 

The way our product is made is that various components are produced at separate factories, and then all the pieces are shipped to another factory to be assembled into final frames. Those finished frames are then shipped to our lens partner, where individual prescriptions are cut into lenses and then installed in specific frames, placed into packaging, and then shipped to a customer. It is extremely helpful for us to get prescription data as far in advance as possible so that our lens partner can prepare for making your lenses. The longer it takes us to receive this data, the more difficult it will be to plan our manufacturing schedule, and the more we risk a delay in production. 

A vast majority of you have already entered in your data. This is great because our lens partner can plan ahead in regards to which types of lenses they will need, which prescriptions they need to make, and how many machines and employees they'll need to make it all happen. 

However, since the frames have to be made before lenses, we still have a considerable amount of breathing room before our lens data has to be finalized. In that regard, we want to offer everyone more time to be able to edit their prescriptions. So for now, you can breathe a little easier knowing that you have until August to finish and/or make updates!

Timelines

Nothing has changed in our timeline. We are still on track for October. We are making great progress on improving the electronics, software, and ease of assembly of Vue. In future updates, you can expect to see more factory shots and product demos. 

Support

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

  • If you chose plano (non-corrective) lenses or no lenses you will not receive a prescription survey. 
  • If you need but haven't received a prescription survey, please email support@enjoyvue.com
  • We've extended the prescription deadline to August 15th, 2017
  • If you would like to update your shipping info or check your order (style, color, etc) then you can use BackerKit's survey recovery tool to look up your order. 

Until next time!

With love,

the Vue team

May Update
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Jun 01, 2017 at 01:03:31 AM

Hello backers! 

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

Printed Circuit Board Layout 

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

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

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

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

 

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

LED Placement

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

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

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

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

Preliminary CNC Testing 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Current Challenges

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

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

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

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

Factory Visits 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

New hire—production manager!

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

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

 

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

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

Next Steps 

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

Surveys and Support

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

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

Until next time!

With love,

the Vue team