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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. Pre-Order Below.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

December Update
over 6 years 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

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
over 6 years 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

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
over 6 years 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

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

September Update
over 6 years ago – Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 11:22:26 PM

Hey backers!

Welcome to another Vue update! With each passing month the product continues to come together, and we’re feeling more and more excited as we get closer to shipping. We’ve got lots of details to share with you. Let’s get started! 

Trendy Love!

Some backers have commented that they want to see more images of the Trendy units! Check out some of the latest prototypes below!

The latest Trendy and Classic prototypes for production testing
The latest Trendy and Classic prototypes for production testing

Once tooling is complete, we'll be able to start showing you the various colors of each frame as well! It should be an exciting period as we start to transition from CNC pre-production prototypes to actual production units.

Pre-Production Testing! 

As we mentioned in the previous update, we’re doing a lot of review prior to tooling. The idea is to catch as many problems before tooling, as finding them afterward would be costly and time consuming. We are wrapping up some of this work, and wanted to give everyone some insight into what specifically this work looks like.

FCC Testing 

Many electronic devices sold within the US require approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, products that transmit certain signals, like Bluetooth, must pass tests that certify their electromagnetic interference emitted from the device is under limits approved by the FCC. You can read the wiki here (you’ll probably recognize the logo on many/most of your products!).

We historically have had problems maintaining a solid connection via our antenna, but as we covered in our last update, we came up with a robust design that seems to have solved those problems. Now that we’ve landed on a final antenna design, we are conducting preliminary FCC tests to catch any problems.

Vue (left) sitting inside the FCC testing chamber
Vue (left) sitting inside the FCC testing chamber

 

Vue (bottom) aligning with the test equipment
Vue (bottom) aligning with the test equipment

FCC testing is expensive, and it is very common for products to fail their initial tests. After failing, small changes to the electronics are required, and then you can re-test your product until it passes. We’re running FCC analogous tests prior to paying for full FCC tests so that we can catch any huge red flags before committing to the expense.

With that being said, we are pleased to announce that we PASSED these preliminary tests! See some of our results below.

Upper threshold (red) and Vue's performance (blue)
Upper threshold (red) and Vue's performance (blue)

Vue's performance is graphed in blue. As you can see, we stayed below the mandated threshold (red) throughout the test. This is a great indication that we'll pass FCC tests with production units, although it's not necessarily guaranteed. After our many antenna redesigns, this is a great confirmation that the steps we took were right for the product. 

Hinge Testing 

We’ve done a lot of work on our hinge. In previous updates we’ve outlined some design changes in order to make sure the hinge can withstand daily use. With normal glasses, the hinge simply needs to open and close repeatedly without failing. With Vue, it must be able to do this in addition to not damaging or interfering with the electronics inside.

We can design and discuss this aspect all we want, but ultimately, there is no substitute for testing the motion the hinge will be subjected to over the years. So what does this look like? Check out the video below!

 

 

What you are seeing is a device at our assembly factory that literally cycles the hinge through the motion you all will put the arms through each and every day. And we don’t just cycle it a few times...we cycle it a lot. And by a lot we mean 30,000 times.

Our tests show that the hinge withstood 30,000 cycles without failing. If you spread that out over a period of 2 years, that would mean you can open and close the hinges 41 times a day without breaking it.

Unfortunately, the FPC fatigued and broke at around 10,000 cycles. That would reduce the number from 41 times a day to about 14 times a day. We’re glad we found this during this test, as we still have time to implement solutions.

The good news is that this won’t impact tooling or any upcoming priorities—and we already have a solution! Read on to see more.

FPC Fixes 

As we noted above, the FPC was the first component to fatigue when the hinge flexed. One solution for this is to utilize something called a strain relief. To summarize, a strain relief helps protect flexible components from damage due to excessive bending. A strain relief you are most familiar with is on your headphones. Find where the cables meet your earbuds, or where the cable meets the audio jack, and you’ll notice a thicker, flexible section of material that prevents the cable from taking too sharp of a bend. You can see some example images on the Internet here.

There are various methods to employ strain reliefs for our product, but one such simple method can be seen below.

FPC with strain relief (left) and without strain relief (right)
FPC with strain relief (left) and without strain relief (right)

By sliding a small fabric or rubber sleeve over the corner of the FPC, it can act as a strain relief to protect against bending. We’re also having our PCB manufacturer increase the curvature of the FPC's corner. Together, we think these will be solid solutions to help protect against fatigue. This will be something we’ll test again during production.

Bone Conduction Tests 

We wanted to give you some insight into all the testing we’ve been doing on bone conduction. As outlined in our previous updates, we’ve been doing both quantitative and qualitative leakage evaluations. But part of this work has been doing a huge evaluation on a lot of different materials and methods for mounting.

A small fraction of the many materials and mounting methods we have studied
A small fraction of the many materials and mounting methods we have studied

Leakage is something backers have expressed concerns about, and it’s something we want to try to mitigate as much as possible. Leakage is primarily caused by vibrations translating to the surrounding materials in the glasses, which then start to vibrate and act as a speaker. To better study our designs, we’ve developed a simple way to quantify vibrations.

The setup involves mounting an accelerometer onto the glasses. Accelerometers are most commonly known for their use in tracking steps. But here we’ve repurposed it to tell us which transducer and mounting design is causing too many vibrations to travel down the frames.

The lines you see on the computer represent vibrations being detected by the accelerometer. This is just another quantitative method that is helping us narrow in on final materials to be used in mounting transducers during production. 

Lens Testing 

We don’t get too many opportunities to talk about the lenses, but that’s also a huge component of this product for many backers! We’ve been evaluating samples from our lens partner to ensure quality, and we’re quite pleased! Check out some demos of some of the technical lenses below.

1. Blue Light Filtering: In the video, we shine a UV/blue light laser through a standard lens first and then through a blue light filtering lens. Watch for the light on the table—the BLF lenses significantly reduce the light that travels through.

2. Photochromic: The laser can also be used to demonstrate how the lenses shift from clear to tinted! Note: do not ever test this by shining lasers into your eyes through the lenses.

 

Below you’ll see a more practical demo of the photochromic lenses. We take them from inside the office (where they are clear) to outside (where they begin to tint).

Timelines

No updates here. We’re forging ahead! 

Vigo = Vue on your credit card

We got a lot of emails on the charges that we ran on September 8th, 2017. Note that the description on your credit card statement may have said Vigo (our corporate entity) instead of Vue. If you see that on your statement (or some variation of Vigo Technologies, Vigo-SF, Vigo-CA, etc)—don’t dispute it or report it as fraud! That is a legitimate charge from us.

We apologize for the confusion. We’ve changed our statement descriptor so that any future charges will show up as Vue Glasses. And please, before contacting your credit card carrier, please email us! We are happy to work with you to resolve anything that you think is incorrect. 

Support 

Reach us at [email protected] with any questions, and remember the following before emailing: 

Until next time! 

With love, 

the Vue team

August Update: Timelines, Progress, and more!
almost 7 years 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected].
  • 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