project-image

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:

Brief Mid-August Update
almost 7 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected].

With love,

the Vue team

July Update
almost 7 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 [email protected]
  • 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
about 7 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 [email protected]
  • 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
about 7 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 [email protected]
  • 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

 

April Update
about 7 years ago – Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 12:21:26 AM

Happy April!

Thank you everyone for your patience with the prescription surveys. Because of the limited number of HIPAA-compliant survey providers, we had no choice but to split up frame style choices and prescription collection across two platforms. If you chose glasses with prescription lenses but still have not received a survey, please check your spam folder first. Although this seems like a silly suggestion, many backers have overlooked it. Please search for “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”, and a subject of “Vue Prescription Survey”. If you still haven’t found it, please email [email protected] and we can help you out.

Manufacturing Update

We’ll get straight to the point: we’ve encountered some technical challenges that have set us back. The issues have required a lot of rearranging of components on our printed circuit board (PCB) and required some shifting of part placement within the glasses. We want to be clear that we are prioritizing a quality product over rushing through things. Trying to implement quick fixes would jeopardize quality given the challenges we’ve been working through. With this in mind, we are scoping the delay at 3 months, until October.

We know this will be upsetting, and we share that feeling with all of you. The tricky part about staying on schedule is that small changes often have cascading effects, and require changes in other areas of the product that then result in longer delays.

That being said, overcoming these challenges absolutely means backers will receive a better product. At the end of the day, one of the hardest parts of manufacturing is picking a date in the future when you don't know what the future holds. Although these unexpected challenges have shown up, taking our time to resolve them is a net-positive for all of you because it means the product will be more reliable. With that said, let’s dive into what we’re working on.

Printed Circuit Board Layout

The effective “brains” of Vue live on the PCB. Things like the microprocessor, Bluetooth chips, amplifiers, microphone, and antennas sit on a thin laminated copper sheet within the glasses. Fitting our PCB into the small space of the glasses has been a challenge.

Our biggest issue has been around optimizing the PCB for production/assembly while keeping its footprint small enough to fit within the glasses. We’re happy to say that we’ve found ways to resolve these issues, but finalizing them is taking time. Here is a breakdown of the work we’ve done:

1) PCB/Battery relocation: Our original design had a battery in one end of the arms and the PCB in the other end, as seen in the technical explosion below.

The battery can be seen on the left, the PCB on the right
The battery can be seen on the left, the PCB on the right

While testing various components, we concluded that the battery size was not sufficient to support our features. While we could have sourced a bigger battery, it would mean changing the dimensions of the arms to accommodate it. Instead, we decided to place a second battery where the original PCB was, and then shifted the PCB under the touchpad. The new layout is as seen below.

The two batteries are seen at the ends of the arms, and the PCB (green) is under the touchpad (grey)
The two batteries are seen at the ends of the arms, and the PCB (green) is under the touchpad (grey)

This change adds only a minimal amount of weight, approximately 1.7 grams, but adds more battery capacity to help support Vue’s features.  

2) Flex PCB: Given the small dimensions of our glasses, it has been challenging to fit our PCB inside the arms. To make sure Vue looks like regular glasses, we have introduced curvature into the arms. This small detail introduces a massive challenge to PCB design, since the PCB is a long rigid board. Our PCB would need to be bent in order to fit safely inside, otherwise it would contact the walls, as seen below.

Contact points of PCB against walls of glasses
Contact points of PCB against walls of glasses

Because of this, we need to use flexible printed circuits (FPC) combined with the rigid PCB. The battery and bone conduction transducer are connected via the FPC to the main PCB, as illustrated below. The rigid PCB is just long enough to fit inside the curvature, while the FPC can flex for the remaining length. This has involved a lot of tweaking of the PCB length and temple piece curvature to ensure the best combination of form and function.

How the PCB and FPC fit together
How the PCB and FPC fit together

It has taken a lot of time to design how the rigid PCB and FPC will fit together, and we will be testing the assembled version in the coming weeks. The good news is that this enables the electronics to fit inside the glasses without having to increase the width of the arms. Every millimeter of thickness adds weight, which is an important consideration for something worn on the face.

3) Component height: Each component on a PCB varies in height. Some components are barely noticeable while others may rise as much as 1.5mm above the PCB’s surface. We ran into an issue where components in certain locations were too tall for the curved section of the arms of the glasses. In order to resolve this, we’ve had to rearrange the components to ensure the components don’t interfere with the walls of the arms. Unfortunately, rearranging hundreds of small components within a small space is a very tedious task. 

4) Chip change: We also decided to switch to a different microprocessor. The previous chip was 6mm in width whereas the new one is 5.5mm in width. Although this seems like a small change, this actually reduces the width of the production PCB which in turn lets us reduce the thickness of the arms by an additional 0.5mm.   

View of how component width (red arrow) affects thickness of arms
View of how component width (red arrow) affects thickness of arms

The chip we switched to is also from a different manufacturer and therefore we have had to do some work to make sure our software is still compatible. Long term, this chip is actually a better choice because a) it is smaller and b) it is a chip more commonly used in wearable devices.

Step Counting Algorithm 

Most recently, we tested our step counting algorithm against some leading industry wearable products and found that our accuracy was within 2.5%. This is a great baseline, and we’ll be able to push updates that constantly improve Vue’s ability to track your fitness.

Below are some images of us testing out our algorithms against the accelerometer data, which involves filtering out "noise" from other movements to accurately determine what is actually a step.

What steps look like (peaks) when we filter out noise from other movements
What steps look like (peaks) when we filter out noise from other movements

We've also been working on identifying different movements, such as nods or shaking of the head. As mentioned in the campaign, certain head movements could be used to control Vue (like answering/rejecting a phone call), so we'll need to be sure these movements don't get confused with steps.

The change in waveform seen here helps us differentiate between steps and gestures like nodding
The change in waveform seen here helps us differentiate between steps and gestures like nodding

Once the noise is filtered, we can count steps, and even do clever things like differentiate between running and walking. In the video below, we walk you through some real-time analysis of the accelerometer data and show you the differences between running and walking.

Bone Conduction Evaluations 

In an ideal world, the quality of the audio directly from the bone conduction transducers would be the same as the quality from the transducers mounted in the glasses. However, because the transducers are mounted behind plastic, there will be differences. The following images shows us testing the quality of the transducers mounted in the glasses.

The glasses mounted in a test fixture
The glasses mounted in a test fixture

To test for differences, we can mount Vue in a test rig and have the transducers play a series of different frequencies. We then mount and test a control sample that plays the same series of frequencies and analyze the differences.

Control transducer (red arrow) sitting within a test rig.
Control transducer (red arrow) sitting within a test rig.

 

We will be continuing to run tests as we get closer to shipping so we can identify any potential tweaks during manufacturing that can help boost sound quality.

Charging Case 

We saw some comments regarding the charging case, so we wanted to show a little more detail on the change. The improved case is substantially smaller and lighter, making it far more portable at this size.

Vue Glasses (left), new case (middle), old case (right)
Vue Glasses (left), new case (middle), old case (right)

 

The new design (left) is much, much slimmer than the old design (right)
The new design (left) is much, much slimmer than the old design (right)

We also settled on USB-C. It is obvious that the industry is migrating toward this standard, which will help simplify the charging process across devices. It makes sense for Vue to prepare for this new era and we have therefore committed to USB-C, seen below.

USB-C port with charging light
USB-C port with charging light

We will test the new charging cases in conjunction with the revisions to the glasses described above. We will post about our full system evaluations in the next update. 

App Updates 

In the previous update we showed you some screenshots of the mobile app UI. Below you can see how those designs look on an actual phone. When you first open the Vue app, you'll see the following screen with the choice to "Join Vue" or "Log In" if you already have an account.

A GIF of the intro screen of the Vue app
A GIF of the intro screen of the Vue app

 

Below is a quick walkthrough of what the Log In process looks like. We will have the option to use Facebook Login, which will make the on-boarding process faster.

Demo of log in process in the mobile app

We will continue refining the design of the app and in future updates can start to show you the actual pairing process as well as how to setup and access specific features.

Timeline 

Manufacturing requires many careful steps. Here is a high-level plan for the next few months, and what you can expect to see in our monthly updates moving forward:

1) Engineering review units: We will fully assemble units with the new PCB/FPC and battery design and will test them on a full-system level along with the charging case. The glasses will be CNCed from plastic, instead of 3D printed. We’ll do thorough testing to make sure everything meets our technical specs, then we’ll move on to tooling. Expect to see videos and pictures from these tests.

2) Design review units: Here we will work with our manufacturing partners to cut tools for injection molding, make sure the tools meet our specs, and then we’ll run test shots. We’ll assemble units to evaluate our yield rate (how many units fail or break during production). We’ll make small improvements to boost yield and then move on to final testing. 

3) Production review units: Here is where we assemble and test our units using our manufacturing processes and final components. This will then transition into mass production if everything meets our specs.

Onward

Thanks to everyone for your continued support on this journey. Delays are bummers, we know that. We wish we could avoid unforeseen bumps in the road. We will continue to work hard so that things can move as fast as possible while still guaranteeing that you will receive a quality product. 

As always, shoot us a message or email with concerns, and otherwise stay tuned for our next update. Should be an exciting one! 

with love, 

the Vue team