19 December, 2019

Production Update: Alpha testing!

Dear backers, 

As we are near the holidays, we wanted to share our progress on SmartHalo 2. In this update, we’ll talk about the alpha testing period, the progress on firmware, the next steps in manufacturing and a Christmas card for those who pledged SmartHalo 2 as a gift. 

 

Alpha Testing Begins Now! 

It’s currently -20°C (-4°F) here in Montreal… Perfect weather to bike right? Okay, we’ll admit it’s a bit chilly, but the team is prepping their winter bikes because, as we speak, we are assembling units to start Alpha testing! 

Whereas what you saw in our Kickstarter video is an early-stage prototype built mostly to show a concept, what we are about to test is made with actual production spec plastic – it’s almost the real deal folks. The only difference is that these parts are CNC machined and not the actual plastic that is molded (which are currently in production and will start trickling to our offices soon). 

Having units on our bikes means that we can start testing SmartHalo under a few different angles: 

  • The overall solidity of the casing
  • The locking mechanism’s toughness
  • The brightness of the front light
  • The output of the alarm’s speaker
  • The first features of the firmware (more on that below)
  • etc.

These units aren’t 100% finished: some features and textures are missing since they’ve been machined and not injected. This means they don’t yet look like the final product, but also that they don’t allow us to test the full gamut of SmartHalo 2 features just yet since the software is still in development. Which brings us to the next point… 

The State of Software

The software driving SmartHalo 2 is separated into two big categories: Firmware and Mobile. The former is what drives the show on your device; the latter is what runs on your smartphone and provides SmartHalo 2 with that extra layer of computing power and sensors. It’s also used as a full screen interface for you to customize features, enter navigation, consult your fitness metrics and so on. 

Right now, we are focusing almost entirely on the device’s firmware. This is because the architecture required to drive our new PeekDisplay is entirely new and way more sophisticated than what we used for the first generation of SmartHalo. We’ll also leverage the mobile work we’ve done for SmartHalo 1, which means the state of the app is already well advanced. 

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve worked on transferring every SmartHalo 1 feature centered on our luminous halo to SmartHalo 2. This means we have the same base layer moving on. In the next few weeks, we will work on improving each of these features with PeekDisplay. 

The work done so far reveals it is an even bigger project than anticipated. But fret not: we’re confident work on it won’t delay device shipment. The only impact it’ll have is that we might deliver a few features as software updates after you’ve received your devices. We’d rather ship a device with less features in a stable state, than try to develop every feature with bugs. Hopefully, this makes sense for all of you as well! We’ll share more about the state of our software as we go along. 

On the Verge of Pumping Units Out

As we revealed in the last update, plastic parts have been split into two waves. As of today, we’ve received first samples from the first injection (called T1) of “wave 1”. They require some tweaking, as it usually takes a few rounds of refinements before getting final parts. We expect to have new samples (T2) of wave 1 plastics in January. 

We’ve also sent all “wave 2” parts for tooling and expect to receive T1 for these parts before Chinese New Year. 

Hopefully the technical gibberish makes sense! TLDR : Plastics are progressing well. 

Our printed circuit board (PCB) is also undergoing it’s final revision if all goes well. In January, we should receive a first batch of 500 PCBs which we can use for pre-production. And once plastics and PCBs are validated, then we launch the full production! We’re getting there! 

Timeline and Survey Reminder

As we mentioned above, things are moving along smoothly and we’re keeping up with the new schedule shared in our last update. Some of you are still asking about the original timeline here and there so if you happen to read this update but haven’t seen the previous one where we explain it all, we invite you to check it here

This will also provide you with more info on when we’ll send the survey (which, for obvious practical reasons, will be close to the shipping date).

A SmartHalo 2 Gift Card to Put Under the Tree

You pledged for SmartHalo 2 to offer it as a Christmas gift to the cyclist on your list (or yourself)? And then we had to push the timeline to after Christmas… Many of you still wanted to have something to put under the tree and we heard you! We created a gift card that you can download and print or send via email. 

English version for download / Version française pour téléchargement

Thank you for an epic 2019 and we wish all of you a great biking year in 2020!

Curious about the SmartHalo collection?