Here is an update about what the team has been actively working on lately: the SmartHalo new firmware, experiencing some bumps in the road to get the best anti-theft mount, a big scam alert and the fulfillment survey. Our product team is also launching an in-depth research to better understand what makes our backers cycle. We need your help answering a few questions, scroll down to find the form.
Lately, the focus of the team has been on the software that drives SmartHalo. Sure, our hardware is what makes SmartHalo visually appealing on your handlebar, but it’s the thousands of lines of code that truly bring life to your little bike companion.
The software behind SmartHalo can be divided into three main categories: the firmware, the mobile apps and the backend. Right now, the focus is on firmware!
Firmware is the code that drives the onboard electronics: think CPU, memory, touch sensors, display, LEDs, speakers, bluetooth chip, charging, and so on. We’re building an operating system that manages all these interconnections and makes it easy for a user to trigger features via touch inputs or our mobile app. Our “explain like I’m 5” version of it is that we’re taking electrical impulses (or ones and zeros), and having them do synchronized dancing until it actually creates light patterns, sounds and visuals that make sense to cyclists.
To handle the new features, we’ve built SmartHalo 2 with a more powerful CPU (yay!). The downside is that it requires us to rebuild the firmware that drives the hardware such as the Halo LEDs, the speaker, etc. It also makes our architecture more complex – it’s like going from MS-DOS to Windows (…hopefully we can think of better metaphors than 80’s tech in future updates). Obviously, this translates into more work, which is why firmware has been the main focus of our dev team in the past weeks.
In fact, we’ve even partnered with Novo, a product development firm based here in Quebec. Novo brings a deep expertise of embedded systems to SmartHalo 2. Working with our internal development team, they’ve helped us create a robust and scalable firmware architecture to ensure that SmartHalo not only does all the things you’ve come to expect, but can also be updated with new features periodically (just like we did with the original SmartHalo). We believe in incremental improvement, and we’re confident that our new firmware will help us bring more value to your SmartHalo month after month.
Speaking of all the functionality you’ve come to expect, we’ve spent a lot of time making sure that SmartHalo 2 is reverse-compatible. This means that all existing SmartHalo functionalities will work out of the box with SmartHalo 2 (with the help of the mobile app). For instance here’s SmartHalo 2 seamlessly connecting with our existing app:
The head-scratching case of manufacturing the new anti-theft mount
As we shared in our last update, the hardware parts of SmartHalo 2 are moving along at a good pace. This being said, some parts are taking a bit more time to perfect than anticipated, especially our anti-theft mount.
As a critical component, which we have completely redesigned to ensure ease of use as well as durability, we had to get it absolutely right with our manufacturing partners, hence the more attention and time we put into it. The timeline is tight and we hope this won’t push delivery back. As soon as we get a bit more clarity from our manufacturing partners, we will make sure to share definite timelines with you.
It’s been brought to our attention that fraudulent websites are trying to sell SmartHalo 2 at a discounted price. BEWARE! We’re the only ones selling SmartHalo 2 on our official website. We are trying to shut down this malicious practice as much as possible.
You can help people to not get scammed! Follow this link to find out about the procedure: https://www.smarthalo.bike/blog/scam-alert-fraudulent-smarthalo-2-seller/
To all of you who asked: our survey hasn’t been sent yet. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss it! The reason is that we were asked by some of you for branded add-ons. So we are currently searching, looking and testing some cool accessories to meet those needs. Don’t worry, you’ll get the survey in due time. 🙂
Qualitative research – What makes you cycle!
Our product team is constantly analyzing cyclists’ needs to create meaningful (and reasonable) development roadmaps for SmartHalo. With the success of the Kickstarter, we have a lot of newcomers to the SmartHalo community. So it would be a tremendous help if you could answer this multiple choice questionnaire and let us know a little bit about what kind of cyclist you are. Also, if you’re interested, it’s an opportunity to be selected as a beta tester for new upgrades. Thank you in advance!