Hello fellow backers,
We have some news regarding production to share with you. As we mentioned in our last update, most electronic and plastic parts are ready to go to production and the software is moving along quite nicely. We even finalized the packaging which looks awesome! This being said, we are seriously feeling the impacts of the pandemic on the final validation steps before mass production. Whereas work amongst the teams here in Montreal is continuing smoothly, the final validation rounds with suppliers overseas are proving to be challenging.
Usually, during the last steps before mass production, we would’ve sent some of our team abroad to oversee pre-production. Obviously, this is impossible during these times – borders are closed, flights are grounded, and health concerns persist. We still call and chat with our partners in Shenzhen, but the truth is, nothing beats seeing and testing parts in person. With the need to ship components halfway around the world each time, cycles take longer:
- Step 1: Design specs are sent to the Contract Manufacturer (CM)
- Step 2: The CM then processes them and creates parts
- Step 3: The CM then ships parts to Montreal which takes longer than usual since there’s a backlog in parcel shipments.
- Step 4: We then validate and test these parts from a mechanical and design standpoint
- Step 5: We stay up late at night or get up early to have video conference calls to provide feedback (harder in video than in person!) and then provide updated specs based on our test results.
This cycle repeats until the product meets requirements. Several iterations are expected – getting plastics and PCBs to behave the way you want is always a challenge. The problem for us is that each round takes weeks longer than they usually would if we had some team members in China.
But still, we’ve made massive progress since the last update. Right now, all mechanical and electronic aspects of the product work as intended. We are now working on finalizing the diffusion of the top lens, applying textures to the outer shells and improving the USB port finish. These are the final steps of pre-production which is encouraging. The bad news is that with all these small delays in our iterative workflow, we won’t be able to ship in July. The new shipping date for SmartHalo 2 is September 2020.
As with any delay in tech, we totally understand if you’re bummed; we are too. This is why we share as much as possible of the production process with you guys so you get a sense of how this pandemic can affect timelines, especially for a small company like ours. As always, feel free to comment or ask questions in the comments section below.
A sneak peek at the packaging
In lighter news, we’re happy to share a first look at the SmartHalo 2 packaging. To reinforce the simplicity and minimalism of our device, we designed a slick box that is sturdier than the first generation’s packaging. We also pushed for a sustainable approach:
- It’s made from a mix of recycled paper and sustainably sourced pulp.
- We use water soluble glue for better recycling.
- All inks are soy-based which is gentler for the environment.
As always, thank you for your support.
-The SmartHalo team <3
PS: As mentioned in previous updates, the shipping survey will be sent out a few weeks before shipping. You will be able to modify your original shipping address if necessary and also to buy extra units at a discounted price at that moment.