We are excited to be able to show off some new SPUD samples this week, including a first look at SPUD Titanium! This update also includes the latest progress on the optics, status updates on production prep, another SPUD demo video showing a DSLR camera setup, and a new SPUD / Luminate video in which Alex really owns the spotlight!
We have continued to focus on the front lens as the main component bottlenecking production, and our supplier has made a number of improvements to the lens manufacturing process. To give you an idea of the progress they have made over the last few months, they have gone from 100's of microns of error down to 60 microns of error, and we need to consistently be at 30 microns of error or less. It's getting very tough to make additional improvements, since the lenses need to be very precise to compensate for the projection engine variability (1 micron = 0.00004 inches!). One option that we may be able to use in the short-term is to diamond-turn (precisely cut) the lenses after they are molded to get down to that 30 micron level, and we're exploring that now. This option would be significantly more expensive and not a long-term solution, but it would help us get the initial batch(es) shipped out sooner.
In other words, we are now pursuing a path forward that includes a more expensive short-term solution to get these initial batches shipped out, and we will continue working on a long-term solution to keep things sustainable moving forward.
Our ship date continues to be driven by how long it takes to build up 2000 front lenses that meet our quality requirements. If we confirm that diamond-turning the lenses is a viable option for this first production batch, the initial samples should give us an idea of the time required to build up the quantity we need. We hope to be able to set a target date at that time.
Shroud production is underway, with the final fabric already shipped out.
We built up the first Titanium sample, and all parts have been validated except for the updated SPUD cover.
Cover with strap production is in the final sample stage. Production will start once we verify the sample.
Our supplier started screen production a couple weeks ago but discovered an issue with the initial samples that was traced back to the materials used. We are in the process of understanding the root cause of this issue and restarting screen production.
We finalized and validated the production arms and are currently finalizing the mold.
We finalized packaging, which is boring, but also important.
For those of you that chose Titanium as your SPUD color, we finally have some Titanium samples to show you! We have previously shown some Titanium components, but this was the first time we got to see the fully-built product. We really like the new look! Note that the final version of the Titanium shroud will have the Arovia logo on the back like its Black counterpart.
In this week’s demo, we show a photography use case: SPUD directly connected to a DSLR camera!
Finally, in the coming weeks we will need to start finalizing your shipping info. That means we need final color choices locked down (for those of you that have yet to choose your SPUD color, you should have already received an email from us), and we need all address updates to be made as soon as possible. We want to make sure you get the right SPUD at the right place!
As always, thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to sending you your SPUD!
- George, Justin, Leonard, Alex