April Fools Day is coming! Share your prank ideas :)
Hello hello Pongsters! How are you all? Wow, I totally did not realize it’s been more than a month since my last update. Apologize for the radio silence my friends…it’s been busy here! That said, Matt (or Habib Junior as I like to endearingly call him!) posts of whole lot of behind-the-scenes content on our social media. I encourage you to follow us on Instagram, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up!
Light Pong in Spain
Thanks to an export grant we received from the State of Illinois, Matt and I got to go to Spain to showcase Light Pong at a tradeshow. The event was amazing, we made a ton of great connections, and I also pitched Light Pong at the open mic! Here’s a recap video we created:
Things are still on track for delivery September onwards. Below I’ve included a graphical timeline showcasing where we’re at. Since April 1st is just a few days away, please share some fun prank ideas in the comments below, I will share videos on our social! :)
To build shared context, the product development phase primarily comprises of four main activities:
- Hardware Development — comprised of electronic (internal) and mechanical (external) design.
- Firmware Development — comprised of writing low level software to run the electronic circuit we are designing, and the Operating System.
- Companion App Development — comprised of designing and programming the companion app.
- Manufacturing (I missed this one last time!) — comprised of producing this the product in a factory.
There’s been a ton of progress on the controller side. I think we’re (hopefully) one more iteration away from the final design (lp_handle-design_final_v3_final.pdf lol). We’ve finalized button placement, and have fine tuned the ergonomics to make sure the controller works with as many hand sizes as possible. Now we’re just doing an aesthetic pass and that should be it.
Once the design is finalized, we’re going to apply for a design patent and then we’ll finally be able to show you guys!
The firmware team has finished the Draw Module (code that lets you ‘draw’ to the Light Strip) and revised the Input Module (code that lets you read button inputs) and is currently tackling the audio system. We have multichannel audio prototyped and unpolished, but now our firmware developers, Aqib & Ahsan, are making it more polished and up to our internal spec. With multichannel audio, we’d be able to play multiple sounds simultaneously, sounds like background music and sound effects. Simple stuff but needs to be done!
Graham is going through a mini sprint writing system-level code for various small missing parts of the firmware, such as interacting with the ESP32’s ‘eFuses’ to read information burnt in at the factory. This is actually really fascinating: the ESP32 has a number of ‘eFuses’ which can store system and user parameters. Each eFuse is a one-bit field which can be programmed to 1 after which it cannot be reverted back to 0, it’s permanent. This essentially means we will be “burning in” information like hardware model numbers, serial numbers, authentication keys, and more into these eFuses.
We’re also completed an internal system that provides the hardware model information and state to the rest of unit, a system that handles installing, uninstalling, and executing games on Light Pong, a command line tool to interface with the previously mentioned system, and a python module to manage save file data.
The app development team has created the API for uploading, downloading, and managing games, and is currently working heavily on documentation & setting up a concrete software testing environment before continuing! Giuseppe is currently working on the marketplace backend — which will eventually allow users to search through and obtain published games. Raj has taken a step back from the backend and getting the frontend caught up. We’ve been waiting to pursue frontend until Don’s designs were more solidified — and it’s almost there!
Don has been user testing the companion app with many of you guys! (Shout out to those who’ve participated so far!).It’s been nice to speak to some of you guys and show you app updates; if you’re someone who participated and are reading this, I would appreciate if you shared some of your sentiments /insights in the comments below!
Sometime soon there will be a convergence between teams. Currently, Graham is implementing the Unit Communications System into firmware which we spec’d out however many months ago. At the same time, Raj is prototyping local network communications in our app. Once both have been implemented, we will be implementing and testing interactions between the Companion App and the Unit — important stuff. This effort will require both teams to communicate more closely, which has not needed to happen up to this point.
Thanks all for reading this update! Again, if you’d made it this far — post your April Fools Day prank ideas!! :) And of course, if you have any questions or just want to say hi, drop a line in the comments below.
— Aaqib & the Light Pong team.