Hello Light Ponger-ers!
Before I get into today’s update (ICYMI: here’s a link to our previous update!), I want to say how much I dread calling you all “Light Pong-ers”. I really don’t like that term, but I also can’t think of any alternative names. 😞 Send suggestions! Annnnnyywhoooo, now that I’ve put that out into the ether, let’s dive into today’s update.
As I mentioned in our last update, we’re trying to increase transparency and engagement with you all. I’m happy to share our first of our weekly vlog series with you below! We’ll be providing a peek into the day-to-day life of our team; beginning post-Kickstarter and going all the way until the final shipment and release of the product. What its really like for a startup to try and launch a new product!
Tell us what sorts of things you’d like to see in the comments and of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the series!
I’m happy to confirm that that we received the funds from Kickstarter last week (they took nearly 8% off the top! 😠), and we’ve started deploying the capital already. Last Monday, we onboarded a bunch of new team members to help build different pieces of the Light Pong puzzle including the app, developer portal, parts of firmware, and more. Much of the team is remote and we rely heavily on tools like Jira, Confluence, and Smartsheet to ensure that everyone is on the same page. We’ve started using a new communication tool called Gather as our virtual office space. It uses avatars and webcams to simulate the feeling of being a real office. Our team logs into Gather at the beginning of their work day and hangs out there throughout, bringing us all a little bit closer. Here’s what our virtual office looks like:
The software team has changed the most since my last update because that’s what most of our new team members have been brought on to help with. Prior to bringing them onboard, we created a ton of documentation detailing our vision as clearly as possible, and that’s really helping with onboarding.
We’ve started prototyping system level interfaces for Light Pong, including things like the home screen, error screen, charging notifications, and audio on/off notifications.
We’re almost there! I know which chip we’re going with, but there’s still a little bit of validation left, and I want to be 100% sure before I share that with you all…it’s a big decision!
As of right now, it takes about 30 man hours to create each prototype. You know all those new people that we just added to the team? They all need prototypes, and they need them as soon as possible. To help remove this roadblock, we’ve started to produce dev kits. The dev kits are purely functional and look nothing like the final product. They contain no handles and no tube. Instead, we’re simply laying out all the components on a board so that they’re easier to work with and swap out as required. (We got this idea from Apple! Apparently they did the same thing with the early iPhone!). Here’s a peek into ours:
We received a ton of feedback on the new handles that I shared in the last update, and realized that most of you want us to go back to a more simplistic, Wii Nunchuck-inspired controller. So we’re doing that!
Our mechanical engineer, David, already sent us an updated controller design, and we used our fancy new 3D printer to print it out. We already provided some feedback on the new design, and now he’s making updates. 3D printing is amazing btw! It’s reduced our feedback loop significantly, while also allowing us to test many more things that we were able to before. Can’t believe it took us so long to get one!
Are you happy with this decision to go back to the design of the old handles? Let me know!
— Aaqib & the Light Pong Team