May the 4th Be With You!
HOWDY PONGSTARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐!! How are all my wonderful friends doing? Summer is around the corner and I am excited!
Okay so I have no idea how I snoozed on Twitter so hard…I’ve had an account since 09 but just this week realized how powerful Twitter is. (I am a Elon fan, but he had nothing to do with this! 😁) Click this link to tweet a 💡🏓 at me!
ICYMI: I was recently in West Des Moines, Iowa for a pitch competition — I won $2000 for pitching and I met Daymond John from Shark Tank! I told him “I’ll see you on Shark Tank soon!” lol 😎 You can catch a portion of my pitch (I played against one of the judges!) and other Light Pong updates in our latest VLOG!
FYI I’m going to be pitching at a Investor Pitch Dinner in Raleigh on May 12 and at Summerfest in Milwaukee on June 30!
Things are still on track for delivery September onwards. Below I’ve included a graphical timeline showcasing where we’re at.
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 the product in a factory.
In the last update, I mentioned that we were one iteration away from the final design…BOY WAS I WRONG. We ended up making way more handle iterations than we expected and we’re still not done LOL. Most of the tweaks are sizing-related. Ergonomically, we need the handles to be small; but the circuit board designer need as much room as he can get to make all the parts fit on the board. It’s a dance!
We received our first CNC machined handle prototypes from our manufacturers in China. CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing process that typically employs computerized controls and machine tools to remove layers of material from a stock piece — known as the blank or workpiece — and produces a custom-designed part. It was a surreal experience because of how legitimate it makes our project. All the handles we’ve had so far have been 3D printed and that looks maker-ey!
This also gave us our first chance to test how the buttons feel and the speakers sound. Sound is an important aspect of Light Pong, so we’ve decided to get a better speaker and also build an acoustic chamber into the handles to make it sound as crisp as possible.
In my previous update, I mentioned that Graham was working on implementing the Unit Communications System. Well, it works! The Companion App prototype is now communicating with our test units, and will soon be communicating with the dev kit.
Annoyingly, we’ve run out of memory on the microchip with our preliminary firmware and have deemed it necessary to upgrade to a module with more PSRAM in it. This is going to increase our materials cost by a couple of cents, which I’m personally not happy about, but it is what it is.
We had two awesome guys from Pakistan working with us on the firmware. We’re near the finish line on the firmware side — sweet! The bitter part is that we’ve rolled the guys from Pakistan off the project and I miss working with them — thanks Aqib and Ahsan!
Companion App Development
We have a new frontend developer on our Companion App team. His name is Shanjai, he lives in Sri Lanka and happens to be the brother of our other team member, Raj! Since hopping aboard a couple of weeks ago, Shanjai has been tearing through implementing Don’s mid fidelity and high fidelity prototype designs into a working app.
Simultaneously, our backend developer Giuseppe has completed the Marketplace Backend and has moved on to the Unit Management Service!
Probably the coolest update on this topic is that we made our first major component order — 10,000 accelerometers! While we’re not ready to order all the other parts just yet, accelerometers are super hard to source because of the chip shortage. We snagged them as soon as we could! The Light Pong Bill of Materials is going to comprise of about 30 unique parts, so this is the first of many!
We’re now laying out our circuit on our PCB, purchasing small order quantities of our final components to build sample boards to run electrical tests.
That’s all folks! What questions do you have?! If none, leave me a 💡🏓 emojis in the comments so I know you’re here!!!