Hello Kickstarter-ers! I hope that 2022 is off to a great start. Sorry that it’s taken more than the usual amount of time to send out this update…the holidays threw my writing schedule off a little bit. But hey, happy new year!
Before I go too deep into the today’s update, I wanted to ask if our community has any angel investors? If so, please get in touch with me.
As always, since the last update, we’ve put out two new VLOGS (If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss out!). Here’s the very latest one:
Light Pong v8.0.0 (Dev Kit 1)
Recently, Kyle finished up validating the next iteration of our final power circuitry and has produced the first Light Pong Developer Kit! This is one of the first new Light Pong units that we’ve made since the Kickstarter finished. It includes our final MCU selection: the ESP32. It also includes a bunch of more exciting stuff that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet! On the note of dev kits — our original intention with these was to create hardware that is AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to our final hardware, so that the Firmware Team can start working on code relating to power related functionality. Since finalizing and validating this first dev kit though, we’ve already discovered areas of our circuit design that need some iteration so… Dev Kit 2 will need to be some time in the future. Until then, we’ll just have to welcome Dev Kit 1 with open arms!
The Firmware Team has found a decent pace since our last Kickstarter update. Last update we mentioned that we are going to base our firmware off of MicroPython. We’ve stuck with this, and since then the Firmware Team has been taking our prototype python code and translating it into C code. This is a really important part of Light Pong’s firmware development. Our plan is to write the important parts of our firmware in C (which runs FAST in comparison to Python) and then expose those important bits via Light Pong Python. Basically, developers will be able to tell Light Pong to display some stuff on the Light Strip, and all of the complexities behind making that happen smoothly will be taken care of automatically and quickly!
Graham recently finished drafting and documenting the network protocol that Light Pong will use to communicate between itself and other devices (such as the Companion App, or our backend services)! Not much to say here other than this is in progress. (For the devs out there — we’re building this using Google’s Protocol Buffers and nanoPB!)
Giuseppe and Raj, two members of our Backend Team, have been hard at work designing and iterating on the data models for our databases. On top of this, Giuseppe is working on our User / Account service — and Raj is diving into learning more about MQTT (for communicating between Light Pong units and the backend).
Donovan has been designing the companion app. He’s completed the lo-fi prototypes — basically sketches that outline where all the buttons and controls are placed. Now he’s user testing his lo-fi designs by asking potential users such as “how would you adjust the volume?” and “how would you connect multiple devices?”, observing how they go about doing it. Using this observation he is able to tell if he is aligned with users and if the app is easy for them to use. People have different intuition when it comes to navigating apps, and everyone wants to do things differently; our goal is to design something that is easy for everyone.
We’re halting handle iteration for now. We have iterated on our current design’s angles and ergonomics to a point where we are semi-comfortable. Sam & Franklin, our manufacturing partners, are waiting on us to settle on some general controller dimensions so they can figure out how to fit all of the electronic components inside. We’ve decided that the controller designs are at a good pausing point — and once we know that our current components will actually fit inside it, then we will pick back up on ergonomic iteration in order to really fine tune the feel of Light Pong’s controllers.
In Case You Missed It
Matt created a really fun recap video featuring some of the highlights from Light Pong 2021. It features some of our favorite moments, in 15 seconds!
As always, please share your thoughts and ideas and feedback and general things with me. (too many ands, I know haha)
— Aaqib & the Light Pong team.