An emotiv update

Its getting close now!  Will you be a winner?

October Update

Dear Backers,

It has been an incredibly busy time for us juggling multiple aspects of production and working through a myriad of challenges to get Insights to you as soon as we can.  Rest assured, our entire team has been working diligently, pulling all nighters, working weekends and holidays to get quality units manufactured.  Delivering product is our top priority. We are rapidly approaching the pointy end of our production process!

We expect to start shipping initial units in December although we’re doing everything we can to reel in the dates. We’re very excited to have finalized our BOM (bill of materials) for the Insight and have started procurement of parts to build the 5000 Kickstater Backer units over the upcoming months.

Production tooling and choice of materials

Our production tool for the Pz arm has now undergone final polish and we have produced real parts in Polypropylene and Hytrel. The cosmetic quality of Hytrel is extremely good and the material is even softer than polypropylene, which will make the Insight headset even more comfortable for long term wear. The Hytrel material has another harder grade which we can use for the headband, where a little more retaining force is required to keep the headset in place. Initially we will test making all of the parts from the softer Hytrel grade.

Polished hytrel Pz arm
Polished hytrel Pz arm

The body and remaining parts will be made from polycarbonate (PC), a very tough and durable material (bullet-proof, in fact). Our suppliers have been able to provide an exact colour match between Hytrel and PC so the Insight will look beautiful!

Here are some images of the Hytrel parts. With fully loaded flexible PCBs we still achieve 100% yield on the electronics after injection molding, with no sign of splitting or other mechanical consequences from the double-shot process.

Production quality hytrel Pz arms
Production quality hytrel Pz arms
Production quality hytrel Pz arms
Production quality hytrel Pz arms

We’ve released and ordered full manufacturing tooling for all remaining parts (except two, see below). We are working through some details related to improving manufacturability and production yield and expect to start building the remaining tools commencing at the end of next week. Our vendor estimates it will take no more than 6 weeks to produce the tools to T1 standard, and we will soon be in a position to commence our pilot build for some of the early backers entitled to the limited First Edition Insights. Subsequent reward tiers will be processed in order after the tools are polished and our production lines are brought up to speed.

We are in the midst of producing final manufacturing files for all of our flexible PCBs for the sensor and reference arms, and have selected a vendor who can supply them directly to our injection molding facility fully loaded with components and fully tested.

Headband socket and electrical connectors

We have decided to split off the production of two critical components from our main injection molding tasks. Successful operation of the unit depends on the integrity of the electronic connection to the removable headband, and also on the ability of the sensor tip connectors to be properly retained and to fit snugly on the end of each arm. Consequently we have approached a specialist company to manufacture the headband sockets and electrical contacts. The vendor has a great deal of experience in manufacturing complex overmolded electrical connectors and has expertise in electroplating, contact materials and manufacturing tolerances required to maintain highly reliable connections over several year and make/break cycles.

The vendor has recommended a change in materials and we are finalising the price and lead time for supply of those parts in trial and production quantities. At the time of this report we have not received a final timing commitment from the vendor. We don’t currently believe this decision will cause a further delay, but there is still a risk in the unspecified timing.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress on this front.

First Edition Production run and subsequent schedule

We currently expect to commence manufacturing in 6-8 weeks time (around November 28-December 5) allowing for some contingencies.  We will continue to provide updates on scheduling as information comes to hand.

Our Special First Edition Production run will consist of 200 units, covering the First Edition Backer reward tiers and some spare units for regulatory testing, demonstration units and destructive testing.

We are already acquiring long lead parts for the entire build of reward units, which will commence roll-out over the subsequent weeks, in order of initial pledges. The pilot build will allow us to shake out the manufacturing process and to automate the testing procedures and production jigs that will enable us to mass produce the Insight units.

Please complete the questionnaire to let us know which Insight colour you want (Classic White or Stealth Black) – we need this information now to commence the procurement of the relevant colours of plastics.

Sensor manufacturing facility

We are very pleased to announce that we have been successful in acquiring a manufacturing site license at our chosen location in Vietnam, despite experiencing some unexpected delays in the process.  We have also completed the design of the facility and will commence building the factory after the plans are approved by the facility management. We have placed orders for all of the chemicals and equipment and we expect to hit the ground running with our sensor facility at around the time our injection molding tools are completed.

Regulatory testing

EMOTIV is in the process of releasing the EPOC+ to the market – a significantly revised and upgraded EPOC model. We have used the EPOC+ design process as a testbed for many of the features of Insight. In particular, we have used the same wireless design, microprocessor, motion sensor, USB connectivity chip and similar analogue circuits and firmware protocols.

We are pleased to announce that EPOC+ recently passed its final FCC and IEC radio ratings and has been submitted for UL testing and CE assessment. The data gathered during this exercise have been applied directly to the design of Insight and we are very excited that EPOC+ passed all tests easily, which will speed the process immeasurably for Insight.

Extender

We have now tested the Extender circuit in a distributed framework to determine the level of isolation required to prevent coupled noise signals from mains-powered PCs from contaminating the EEG signals. We have selected the major components and we will now commence the industrial design phase where we convert the designs into a product. This will be an exciting exercise where we try to match the design cues and quality of the Insight with the Extender.

The following photograph shows the USB isolation board and an isolated 5V power supply which will be shrunk into a credit-card sized board.

Extender electronics
Extender electronics

It has been a packed schedule and we thank you for your ongoing support. We can’t wait to get Insights in your hands!  

Tan, Geoff & the Emotiv Team