Hello SPUD Backers!
We are grateful for your continued support! The SPUD Engineering Validation Test (EVT) is complete. We learned a great deal over the last month, and while we did hit a couple of bumps along the way, overall the results have been very positive! The results are summarized below, including the high level EVT results, and SPUD chassis pics, and the remaining manufacturing schedule.
Manufacturing Update / EVT Results
The EVT was focused primarily on the SPUD chassis and specifications across a variety of test conditions. For the first time, the units were built to include all final shipping features, including USB-C power/charging, battery LED indicators, built-in stereo speakers, volume control buttons, on-screen volume level indicator, brightness dial, and tripod mount. Here’s a high-level summary of how the units performed:
- System Power, minimum brightness: PASS
- DLP Voltage, minimum brightness: PASS
- System Power, maximum brightness: PASS
- DLP Voltage, maximum brightness: PASS
- USB-C Power input: PASS
- USB 5V output: PASS
- Battery power: PASS
- Battery indicators: PASS
- Speaker voltage: PASS
- Volume on-screen display: PASS
- 8-hour temperature monitoring, LEDs: PASS
- 8-hour temperature monitoring, DLP: PASS
- Fan voltage: PASS
- Fan speed: PASS
In other words, the SPUD units passed all required EVT functional tests! We couldn’t have asked for better results, and we’re very excited to start the next build of the complete SPUD system. Check out the pictures below!
After reviewing the EVT results, we have unfortunately run into a couple of issues that will impact schedule. These include:
Production mold delay: We made some changes to the final mold due the EVT results; specifically we updated the vent and focus-wheel locations, and we made design changes to the mount of the custom optics and the brightness dial. As we shared in the last update, the purpose of EVT is to catch changes, like these, that we need to make before going forward with the final production molds. The change puts our production on hold until we receive the final molds, which impacts the schedule by ~3.5 weeks.
- Compliance certifications: SPUD is made up of a LOT of different types of materials relative to most other products being mass manufactured, including the retractable arms, fabric shroud, custom optics, collapsible screen, protective cover, plastic chassis, and electronics. Each of these components has its own unique certification requirements, and the complete SPUD system must also be certified. Our original schedule was based on the more “standard” type of product our manufacturer has built in the past, which did not capture the additional complexity of the different types of SPUD components that we encountered when we started to engage the certification labs. The additional time needed for compliance is ~3 weeks.
The good news here is that the delay was not caused by a fundamental issue with our design, and once we receive the molds we can immediately move forward with the DVT/PVT manufacturing phase. See the image below for an updated timeline from our manufacturer for expected shipment (click the image for a more readable version). Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or need any clarification! We are going to continue to be transparent, with increased updates as we complete DVT/PVT and move towards mass production and getting you your SPUD. We are as excited as ever for you to be one of the first people to ever have a collapsible display!
We have also made a small schedule change to our rollout strategy to better streamline the release process and guard against potential risks. This change will help to protect our schedule from further slips by allowing us to receive some initial feedback sooner. We will be kicking off early SPUD backer testing, where we will select ~30 backers to receive their SPUDs in early September. These users will agree to:
- Meet with us BEFORE opening the SPUD package and allow us to film the unboxing process.
- Meet with us again after one week of use, and share their experience so we can integrate the feedback.
These 30 backers are the final “gate” in our manufacturing process… We will only move forward with final production if they are happy with their SPUD. By running these customer tests earlier than originally planned, we’ll have more time to make small changes based on feedback. We will be reaching out to backers soon based on location (we would like to be close enough to meet in person).
Summary of Schedule Changes:
- Initial 30 "test" orders target: September 4, 2017
- Updated ship target: October 24, 2017 (plus shipping time to reach you)
Price Increase for New Pre-Orders
Finally, as we approach our release date, we are quickly running out of the limited supply of our initial build quantity of 2000 with 1900 SPUDs pre-ordered (including yours). We will be increasing the pre-order price from $399 to $449 starting on Tuesday, August 1st, meaning there’s about 1 week left to get the 20% discount. If you know someone that would love to grab one of the few remaining $399 discounts, tell them that now is the time to pre-order! (http://www.arovia.io/preorder/spud-spontaneous-pop-up-display)
Getting to this final version of the hardware has been such an amazing journey, and your support made it possible! Every day we get closer to sending you your SPUD, and successfully passing the EVT milestone puts us on the home stretch. We are more determined than ever to finalize and release SPUD. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of initial supporters… Thank you backers!!!
Alex, George, Justin