Hi everybody. We’ve got some news to share with you. A lot has happened since the last update so let’s get caught up. When we left off we’d just talked with Jay. He was 60% done designing the camera board, had just finished designing the computer board, and had just placed the order for the prototypes. A few days later he was notified that the order was rejected because the vias (little holes that connect the different layers of the circuit board) needed to be 0.003" wide for our board but the company he typically uses could only make 0.005" holes.
Jay spent about 1.5-2 weeks seeing what could be done about it, but concluded that there were no design fixes, so we had to find a different company to fabricate the boards. With vias that small there are only a handful of companies in the U.S. that can do it and it’s very expensive ($3,200+ rather than about $250-$300). In the past, the only time Jay has had to deal with this issue was for aerospace or defense projects where money was no object, so this came as a bit of a shock. But that goes to show just how complex this little thing really is.
Because they were so expensive Jay spent some extra time to make sure everything was just right in hopes that he’d discover any possible errors before the board was ordered. We also decided to have this other circuit board manufacturer go ahead and place the more delicate chips on a few of the boards just to make sure there were no issues. Our reasoning was that if we messed something up with the boards, we were out $3,200, but if they messed something up, they’d have to fix it.
This past Tuesday we got our first shipment of blank circuit boards in, but late last week we came across a little snag. When Jay was sourcing components he noticed that the main memory chip we'd need was out of stock at all the major chip distributors. Luckily Jay was able to find find a compatible part that can be substituted in so the assembled boards should be in very soon. Jay should have more information about the timeline of that in the very near future.
We also want to make it known that although Jay has spent a couple hundred hours designing, checking, revising, and getting second opinions on this board, there is still a chance that there is an error somewhere and it won’t boot up when we give it power. Unfortunately that’s just part of the game and there is no way to avoid that chance. We all feel pretty confident that it will boot up just fine, but I wanted to share this information with you because it could set us back a couple weeks if that were to happen. If it boots up the first time, we’re in the clear and we’d probably be able to ship out around the 2nd or 3rd week of August, but if it doesn’t we’ll have to do some troubleshooting to find out what went wrong, fix it, and then try it again. If that’s the case we’re probably looking at the second week of September.
In other news, the camera board is finished and should be here any day now. There may be a few small revisions to this board to get all the components situated in the correct spots, but that should should be relatively easy. That's why we put them on two separate boards. The other board is the more expensive one and we don't want to have too many revisions with that one. Later, once we're in production, we may combine the two boards which should help reduce the cost a bit. The photo above has been blown up to help you see it, but in reality it's about the size of a postage stamp.
We also recently got connected with the Ennovation Center in Independence, MO and they've already been a tremendous help. We've been matched with an inTech Pro who is helping us develop a commercialization strategy that we'll use to get the Read 'n Style pen in more hands.
All of us here at Hidden Abilities are very appreciative of your continued support. Because of all of you, we've made a significant amount of progress since the Indiegogo project launched late last year and the finish line is within sight. We're glad to be able to share this journey with all of you and we look forward to finishing the project and shipping your products soon!