Mindset Update - January 2019
Happy 2019! January was a heads-down work kind of month, so this update will be short. Enjoy!
Jacob Flood, February 13, 2019
Happy 2019! We’ve been off to a great start, working towards getting our tooling ready and our DV batch manufactured.
Since we’re mid-milestone (prepping for DV batch), January was a heads-down-working kind of month. This update will be much shorter than usual, as last month was spent preparing for manufacturing our next batch of engineering units. In this update, we’ll share a few decisions we have made recently to accelerate the schedule and ship as soon as possible, as well providing a deeper timeline about the steps to getting there.
January was an in-between month for us, where we focused on prepping the supplies and requirements for our next prototypes. On the hardware side, we managed to send in the purchase order for our prototypes before Chinese New Year, which keeps us on schedule to receive the prototypes in early march, and the DV batch end of march. These prototypes will enable us to validate full-functionality, to tune the ANC in Taiwan, and to test the software UX.
On software, we’re bringing on more help on neuro-adaptive music composition and user experience design. Together, this new expertise will enable us to take a new look at the software app and ensure that the experience is designed from the ground up to add tangible value, while integrating seamlessly into your life. We’ll share app images as we work through the next months of design and testing.
We detailed our timeline more thoroughly below. We’re still on schedule to produce our DV batch in March, with PV and shipping shortly after.
February 4thwas Mindset’s 3rdbirthday! We’re incredibly humbled, and excited by all the next steps on the horizon. Thank you again for all of your support, and for making Mindset possible!
Currently, our most important goal is finishing the tooling process. This step will allow us to produce the DV batch in March.
The tooling process is coming along nicely. Having just finished Chinese New Year – during which our factory shuts down to celebrate – we are eager to get back into the production process. For us, January consisted mostly of formalizing the requirements for the tooling, negotiating with our factory, and requesting formal quotes for the engineering of the moulds.
Following some discussions with our manufacturer, we recently decided to parallelize the tooling development with the assembly of four additional prototypes, using low-volume manufacturing processes (like CNC). This decision allows us to move directly to final tooling moulds for the DV batch right away, as opposed to developing test-tools first as was initially planned. If there are no issues with this next prototype, the decision to skip the test-tools will save us several weeks post-DV.
As a result, four units will be produced in February to validate the tooling intentions. These units will serve several purposes:
Validating the mechanical assembly and reliability (following up on small tweaks from the previous batch in December)
Fine tuning the ANC with our partners in Taiwan (the final stage takes place on DV)
Validating the all-function specification for the product (BT, ANC, EEG, Audio)
Helping software team run UX tests
Of these functions, the most important is to validate that all core functions are behaving as expected – this acts as a go/no-go gauge for triggering the manufacturing runs. As we mentioned in our year-end summary, the previous prototype batch was functionally “good enough”, but required some very minor mechanical adjustments for assembly and fit. This next prototype will give us the green-light to manufacture the rest of the tooling, having now implemented these changes.
The beginning of January was a bit crazy, as we worked hard to get everything ready to send the manufacturing purchase orders in time to process before the Chinese New Year. This was a success – having sent in the order for manufacturing before the holiday, our factory will be ready to make the units first thing when they get back. This kind of logistical timing, while dull on paper, goes a long way towards shortening lead times, which can dangerously turn a 3-week prototype batch into a 2-month commitment.
We won’t spend 2000 words detailing the subtleties of these negotiations – rather, we’ll simply say that January was a productive month, and keeps us on schedule for our DV batch in March.
On the software size, we’ve been using the Mindset app internally for the past couple months. With each new release, we’re getting increasingly excited about the potential for this new technology.
Over January, while the software team focused on finishing the cloud syncing and other backend architecture, Jacob spent time seeking out new partners to help bring the app experience together: adaptive music composers, and a UX designer.
As we mentioned in a previous update, until recently our priority on software has been primarily the data science: using machine learning to process the EEG data, and recognize reliable indicators of concentration. Having now shifted our priority to the UX, our goal is to bring the same level of diligence we put into the rest of our product to the user interaction and interface. By leveraging the past 3 years of insights and experiments, we feel very confident in our ability to produce a cohesive, value-add flow that will become a core part of your day to day routines.
Over the past weeks, we found some incredible partners. We’re going to be spending the next two months doing a deep dive into the entire user journey: from the initial onboarding, to the day-to-day interactions. Our goal is to build an experience that brings the neuro-adaptive music to life in a way that fulfils our promise of improving concentration, while remaining true to our vision of building technology that seamlessly integrates into daily life.
To maximize this design process, we’ll need to conduct interviews with some of our backers to get a more complete sense of your needs and daily workflow. If you’re interested in being part of our user discovery interviews, please send an email to email@example.com! We’ll also be reaching out to any beta testers and our Facebook community, to make sure all of your voices get heard.
We’ll be sure to share some pictures as the process unrolls!
For additional clarity, we’ve delineated the schedule for the upcoming weeks below. This reflects what we’ve mentioned for the past couple updates, written out a little more clearly:
January: Prepare design and materials for test units, and negotiate with factory (DONE)
February (first half): Chinese New Year (factories are closed). We’re currently producing the PCB revisions in Canada and testing them. (IN PROGRESS)
February (second half): Preparation of materials for 4 test units, and testing the subassemblies.
Beginning of March:Assembly and validation of 4 test units. Once satisfied, we’ll order the remainder of the tooling.
End of March: Receive the tooling, and manufacture DV batch.
Beginning of April:Validate and tune DV batch, and send some for certification.
As of now, all the components and parts for the engineering prototypes have been ordered or are in the process of being manufactured. Because of the Chinese New Year, lead-times are longer than usual – the electronics take up to 35 working days to be delivered. This is understandable and was factored into our schedule prior.
Following the assembly of the test units – if no major issues arise – we will send the order for the rest of the tooling. This will take roughly 1 month to manufacture. Using the tooling, we will then manufacture our first mass production batch of units, which we’ve been referring to as Design Validation (DV). Those will be compared against the engineering units to ensure similar performance.
Some of the DV units will be sent for safety certifications to obtain the required certification marks, allowing us to import the product into various countries. The certification process will take a few weeks, performed in parallel to the continued development of the manufacturing. Following this, we move to the PV batch – which includes beta units to be shipped – and later to our first mass production order. Over the next updates, we will be providing more visibility into those steps.
Until then, we hope you have had happy holidays and wish you the best for the year to come. Happy 2019 from the Mindset team!
On February 4th, we celebrated Mindset’s 3-year anniversary!
When we first started Mindset, our advisors were very clear: building a hardware company is incredibly difficult, and not to be taken lightly. Over the 3 years of R&D, prototyping, and now production, we’ve seen that manifest in ways we never could have predicted.
What’s kept us motivated through it all has been an unwavering conviction that what we’re building truly deserves to exist. We live in a world where attention is the new currency, and billion-dollar industries exist to steal our attention away. We feel a deep responsibility to create tools that enable people to master their focus, and thrive in the modern world.
We believe that with the right mindset, human potential is nearly limitless. Our mission is to help people cultivate that mindset and accelerate towards their potential.
At the root of this conviction is you, our backers. Your support has been the backbone of our motivation, through the long days and nights that have led up to this point. We’re incredibly excited to get you your headphones, so you too can experience the power of neurotech.
Thank you again for all of your support, and for helping make Mindset possible.
As always, please post any comments or questions below, and we’ll be happy to continue the conversation!
As a reminder, if you’re interested in being part of our user research calls, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance for your support in making Mindset as great as it can be!
Lots of love,
- The Mindset Team