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Project update 12 of 21
It’s been almost seven weeks since the campaign has started, but now it is coming to an end. It’s been a great success, with the μArt having collected over $20K, a near 300% funding. I think it is superfluous to point out that since the funding goal was reached, production will happen, and all backers will get their units. There are only 3 days remaining, so anybody still considering getting a μArt, this is your last chance - at least at the current price. For other updates, how to help out, or even meet me in person, read on.
To save some time, I’ve started to proactively organize some aspects of the production as you already know, even though the campaign has not yet ended. The mould for the cases is already in the making, and I’m expecting to hear about it in about a week. Then I should be able to receive the first few cases to inspect and verify that everything’s fine before going into volume production with them. The cases are not the only thing I’ve kicked off however. I’ve ordered and payed for the isolator chips for the electronics too, as stocks on them have been getting low, and I wanted to secure the needed quantity before funding ends, otherwise I wasn’t sure there’d be enough of them. Now that that’s taken care of, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Organization of the cables has also started. As for the prototypes for the whole electronics with the recent change due to a buggy IC, I’m still waiting for the produced units, but I’m not expecting any real technical problems there. Also, because the cables were organized last week, these revised prototypes are probably the only thing that are kind of holding me up a bit now. I’ve also submitted revised patches to Linux for the GPIO pins of the FTDI chip, partially to incorporate review feedback, and partially to add support for a new kernel interface that allows atomic setting and reading of multiple GPIO pins. In fewer words, I’ve been active on multiple fronts.
While all the above things are running in the background, probably my most important task right now is to determine the exact quantities I need to order of each component, which is not the same quantity for everything. To do this I’m waiting for some replies from a couple of places, but these should be cleared up this coming week. For the electronics, when I have the new boards in my hands, I’ll test them for about a week before doing anything else with them. I need this time because I also want to test them during real use-cases and use them productively, beside just synthetic and artificial testing. Then if everything’s fine, I can target CE-certification, apparently I should be able to get a testing appointment just a week later (according to the testing lab itself). And the last step is mass production, of course. Cables have a lead time of 20 days, so I’m not really worried about those, assuming the quality is right, and we are also more than on time with the production of the enclosures.
There is one thing though you can do for me now. If you believe in the μArt, please spread the word, especially if you speak any foreign languages. It’d be cool if you could notify a magazine in that language or post to a forum (where it is allowed, be mindful of forum rules). Admittedly I’m having a little bit of a hard time reaching non-English speaking people. Most of my backers are from English- or German-speaking countries, and these are exactly the languages I posted in myself, which is probably not a coincidence. At the same time I only have 3 backers from Russia, and very often just one or two from many other countries around the world. This is telling me that I am not reaching people in those countries. Translating text into other languages is not the problem here. My friends, and quite often even Google Translate can do a fine job with translations. The problem is finding the right websites to post at. Without personally being able to read in those languages, and many of my friends not being engineers, it is very hard for us to find non-English portals that have a relevant technical community. So if you know any, it’d be really cool if you could post there ;).
If you are visiting Photokina this year, let me know. We could meet there on 28. September. I’ll even have some giveaway special-edition μArts as gifts. Yes, these are first-generation prototypes obviously as I haven’t received the newer ones myself yet, but they are very usable in practice, as the problems of the CP2102N are hard to hit in many use-cases. But more importantly, you can get to know me in person and ask any question, or, you know, we can just talk. You can also ask or tell me things using this magic button of course, but IMHO if you have the chance to do so in person, that is always better.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Thank you for believing in the μArt, for your pledges, for your encouraging words (I have received a lot of positive feedback during the campaign), and for making the μArt possible.