Project update 11 of 12
As you have likely noticed, things often don’t go as planned. In our previous update, as well as an update before this, we planned that new review sets would be shipped to reviewers and developers in April, and first batch would be shipped to backers somewhere mid-summer. It’s end of July and none of this has happened yet; so let’s break down why, what has been done, and what are the next steps in fulfilling the SlimeVR campaign.
In November 2022. I’m answering the main question all of you have: all orders are pushed back to November, there won’t be an early wave anymore. I will explain why down below. We are doing our best to make it earlier, but November is a safe bet.
Here are some delays that we’ve faced and how we’re dealing with them:
The most significant hurdle we experienced during the recent months was because of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Due to it, we couldn’t stay in Estonia where we lived and worked on SlimeVR. We found a new welcoming place in the Netherlands, but while moving, our productivity was very low, and work with hardware was almost impossible.
Thankfully, the move is almost over and we’re getting back on track, but this is the main reason why review units were not sent out yet. Reasons below are why they won’t be sent out for a little bit longer.
As you know, chip shortages have been plaguing the world, and our situation is not an exception. While we’ve received at this moment 5000 of BNO085 IMU chips from CEVA, this is no where near what is required to fulfill this campaign (32000!), without even mentioning post-campaign sales and future orders. The reasons for chip shortages are complex, but in this case, CEVA can’t get the chips they need from Bosch in the required quantities, so they can’t ship them to us.
This is obviously not ideal, so they’ve been working on a solution that they announced recently: CEVA’s new sensor hub FSP201. It’s a new chip by CEVA that works alongside an IMU providing top-notch sensor fusion (CEVA’s magic). It is made to work with multiple different IMU, including one that is widely available - LSM6DSR by STMicroelectronics. Together FSP201 and LSM6DSR should perform on par with BNO085 that we used before, but will be way more available in needed quanities. CEVA is ready to provide us with both chips as soon as FSP201 is finalized.
That means, SlimeVR is likely moving to a new IMU! Of course, if it performs as well as BNO085. We received engineering samples a few days ago and we are currently trying to make them work and test them out. We will post the next update as soon as we finish this process. Since these are engineering samples, we will not post pictures, and we will wait for the final version before we finalize our decision on moving to them. This should take couple more weeks, so please bear with us. We will be back with the news soon!
Before shipping even any review sets, we planned a lot of changes to SlimeVR software. As mentioned before, SlimeVR works well, but it wasn’t user-friendly and it was lacking some planned features. Biggest of these we’ve been working on are new GUI, easier setup, and easier calibration. Most of it is still in progress, and we’ll talk about the work that has been done so far in the next update. We plan to finish the most important parts by the end of August. If you want a sneak-peek of the new GUI, here’s early usage video:
You can also check #gui channel of our Discord Server where we actively post progress and discuss the direction of where this should go.
Because of these delays and chip changes, we decided not to ship the early batch to early backers. Because currently all chips are planned to be delivered together, we don’t plan to make multiple batches of SlimeVR (for current orders), all of them will be manufactured together (after test runs, of course).
There have been a lot of new and exciting things: software, hardware, firmware and even things like box design improved a lot since the last time, but we will share this in the next update.
Next update will be after we test FSP201 chips. As usual, you can find weekly updates, a welcoming community and information on DIY and what is going on in the project in our Discord Server. Come say hi! :3
See ya soon, hopefully really soon!
Glory to Ukraine.