Bozeman Build Report - Learnings & Plan
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Monday last week, Mandy, Trevor and I (Brock) met in Bozeman MT with the goal to build our first units of the BruxRelief device. This was the first time we've all come together, design, hardware, app and operations. I was extremely hopeful that all pieces were in place to build our first 25 units however as with any startup, team, hardware project we ran into a few hurdles the first go around.
First, batteries didn't show up on time and actually got delivered to my address back in Colorado. We had them expressed shipped to Bozeman and now Trevor has them but they didn't come in time for our build.
Second, the sensors. This is my fault... The goal of the Bozeman build was to first create 25 units of the headband device that backers could use right away while we also confirm fit of the ear device with our volunteers. The sensors I used in the headband device were the same ones I was using for the the ear device. They work perfectly for the ear because they have a very focused point from which they read muscle activity.
They worked great on my head with the headband but with Mandy and Trevor they failed unless they were in perfect position. At that point I went back to the drawing board and worked on various ways to mechanically improve the sensor so the same small sensor could be used to read muscle activity from a larger area.
Rapidly prototyping different configurations with the 3d printer I built and tested at least 10 variations of the sensor. All failed to improve sensor readings. My goal was for simplicity to utilize one small sensor in both the ear piece and headband device, but this was clearly not working. Finally, I went back again to the 'drawing board' and redesigned the sensor itself to be bigger, twice as big in fact. This caused me to redesign the plastics that hold the sensor and changed the materials we planned to use for the headband... BUT, luckily after a week of printing, testing, iterating, practically sleeping at the makerspace in Bozeman we achieved amazing results.
The new (bigger) sensor, specifically for the headband, was a profound improvement and registered a very clear signal that Trevor can use to finish up the headband device firmware (the algorithm to detect clenching and grinding events).
Now, Trevor needs about 10 to 14 days to finish the programming for the firmware. So that will cause a delay.
Third, while we we're working to reconfigure the sensor, we also spent some time working through the mobile app. As we stepped through the app together we noticed a couple places where we could make the app more intuitive and these changes should be completed within the next couple weeks concurrently with Trevor's work on the firmware.
So, long story short, our manufacturing in Bozeman didn't go as planned, but as I choose to see things, every step back helps us move forward multiple steps in both BruxRelief as our product but also move Bravrr forward as a business.
We are tentatively planning to meet back up in Bozeman in two weeks to assemble and ship first units to volunteers.
We continue to work hard for you our backers and supporters and we'll are determined to get BruxRelief in your hands, and head, soon.
In your corner,