Road Trip Report
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Dear backers and supports,
I just got back from my from my two and half week road trip to Bozeman and Seattle. Lot's to report.
First, a quick update on overall development strategy.
Over the last couple months we've moved more and more towards perfecting the headband device and have pushed pause on the 'around the ear device'. As I discussed before, the around the ear device is a very aggressive design. I believe it is still totally achievable, but pursuing both devices at the same time just doesn't make sense with our main focus of delivering to our backers a solution that works as soon as possible.
The around the ear design has too many design constraints with all the different shapes and sizes of ears out their in the world. If everyone had gigantic ears with detached lobes like I do, then it would be a simple fix. However, a headband is pretty simple. I has to be adjustable, a little stretchy and comfortable. This device we know we can nail down faster and get it out to help You our backers faster.
So, we've paused on the 'around the ear' device, focusing on delivering the headband but I'm not one to give up, so once we have more time I will again focus on the ear device.
The PCB (circuit board) we made changes to last time worked great and we were able to charge the battery faster by switching out the resistor as I mentioned in last update. So no changes there. Trevor and mostly worked on a new detection algorithm that I will taught about in the Firmware section of this update; but, while Trevor was busy coding away I got to tackle something that's been bothering me from a design perspective.
As mentioned in a previous update, we've designed the BruxRelief to be modular. Because we had two tracks, ear device and headband we wanted a modular design that would allow use to use 'the brains' (PCB/circuit board, battery, vibration motor) with either the ear device or headband. The previous design (plastics on the right side of the picture) of the plastics for the enclosure around the 'the brains' was good, compact, but very thick. Therefore the headband mount itself was thick to hold 'the brains' enclosure... just wasn't in love with it and wanted to make it thinner and smaller (plastics on the left)
By moving things around a bit I was able to achieve a thinner design the used less plastic and was ultimately easier to print and build. It's still modular, as you'll see below, just less plastics and less separate pieces to print and build.
For firmware, we worked on what we think will be a major improvement in the detection algorithm, something that I think will eventually help us in developing the 'around the ear' device. The main focus behind this change is accounting for two concerns we have in releasing BruxRelief for testing. Head sizes / shapes and users deferring comfort levels of tightness. We've made the headband adjustable so that if will fit any head, but what if one user likes to strap on their headband tight, what if someone else likes it looser. What if the headband shifts position a little during the night and the sensors do read the same as they did at the beginning of the night.
Like I said, we've made the headband adjustable for comfort and we have a calibration sequence the user goes through when they place their headband before sleep, but we needed an algorithm that is a little more dynamic to compensate for differing preferences in comfort / tightness and any potential shifts during the night.
So, Trevor is putting the finishing touches on our new detection algorithm that's a bit more dynamic in how it reads the sensors and adjusts overnight. We believe it will be a major improvement and later help us with the concerns we have with the around the ear device.
Andrei was busy in Netherlands making and finishing the design changes we developed for the app. It's looking fantastic and much more intuitive. Andrei's now focused on coding and delivering the OTA function I talked about in the last update. This is the last major thing we want to include before we ship any devices. As mentioned previously, OTA (over-the-air) updates will allow us to update any firmware changes (the detection algorithm for example) via the app in the future. For example as we roll BruxRelief out to the volunteers for testing, we get feedback that such-and-such needs to change, with OTA, we'll have the ability to update both the app on your smartphone and the firmware on the device simultaneously.
Business Stuff: After working with Trevor in Bozeman I drove to Seattle to meet with Mandy a few days. Our main focus was to revisit manufacturing plans with headband plastics and sensors fully ready. We were originally thinking for Mandy to print plastics and do assembly in Seattle, however with timing and resources we agreed that I will take on production here in Colorado for this first batch of units for the volunteers to test. So, I packed up our 3D printers (we have 4 now and I'm in heaven) and had a 3 day drive back to Colorado.