Archive | June, 2014

Hammerhead Weekly Dispatch (June 27, 2014)

27 Jun

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Hello all,

Today has been a good day. We received two important shipments. First, Hammerhead’s box design. This is the packaging that Hammerhead One will arrive in this fall. We have to keep it under wraps for now, but it is looking awesome. It’s exciting to see all the time we’ve put in with our packaging contacts pay off in a big way.

Second, and probably (ok, totally) more importantly, we have our final electrical boards. We mentioned in our last video update that we have reached the stage of making production ready prototypes. The boards came in today, and all the housing materials are scheduled to arrive on Monday. Once all those components are put together, our production ready prototypes will be born. 

Why is this exciting? It means we’re entering the stage of final testing before manufacturing. There’s plenty of work left to be done, but this is a big milestone. Thank you all for your help along the way towards achieving it!

Hope you found this interesting, and keep an eye out for our next weekly dispatch this following Friday. 

All the best,

Team HH

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June Technical Update

9 Jun

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Hello All,

Laurence here. I want to give you all a look into the tech and development process behind Hammerhead One – the chips, circuits, and lights that make our device work. Fire up your soldering irons, it’s time for a technical update.

After many months of work, we’re in the final stretch towards manufacturing. This stretch is stacked with trials, of course – final component selection, international certifications, and board testing make up our daily lives – but it is still a satisfying place to be. Take a look at our new video update below:

Products go through various stages of design before they reach a manufacturable state. Once the vision is set for a product, the path to manufacturing and distribution is hardly a straight line. Anything you buy goes through several (or many more) design iterations as features are developed, tested, and either included or discarded. In the case of a crowd-funded product like Hammerhead, the product development curve has a major inflection point: the campaign.

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Crowdfunding campaigns are interesting beasts. We’re big fans of them, obviously. The fact that guys like us can get an idea funded if we convince people that it can work is pretty inspiring. But the path to proving an idea can work is altogether different than the path towards manufacturing.  Preparing for manufacturing is slow, methodical, compartmentalized work. Campaigning is, well, campaigning. Your focus is on creating a prototype that works and looks nice, not one that is made up of final materials and components, or produced with an eye towards how all those pieces will flow together in the great symphony of final assembly.

The prototypes we built for our campaign were forged from pieces of off-the-shelf electronics and 3D-printed parts. Externally, they were representative of our vision for what Hammerhead would become. Internally, they were a bit of a mess, from an engineering perspective at least. Once the campaign drew to a close – and certainly once we were in the R/GA Accelerator – our focus turned from convincing to building, from ‘how do we make a few of these that work on the road?’ to ‘how do we make 10,000 of these that will reliably work anywhere in the world?’.

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A daunting task, to say the least. We even wrote a blog post earlier this year about how daunting it was. The skill set that leads to success in a crowd funding campaign is not the same skill set that leads to success in manufacturing. So, we sought out some help. Through the R/GA Accelerator, we were able to link up with Tomorrow Lab, a cross-disciplinary team of product designers, engineers, and strategists. Steadily over the last six months, we’ve worked together to refine Hammerhead One and prepare it for manufacturing.

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Now, after drafting, redrafting, and much tinkering, we are confident that we have a manufacturable prototype. For one, we have a production-ready printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB connects and supports all the components (the LED lights, Bluetooth, etc…), and generally serves as the connective tissue of Hammerhead One. Among our final components are an accelerometer and a barometric pressure sensor. These internal circuits (IC’s) augment the data we are able to collect from your rides with bearing and road conditions, while giving you a better sense of your exact altitude changes (accurate to 3 inches). We see these sensors as a way for us to quantify more than just where you have been, adding an additional layer of insight to your rides.

We’re happy to report that Hammerhead One has a Micro-B USB port and can charge off any standard USB port or wall-adaptor. We have designed it to be waterproof against the muddiest / rainiest of rides, and we’re very much looking forward to testing its limits. For added protection and a sleek overall feel, we’ve added a silicone skin to the device’s exterior. Silicone provides excellent protection to Hammerhead’s circuitry while also being resistant to UV, heat cycling and various acids and bases. 

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We also decided to include three front-facing LED’s that serve as the Hammerhead’s headlight (HammerHeadlight?). Neatly tucked into the nose of the device, the headlight can be turned on, set to blink or switched off by a button on the underside of the Hammerhead. 

Julio Radesca and Aditya Bansal have been working closely on all the light patterns for the first release. In essence, they are creating a new visual language – one that needs to be instantly understood the world over (no pressure!). We are covering a range of turn instructions for situations that are faced by the average user riding their bike. Everything from taking the right off-ramp on a path to being notified when you enter your favorite segment will be communicated to you with ease.

Finally, we’ve designed a great clip for mounting Hammerhead on your handlebars. The clip designed to fit on all standard handle-bar sizes, in the reasonable range from 1” (25.4mm) to 1 ¼” (31.8mm). It has a slide-lock with a pressure release clip and will come with an adaptor for the Garmin quarter turn system.

This past week, we put in an order for 10 production-ready prototypes – a momentous occasion for our team. We plan to celebrate how far we’ve come by immediately testing them on the streets of New York City and the surrounding rural areas. We’re so excited for our Hammerhead testing adventures this summer, and can’t wait to share them with you via video updates.

I hope this gave you a sense of how we’re spending our time and look forward to reading your questions and comments!

Until next time,

Laurence

 

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