Mark II Update - April 2019

Originally published at:

Backers and Community Members:

We’ve had lots of parts moving over the last few weeks. We’ve got three videos to summarize the work that has occurred in April.

Phase III Hardware Prototype

First, we moved into Phase III prototyping of the hardware and enclosure. The prototype you’ll see is built around a development board. Once we move to a final board, we believe we can shave off about 15-20% of the size of the unit.

In this phase, we are learning a lot about how the physical characteristics are impacting things like audio reverberation and barge-in. Our first attempt in Phase III resulted in feedback, and barge-in only worked intermittently while playing music at only 20% volume. After incorporating some extra gaskets, silicone, and elbow grease, we were able to triple the performance of barge-in. Now we have to translate that knowledge into an easier to manufacture solution.

Right now we have the 3D printers working almost 24 hours a day to print variations that explore better ways to isolate the microphones and simplify assembly. Currently, it takes about a week to build and test one unit, and the costs are astronomical, but once we find the right combination, we will start optimizing for Phase IV, Product Validation.

Here’s a demo of the Phase III Prototype. Keep an eye on the graphics so you can see the improvements in the next two videos.

Community GUI Development

Next, we have Community members who are skilled in GUI development testing out some of the early commits. The work of this developer was contributed back to the repo. You’ll see an improved visual interaction from the previous video.

Internal GUI Development

Finally, we’d like to show you the latest possible visual interaction. This is a development unit running the same board as the Phase III prototype. While these won’t be the final SBCs, they allow us to integrate the stack and some of the skills with the new GUI elements quickly and work out the kinks.