Hey everyone, Ryan here. Happy new year. The Arsenal team and I have been working around the clock to get Arsenal out the door and shipped. Here’s what we’ve been working on and where we are as of today.
Arsenal uses Bluetooth classic as the normal method to connect to the phone. (Wifi is supported also, but it’s not ideal since you have to switch wifi networks). Apple requires that all devices that connect to iOS using Bluetooth classic go through an extremely rigorous certification process. Apple will only test on production versions of a product, including packaging. Unfortunately, the delays we’ve experienced with our enclosure are pushing back our certification timeline and ultimately our ship date. Which leads me to…
I know you’re all excited to get Arsenal in your hands. We were originally hoping to ship Arsenal to everyone who preordered through witharsenal.com by the end of February. I’m very sorry to say we won’t be able to hit that date. We thought we had plenty of padding in our timeline to hit the February target. Unfortunately, some of the setbacks we hit in the last few weeks have blocked other parts of the process from moving forward. This is not an excuse, but I want you to know that if we could have gone faster we would have and I wanted to give transparency to the process/update.
Our new estimated ship date is early April. Unfortunately, the Apple certification isn’t something we have much control over, but we are doing everything we can to complete it and get Arsenal to you as fast as possible. I want to say I’m extremely sorry for the delay.
Sony A7Riii Support
We were able to get a hold of a Sony A7Riii last month and run it through the Arsenal test suite. Everything worked great, so we are adding it to the list of supported cameras. (It’s still hard to believe Sony got rid of their apps on new cameras. Hopefully Arsenal can fill in the gaps a bit.)
The injection mold tooling for the enclosure is almost complete. We’ve had a few minor changes to improve the flow as the plastic is injected. Thanks to Rubin for all of the hard work on this.
After doing some more controlled tests of the wifi/bluetooth connections, we decided to do a bit more work tuning the antenna. This involves renting some very expensive test equipment and setting parameters on the radio. The new parameters help improve the connection speed and range.
We spent a lot of the last month working through some more logistics getting ready for the final production run and shipping. (supply chain management, acceptance testing, defect handling, taxes, etc…) This isn’t the most exciting thing, but it needs to happen.
Because Arsenal contains so many BGA components on our PCB, we can’t take advantage of testing methods you might use for products with a more open circuit board. We need all systems on each Arsenal to be well tested before it goes out the door. To make this happen, we’ve been working on a set of devices and software that can run functional tests over all of the boards systems and then flash the firmware (assuming the board passes). Making sure this process catches all issues, is fast, and is repeatable takes a lot of work. There’s been a lot of back and forth with our manufacturer in the past month as we make adjustments to ensure our rigs keep up as boards are coming off the line.
The machine learning team has been making improvements to our depth mapping system. The depth mapper looks at a scene and estimates distances based on the frames pulled from the sensor. This data is fed into the main setting suggestions algorithm and helps better match settings to the current environment.
The software team has been spending most of their time tracking down some last bugs. They have also been working on a refactor of the core device code. The refactor improves the abstraction between camera API’s, camera configurations (code specific to individual cameras), and the communication layer. When this refactor is complete, it will make it faster for us to add new features and new cameras. The team is doing a good job moving forward while also keeping on top of technical debt.
The dev team is wrapping up a few little things, then we’re going to put together a full demo video to show the app with the updated interface. Should be out in the next week or two.
The delay is unfortunate but we are as committed as ever to getting Arsenal to each of our backers as fast as possible. We’re going to use the extra time to continue to improve the quality control process, software, core technology, and product as a whole. We’re also going to start putting together some video tutorials and documentation to help everyone get up to speed with using Arsenal. It’s pretty simple to use, but we’ve had lots of requests for documentation, so we’ll get that ready before we ship.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we move through the final stages. Thanks to the Arsenal team for the long hours, travel, and going the extra mile. Thanks to all of our backers for their support and patience.
P.S. We’ve been so heads down on production the team hasn’t had much time lately to get out and take photos that aren’t for testing the system. (The snow on the ground hasn’t helped :-) Here’s some older shots we took with Arsenal.