Hey everyone, Ryan here. Things are really starting to come together. I wanted to share some of what myself and the Arsenal team have been working on.
Our latest board revision came in last week. We recently switched to running a custom version of linux on Arsenal. This helps improve startup time and leaves more disk space for caching photos. The new linux version also solves some issues we saw in our previous version and makes our whole build process go a lot smoother and faster.
All of the parts for our beta unit board run are in. Once the most recent board design is vetted, we’ll start production on those.
Close ups of the latest boards.
We’ve been able to expand our training dataset that we use to “teach” Arsenal how to choose settings. Through a licensing deal with a popular photo sharing site, we’ve been able to greatly improve the quality of the images in our data set.
We’ve also been working on improving our depth estimation model (which is used in a few places under the hood in Arsenal).
I’ve been working on improving performance on some of our machine learning code. This has been a bit of a long process to get our machine learning framework to take advantage of some special instructions on Arsenal’s processor.
Work has started on our board flashing and quality assurance process that will happen at the factory after the boards are made. This process lets us quickly verify all of the boards’ systems are functional (cpu, memory, bluetooth, wifi, LEDs, battery, etc..) in an automated way. The QA test system will help us ensure that no Arsenal’s go out with hardware defects. We also use this system to flash the boards’ initial firmware.
We’re still making some changes to the enclosure. The main thing we’re working on now is the part that holds the button in place. When developing a part for injection molding, there’s a lot of little changes that affect the production process and the final look and functionality of the product. We’re really close to sending the design out to have a production mold made for the beta unit enclosures.
iOS and Android
The past few weeks have seen a lot of work on the apps themselves. Our new communication library is out the door and performing well. We’ve also been tracking down some memory leaks and performance issues. The new UI is fully implemented and testing really well with people. (Much better than the previous version, thanks Corey!) We’re going to work on a few user experience things from here out.
We’ve been finishing locking down suppliers and production schedules for a few final parts to Arsenal. The battery had to wait a bit until we had a few things from the enclosure finalized, but we should be getting our custom batteries in for the beta run soon. Phillip has also been working on lining up a great supplier for our custom curly USB cables and our charger brick and charge cable.
Ok, it’s probably not the most exciting part of Arsenal, but we’ve been spending a good chunk of time lately working with suppliers to figure out packaging. Phillip has had lots of samples in his office, and I think we’ve found a winner. I’m a huge fan of a good unboxing experience and I think everyone’s going to love our box when you get it.
The schedule is still looking good. We’re on track to hit our estimated ship date in January. The VIP/beta units are on track to be shipped in November, although it will probably be closer to the end of November before they make it out the door.
Growing the Team
Even before we ship, there’s a lot of questions related to product features, camera compatibility, shipping address changes, etc… Kristen has been doing a great job managing our customer support, but we’re looking to grow the team to provide faster response times and prepare for the extra question volume when we ship Arsenal out. We’re looking for someone who can act both as a customer support rep and help with field testing and marketing. If you or someone you know might be interested, see our job description here.
I was telling the team that last week really felt like everything was coming together. Getting a product like Arsenal produced and out the door requires a lot of different moving parts to be coordinated, and it feels great to have gotten to this point. We'll keep you updated as we work towards final production and shipping.
A shot testing long exposure stacking in Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring. The long exposure stacking makes it easier to see through the steam. The colors at Grand Prismatic are really something you have to see (especially from above.)
My model for portrait testing. Yes, I’m from Montana.