Community Update #3: Beta Testing Eight In The Real World
Hi Eight backers,
We have spent the last weeks fully focused on product development, and we are excited to share the latest achievements from our team. These are big steps towards getting Eight into your homes and providing the best experience possible for a better night’s sleep.
1. OUR MANUFACTURER BUILT THE FIRST TEST UNITS
In June, we began working with a local manufacturer to improve the design and reliability of the product. We want to ensure that the product you receive lives up to the expectations and provides the best possible experience. So we decided to work with a manufacturing company that is experienced in building highly reliable lab instruments and has also manufactured other smart home products that are already in the market. We are leveraging their experience to further improve and finalize our product design, in much less time than it would have taken if we were doing it by ourselves.
We are excited to share with you that we have completed the first 10 manufacturer-grade Eight units. These units are fully functional and are currently being used by our beta testers (see section 3 of this update for more information about our beta program).
This is a huge achievement for the team and it puts us in the right path towards finalizing the product architecture and refining it based on the feedback we are receiving from our beta testers.
You can see images below from the last day spent at our manufacturer’s facility, when we completed the build of the units. As you will notice, these units don’t yet look like the final units will, but they do work as promised. The final industrial design will be integrated into the next batch of units that the manufacturer is working on.
2. EIGHT GOES TO CHINA
In addition to working with our local manufacturer in the U.S. to complete the first run of units, we are moving forward in our conversations with manufacturers in China. One of Eight’s co-founders, Andrea, is in China this week to meet with local manufacturers in Shenzhen and Shanghai. This is an exciting step for us, and we are looking forward to finding the right partners and suppliers that will hopefully help us scale as Eight becomes a reality.
3. WE BEGAN TESTING EIGHT AT BACKERS’ HOMES
We officially launched our second beta test, and we currently have six Eight units installed in beds around the San Francisco Bay Area. Six Eight backers and supporters are currently sleeping on a unit and providing us with their daily feedback. This is a huge step for the team, as it is the first time that we test the full Eight experience and gather user feedback from people outside the team. We can’t wait for more people to test the full experience!
We are currently working out issues with the Wi-Fi connectivity range of the beta units. Our beta testers have been highly understanding of the fact that these are the very first units out of our manufacturer’s facility, and that the power box materials and cover’s fabrics are not yet final and we have some glitches to figure out over the next weeks. Over the next weeks we will be increasing the number of units out for testing and continue to gather feedback to improve the Eight experience.
4. FIRMWARE DEVELOPMENTS
The firmware is the glue that brings a smart hardware product together, but testing software with hardware is really hard especially because some of the failures are hard to reproduce and almost completely random. To accurately reproduce the specific issues we had to test the product for hours under controlled conditions to make sure it was behaving correctly.
We have managed to improve the way we handle failure of sensors and other devices in our board, so that our software can correct for them and sometimes completely recover. We are committed to continue doing this type of testing until the product ships, and after that as well. You will notice how Eight will improve over time even after you have already started sleeping on it, and this will all be done through the magic of software.
5. SMART HOME INTEGRATIONS AND CONNECTIVITY
Over the past months we have been working on expanding the custom smart home integrations in the Eight network. Below is a recap of all the custom integrations that will be available with the first version of Eight:
|Smart home products||
|Smart home platforms||
|Health tracking platforms||
6. ACCESS TO API
Eight has been built to serve as an open platform so you can build your own custom integrations with any Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled device.
For anyone that purchased our Developer Pack, you will be provided access to the Eight API and documentation 4 weeks before of our first shipment. The API will be made publicly available to the rest of our customers when the first batch of units ships.
If you did not purchase the Developer Pack and wish to do so to get early access to our API, please email us at [email protected] and we can process an upgrade of your order.
7. SHIPPING TIMELINE
On June 3rd we sent out a communication via email explaining the causes for our shipping delay and the adjusted shipping timeline (see this information below). If you did not receive that email please email us at [email protected] to make sure you are in our email list.
During our testing back in May, we found that the very aggressive washing cycle (i.e, washing the Eight cover in a washing machine) stressed the sensor array in the cover. This added stress over time could prevent the sensors from functioning properly and even make them break, which would affect the tracking power of Eight. The washability of the cover is a critical part for moving forward with the manufacturing process and therefore we made the decision to extend the shipping date and get time to fix this properly.
Below is a table showing the original and updated shipping dates for Eight. In the table you will see two groups: people who purchased the product during the Indiegogo campaign (from January 27th to March 26th) and people who purchased after the campaign ended (from March 27th forward) If you don’t remember when you purchased your cover, feel free to email us at [email protected] and we will look it up for you.
*NOTE: Any Lockitrons purchased during our Indiegogo campaign will ship with your Eight.
The team is working day and night to make sure that we meet the above shipping timeline and the Eight experience is better than imagined. Thanks, as always, for your support of Eight and please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
The Eight team