Community Update #4: Testing For Durability
Hi Eight supporters,
Over the past weeks we have been working at full speed to finalize key details of the product architecture, and we have also been through many other exciting things that we want to share with you in the update below. Hope you enjoy being a part of this exciting journey with us! And remember that if you have any questions or comments you can reach us at [email protected]
1. FINAL ENCLOSURE DESIGN
Over the past months we have shown you different iterations of the Eight Smart Box – the enclosure that sits by the floor and powers Eight every night. We are happy to share with you the final design of the enclosure, with a more refined look and the proper placement of the logo.
Below are images of two prototypes we received from Taiwan, which are already molded in hard plastic. These prototypes reflect the final industrial design for the smart box (seen in the renders above).
2. FINAL PRODUCT ARCHITECTURE
As we continued to test our units in the beta program we encountered some reliability issues that were a result of the product architecture. Because of the way the sensors were set in the cover they talked on the same ‘bus’ (they used the same wires to carry the signal) and the protocol they talked in was extremely fragile (lacking reliability). In addition to this, the sensors we used in the first architecture of the product were quite expensive for mass production.
Now that we are moving towards production we took the steps to bring our architecture to the next level, by replacing the sensors we had used so far with another type of sensor that is much more reliable. This makes the product more robust and also cost effective in manufacturing. At the same time though, it significantly increases the complexity of the work to be done in the software development, as the new processor in the cover will now need its own firmware and system to update the firmware.
Both the hardware and software teams are working nonstop to test and iterate on these developments in the architecture and also in the product’s firmware. We are moving as fast as humanly possible, releasing a new version of the firmware every week, and getting closer to the product’s final version. We feel confident that the new architecture will ensure a reliable Eight in each of your homes.
3. APP PROGRESS
While we work on setting up our manufacturing, we continue iterating on the software of the product, which includes the mobile application. The team, and our beta testers, have had the opportunity to test the Eight smart alarm for the very first time these past weeks and we have even seen it working on the Apple Watch! There will be no excuse for getting out of bed late. There is no Eight app specifically developed for the Apple Watch yet, but we can use the notifications function of the watch and have seen great results doing it so far.
*NOTE: When the first batch of Eights ship, the Eight app will be available for iOS and Android only.
4. BETA PROGRAM RESULTS
In our previous community update we shared with you the launch of our second beta test. So far, 39 people have slept on an Eight. We have logged over 1,600 hours slept on an Eight, and we are already able to identify sleep patterns from the data logged in the cloud.
Here are some of the key findings and achievements from our beta test:
- The comfort and fit of Eight has been rated by beta testers with an average of 4.7 out of 5. Integrating sensors into such a thin mattress cover is not easy, so receiving such a good rating on comfort and fit is an exciting achievement for the team.
- We have found and fixed several bugs that were affecting Wi-Fi connectivity of the beta units. The latest iteration has achieved the desired level of unit reliability with a new internal antenna solution.
- We have been able to detect and isolate some noise in the data readings that was being caused by the heating coils. This noise in the data was tampering with the sleep metrics readings from the piezo sensor. We are also now able to detect the presence of small animals in bed (AKA cat invasions!), and have successfully removed these interferences in data by adjusting our DSP filters and algorithms.
- Thanks to the work of our software team, we have achieved reliable readings of presence and movement detection, and increasingly accurate sleep analysis by comparing the data collected from the beta units to manually recorded sleep metrics such as in/out bedtimes, and sleep intervals.
5. PRODUCT DURABILITY TESTING
A key part of making a good smart mattress cover is building an architecture that allows for maximum durability of the sensor array. We want to share with you the latest in our sensor durability testing: we subjected our next generation sensor strip to a roller test at a mattress factory. The strip survived 12,600 cycles underneath a 240 pound roller – simulating about 1.5 years of use. We then completed 50,000 cycles on the same strip – identifying a weak point at the crimp connection to the piezo sensor which we were able to fix.
We are currently running the same test on a more rugged version of the sensor strip and will continue to iterate until every single detail in the architecture is fixed and ensures maximum durability of our product.
6. YC DEMO DAY
Eight was a part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 batch. Y Combinator is the leading incubator for early stage startups, where companies receive seed investment, advice, and connections from some of the best minds in the tech industry. Among Y Combinator’s alumni are companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Instacart, and Stripe.
We joined Y Combinator back in June and had three very exciting months learning from other amazing companies and being mentored by some of the best minds in Silicon Valley. During our time at YC we launched our second phase of beta test (see results above), and we also made incredible progress with our manufacturing partners.
On August 18th we presented Eight on stage at YC Demo Day, alongside a demo of the product for everyone to experience. We are really happy with the results from our time at YC and honored to have been featured by Techcrunch as one of the top 9 companies of our Demo Day. We believe in the power of what we are building, and how Eight will reinvent the way we sleep, shaping the future of sleep forever.
7. SHIPPING UPDATE
At our previous shipping announcement in June we underestimated the time that the tooling process takes, and since then we also had to commit to fixing the last design and mechanical details before starting the tooling for the smart box and connector.
In just three weeks, we will begin the tooling of all the mechanical components of Eight. These tools are being done in China. Given the quality we want to achieve for our mechanical pieces, the tooling might require up to eight weeks, and translate into a delay in the original timeline we announced in June.
This means that the original timeline of shipping in November must be adjusted, with the first Lunas set to begin shipping at the end of February 2016. Please refer to the table below for the adjusted shipping dates:
While the tooling is being completed, we will begin receiving all the materials from our suppliers, and in December we will begin a low volume build of Eight Covers, which will go through extensive and final quality assurance testing and UL, ETL and FCC certifications. In January we plan to begin manufacturing at full scale.
As we communicated to you in our last update, Eight’s co-founder Andrea has been spending a lot of time in China, and this month he moved there full time. Andrea is taking care of our manufacturing, logistics, and making sure we move as quickly as possible and that every detail is sorted out with our suppliers and CMs.
We understand if this delay is frustrating. We deeply appreciate your continuous support throughout this journey because, without each of you, this wouldn’t be possible. What we are doing at Eight is so new and so challenging, and knowing that there is this amazing group of people expecting the result of our work is what continues to push us forward. If this delay changes your mind about Eight and you no longer want to be among the first to receive the product, then we can honor our word to refund you for your purchase.
We value your honest feedback, and we are always listening – just email us at [email protected]. We will continue to improve the product over time – even once it has shipped – based on your feedback. So please keep sending us your ideas via our Ideas Forum, Twitter or email. We feel responsible for the commitment that each of you has given to us by backing Eight and we thank you for your support as we build the smartest mattress cover that will deliver a unique sleep experience.
* If you have not received our previous update emails you can also view them in our blog.
* If you ordered a secondary product with us, such as a Lockitron, please note that it will be shipping with your Eight.
* If you have moved to a new address since you purchased your Eight, you will be able to update your shipping address when we send you a request of address confirmation before your order is shipped.
Thanks again for your invaluable support. We can’t wait to get the first Eight units into the homes of our early supporters and hope we can bring you the sleep you have been dreaming of.
All the best,
The Eight Team