March Update

March 9, 2020

Our latest status and timeline, amidst the coronavirus issue in China.

Jacob Flood, March 9, 2020


Hey Backers,

The sun’s starting to come out in Montreal, and with it comes new optimism about our production timeline. This month’s update will be short: we’ll report on the current status and give an indication of next steps for the product.

TL;DR

Our factory is continuing to ramp up production following the recently shutdown. We’ve put in orders for the next few batches of components, but due to supply chain slowdowns from the coronavirus, the lead times on some parts are quite long. By our current estimation, the next batch will finish by end of April.

In parallel we’re continuing to run more tests: quantifying our signal quality, improving the robustness, updating our firmware, and collecting data to improve our algorithms. More on each of those below.

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

We’ve been in touch with our factory very frequently over the last month, pushing to get our next production batch started.

On the whole, things have quieted down significantly in Shenzhen since last month. To our best knowledge, our factory is currently operating at close to 75% capacity. In more tangible terms, this means that our team is back actively working on our product, scheduling the next batch, and ordering the parts we need to make that happen.

This is good news: we’re back on track to make our next batch and get them shipped out.

The catch is that not everyone has been as fortunate as our factory. Many other manufacturers continue to operate at minimal capacity, with no precise timeline on when they reopen. This means that while our factory is ready to assemble our units, the lead time on several critical components are very long.

You’ve likely been reading in the news that several tech companies have predicted delays in their upcoming production. This is often for the reason above: many companies are fighting to purchase a limited supply of components from these factories. We’ve done our best to be proactive, putting in orders for the longest lead time components as soon as possible. As of this week, the component with the longest lead time will take 45 days to arrive, at which point we can start production.

Meanwhile, with our factory back on their feet, we’ll be able to spend this time ensuring that production is ready by then. Following this schedule, we expect the next batch to finish in the end of April, and to ship immediately after.

The Mindset team is safely in Montreal, yet-unaffected by COVID-19. We wish everyone good health for you and yours, and hope that the effects of this virus will taper out soon.

BETA TESTING

A quick follow-up: thank you to everyone who emailed us about being a beta tester. Due to the high volume of messages, we won’t be replying to each one individually. We’ll reach out separately when we’re ready to send units, in order to confirm addresses and coordinate details.

If you’d like to be part of our beta testing, please send an email to help@thinkmindset.com. For any other messages you’d like us to respond to, please instead usehello@thinkmindset.com.

PRODUCT TESTS

Meanwhile, we’ve been spending our time testing the product as much as possible. This past month, we’ve made some progress in a few key areas:

1.     Validating the signal quality of the electrodes

This requires sending a known signal into the headphone sensors, and measuring the output produced by our sensors. The more we work on these tests, the better we understand the data we’re receiving, and the more nuanced our optimization becomes.

We’re currently working on a software technique to compensate the EEG data for the very subtle differences in electronics of each individual headphone. This would allow a greater accuracy, as each electrode would be pre-calibrated to ensure that they produce identical results. We won’t share more than that, since this is still in the R&D phase, but we foresee that this may greatly improve the EEG signal quality.

2.     Firmware updates

As more people test the headphones across more devices, we’ve been able to catch several small firmware issues that had gone unnoticed. These changes have improved the audio quality, call quality, pairing speed, and overall fluidity of the experience.

Many of these issues will only be fixed post-beta testing, so we look forward to getting the headphones into more hands to continue this process!

Validating the signal quality of the assembled product

3.     Data collection

In parallel to testing the headphones, we’ve been using them to start collecting EEG data in different scenarios, to get a better sense of how they respond to environmental changes. This will help us pre-train many of the models we use to detect when the headphones are on and to measure focus levels.

We’re also getting better at improving our models over time. This way, when each of you receive your devices, you’ll be able to more quickly train the system to respond uniquely to your brain and provide personalized feedback.

4.     Robustness

Finally, we’ve spent more time parsing the data from the tests we mentioned last month. In particular, we’ve reinforced several parts in response to the drop test we performed, in order to improve the structural integrity of the units.

There’s plenty still to optimize, so we continue to improve the product as much as we can, keeping in mind that production is our #1 priority. We can’t wait to get you some units, to get feedback on the fruits of our labor!


That’s all for now! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and we’ll reply as soon as we can.

Take care, and lots of love!

– The Mindset Team



Comments

  • Garg –

    Good work, people! I’ve thought a lot about you and the current state of Mindset. Hope you’re all doing well and have not been too heavily impacted by the recent virus outbreak. I’ll be the first to say that it has nothing to do with you, and there is nothing you could have done differently to mitigate the inevitable delays. The current models sound impressive. Whatever the outcome, it will be a refreshing change from the usual EEG products. As someone who moves much between desktop operating systems like Ubuntu and MacOS, it will be interesting to see whether I will be able to integrate the EEG functions seamlessly or will need to make compromises. Possibly, I feel the best option at the moment for the widest customer group is Android/iOS app support. I am nonetheless confident these are all things you considered, and are capable of delivering successfully at an operational bare minimum. Cheers!

    • Jacob F

      Hey Garg, thank you for the kind words! We definitely believe that our product is the future of neurotech, and we’re giving it the time it deserves to realize that vision.

      Our developers platform-hop similarly, so we’ve been testing it out. What we’ve found is that running a VM is totally fine, since the bluetooth connection stays in the OS it was originally established. It’s also fine to start and stop sessions using different OS’s sequentially. If you’ll be frequently shutting down the OS completely though, that’s a different case – hard to keep an audio or data stream alive through that. Mobile apps will fix that eventually.

  • Sten Mawson

    If you’re smart enough to do what you’re doing, and smart enough to figure out my email so you can ask me to subscribe to your blog/information update, then you should be smart enough to check my email address against the list of those already subscribed, so you don’t have to ask me to subscribe again! And force me to waste my time filling out the subscription request, again, … Just sayin’ … and before you ask, No, at my age I do not remember everything I’m subscribed to!!

  • Sebastien Audy

    It’s could to see the progress. Keep up the good work. What will be the process to confirm addresses before you start shipping the headphones? Some of your clients like me have moved since they supported this project. Thanks!

    • Jacob F

      Hey Sebastien,

      If you preordered through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you can go to mindset.backerkit.com to resend yourself the link to access your account. You can change your address there anytime between now and shipping.

      If you preordered through our website, feel free to send me an email at hello@thinkmindset.com and I’ll take care of it myself.

      Cheers!

  • Brian Ricard

    I’m getting really excited to get this product in my hands.

    Keep up the good work and I hope the corona virus doesn’t affect you to harshly.

    Note 1: Your twitter account link on this website is broken. This might scare people; thinking this isn’t a valid company/product.
    Note 2: You still have your Christmas decorations up (see bookshelf on Firmwire update image ) 😀

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