Manufacturing: Engineering Sample
Three weeks ago, Sergio returned from our manufacturer’s factory in China and upon his recommendation, we made an important decision. In order to improve the quality of the Pilot’s audio and translation system, we decided to make designs improvements on the microphone placement and the antenna design, delaying the estimated shipping date to the Fall. This decision was unexpected, however we are incredibly excited to offer a superior product upon delivery!
Bill, VP of Manufacturing, has joined Sergio in China to double the efforts during our “engineering sample” phase. Both of them are meeting with our manufacturing partner daily to oversee product development step-by-step. Their typical day consists of going to the factory, working in the office, meeting with the engineers and prototyping. There is a 12 hour time difference between US (ET) and China Standard Time (CST). When we first began working with our partners last year, we were having troubles communicating with them because of the time difference, but after Sergio’s move to China, the entire process has sped up. At the factory, Bill and Sergio build new prototypes of the charger and the Pilot earpiece on a regular basis. Sergio uses his experience in 3D printing for the charger design at the factory and Bill uses his experience with metal workshop machines like lathes and mills to produce Sergio’s design in the best material. This quick prototyping process helps us test and iterate continually to solve issues, and it is a hallmark of the rapid prototyping process.
When it comes to the antenna, all existing wireless headphones face limitations. Why? Because Bluetooth works best in a clear line of sight which is sometimes difficult to ensure. That is why most companies will choose to connect a piece of wire between each earpiece. Antenna design is of the utmost importance to deliver quality bluetooth wireless headphones. At Waverly Labs, we have selected an expert partner in earpiece and audio devices and they have used their expertise to create a new antenna design to strengthen the audio signal and connectivity. We test the antenna’s design on a regular basis, and in a variety of situations to ensure its signal strength, and currently the antenna is being tested in an anechoic chamber (meaning echo-free).
The accuracy of our translation depends on the clarity of the speech which is recognized by the Pilot earpiece. Hence, we are using the best possible microphones and placing them in the most appropriate location inside the earpiece. However, moving the microphone even a few millimeters means we have to move all the other components in the PCB (circuit board). With Sergio’s industrial design skills, Bill’s electrical expertise, and our manufacturer’s acoustics background, we’ve redesigned the placement of the microphones to its precise location.
“We are also making great strides with the charger. We are working on adding a bigger battery so Pilot can be used multiple times for one or two days!” – Jainam Shah, V.P. of Hardware Operations.
We were incredibly pleased to receive such a large number of supportive responses, encouraging emails, and overall positive comments on the design changes. Thank you everyone for your continuous support! Please make sure to stay in touch with us by following us on facebook, twitter and instagram.
– Team Waverly