Mycroft is working closely with Aztech, our contract manufacturer, to begin producing the Mark II in volume. We are constantly refining the details, but here are key action items that will take us there:
- Make small mechanical and electrical design changes to accommodate prospective clients that require easy access to the port locations.
- Update the SJ201 board to remove experimental and alternate parts that won’t be needed for production.
- Produce several prototypes for engineering validation to test everything from performance of the hardware microphone isolation, loudspeaker performance, cooling, and electrical design, and other systems.
- Freeze the design with the exception of the Design For Manufacturability (DFM) review stage. In this stage Aztech engineers will evaluate and make recommendations for small changes needed for manufacturing purposes to ensure the designs are compatible with Aztech’s processes. For example, draft angles, surface texture, and screw boss thicknesses will be evaluated to ensure they will not cause part failure or premature wear on the mold. On the electrical side via sizes, traces, pad sizes, the distance between components, and more will be evaluated. They will also assess Radio Frequency (RF) risk and suggest any changes if needed.
- Confirm the design for the molds for the plastic housing of the Mark II.
- Create prototypes of the completed DFM parts using 3D printing or CNC machining for final fit test and engineering validation.
- Fabricate molds for plastic injection.
- Construct first run parts from the molds for evaluation of necessary small tweaks.
- Design the package. In addition to protecting the product, and having an appeal to customers, we want the product and packaging to be as recyclable and earth friendly as possible.
- Define: production testing specifications and the process and equipment to test our products on the production line.
- Create the test equipment. We already have a good base to start this specification from testors we created to validate the Mark II Dev Kits.
- Build several prototypes assembled into housings from the mold validation stage.
- Have Radio Frequency (RF), and Underwriter Laboratory (UL) testing conducted. RF testing is required by the FCC and UL testing is highly recommended to sell in the U.S. We will also need to do this for other regions where we plan to sell.
- Begin New Product Introduction (NPI) runs. In these runs, the goal is to do incremental steps to validate the manufacturing process. In the early runs, we will be validating the ability of Aztech to create the SJ201 daughter board. As we move along, we will be creating full Mark II units. In NPI, we are expecting we will be producing around 300 units in total. A small portion of these will be saleable. This step will rely on us having sufficient parts to do these runs.
- Produce our first production run once NPI runs are giving consistent results. We are targeting July 2022 for our first production run.
- Upgrade our processes, staff, and systems to support the ordering, building, and distribution of the larger volumes.
The biggest risk we will continue to have is part availability due to the global supply chain issues. We are optimistic we will be able to obtain the parts we need in a timely manner for NPI and our first production run. We have the longest lead time parts either in stock or on order, and we are regularly reviewing the supply situation.
Stay tuned as we keep you abreast of our progress and the challenges on the journey to full scale production.
On the software side, we have been doing a round of polish on the default Skills which is almost at an end. We did this in two parts – first the voice experience, then improving the graphical presentation. There are still six GUI’s (graphical user interfaces) to add or clean up but these should come together fairly quickly. Overall this means a much better experience across the following Skills: Homescreen, Common Query, Wikipedia, Duck Duck Go, Wolfram Alpha, Date, Time, Weather, News, Pandora, Timer, Alarm, Volume, Pairing, Skill Installer, and Wifi Connect!
With all of the default Skills working well in isolation, we’re turning our eye to how they interact with each other. In real-world usage you often want to ask something while music is playing, ask multiple questions in quick succession, need to interrupt Mycroft, or have a Timer go off in the middle of doing something else. So what should the etiquette be between Skills when a conflict arises?
To explore this we want to get your feedback on some mocked up videos. To give you a taster – here’s the first video.
If you’re currently using Mycroft, have used it in the past, or want to in the future – we want your ideas and opinions. Let us know what you think in the comments on Youtube, or in the Community Forums.
Duane joined Mycroft March 2021. He has extensive experience in program management, IT, manufacturing, and as an entrepreneur. He is an enthusiast for skiing, playing guitar, music, biking, innovation, reading, learning, and good comedy (alright, even bad humour!). He is a believer, and excited about Mycroft, our staff, our product, our vision, our community, and our customers! Let’s all make it happen – great product by good people for good people.