Hi Pre-Order Customers,
We are sharing our monthly updates from kickstarter with you here. This is the December update. Last month's November update is here
Black Piece Update – success!
After some iterations we are now producing perfect black pieces. The pieces are also extremely durable. We are still waiting on a couple of minor last minute mold modifications for the big pieces (King and Queen), and once done, pieces can start production. Because we modified the molds and the mold is the same for white and black pieces, we did not get the head start with white we were hoping for. However, we will not see much of a schedule disruption from the down time – as we already communicated the piece delay in the last two updates. Everything stayed on schedule through November. We are still looking at late February for starting fulfillment.
Quality Deep Dive
We are going to use this update to dive into the steps we do for quality. This is a very “behind the scenes” look. Keep that in mind as we share the equipment we have built for testing – function is much more important than beauty.
Step 1) We test the PCBs as they are programmed. This test station loads the code onto the processors and then runs a series of tests to verify functionality (including Bluetooth function). The apparatus in the video is called a bed of nails tester. It contacts the PCB at over a dozen locations to program it and sample certain voltage lines. We have constructed three of these units – two units are used to speed up throughput and one redundant unit in case of failure. We also record all of the test data and the serial number of the unit. Keeping a data history is important for comparing production batches (keeping consistency).
Step 2) We also test "finished goods" (complete ChessUps). This station tests the sensors and all LEDs in the complete product. We built these test stations ourselves. Like we said, function is what matters! (so don't judge the blue tape cord routing 😊)
This extensive finished goods test takes a lot of time, so we built three of these test stations to help throughput. Thousands of ChessUps will go through these stands. Again, we record each unit's data as part of our quality process.
Step 3) Data Collection Efforts – Currently we are playing games on our prototype ChessUps and collecting raw sensor data. We are constructing a library of games. Different users, different chess positions, different styles of capturing pieces – all of it. We use this raw data library to test out and improve our sensor algorithms (for piece movement). With electronic chess boards there is always a possibility of weird sensor input – knocked pieces, accidental drops, etc. The more data we have to work with, the more robust we can make the sensor code. This is not a trivial process. To do it well, we need hundreds of games from dozens of users. And then we spend many days refining the algorithms. In the end, we want to give you a product that plain and simple just works with no special effort from the user.
So that is how we are spending our time these days. That.. and watching the world chess championship.
A reminder that Tatev is covering the world championship and all chess news in the Bryght Labs blog – check it our here:
If you are looking for even more chess content, check out the Perpetual Chess Podcast where Tatev was a recent guest:
We are always available for support requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Bryght Labs