Hi there, and welcome to our monthly status update!
TL;DR: Our factory is up and running! According to the aforementioned delivery page, we’ve already sent out the first mini batch, so some of you should get your orders within days. Given our most recent production data, we’ll be able to deliver batch 1 of 2,000 UHKs and related accessories by the end of July. Many of you will get your orders much faster depending on your place in the queue. Everything’s looking great, and we’ll be transitioning to the add-ons soon.
Some UHKs of mini batch 1:
Launching mass production wasn’t exactly a smooth ride, which wasn’t really surprising after all. Given our past experience, some things inevitably go wrong despite our best efforts.
We observed that some LED segments displayed gibberish – that is, unidentifiable characters. It was quite a challenge to figure out the root cause of this, but András succeeded. Apparently, the space is very tight around the FFC cable and when the case is on, it bends the cable and some pins don’t connect. The solution? We just have to bend the FFC cables in an M shape prior to assembly.
We also noticed that some pins of some through-hole components, most notably the keyswitches and the 4P4C connectors, weren’t soldered in on some boards. We talked to our PCBA supplier who told us that their selective wave soldering machine had been misbehaving and got serviced recently. They will also use a 3-dimensional automated optical inspection machine from this point forward which should greatly reduce defects. The problematic boards will be reworked.
Then we were faced with a couple of bent plates. We have yet to figure out how these plates could possibly bend, but for the time being, we’ll do heavier QA until the cause is revealed and eliminated.
And lastly, a critical piece of launching manufacturing is our custom developed order fulfillment and manufacturing execution system that I’ve been working full steam on in the last couple months. It felt like building a runway while the plane takes off, but the runway has been built just in time, and now the plane is in the air.
Given the above issues, we started up slowly. According to our most recent measurements based on actual production data, we will be able to ship about two mini batches per week, which equals about 120 UHKs and related accessories. Given this pace, we’ll be able to deliver batch 1 by the end of July, so this is our current delivery target. Of course, many of you will get your orders way faster depending on your place in the queue.
Agent and firmware progress
Starting with the latest firmware, it’s now possible to wake up the host computer with a touch of a key. The LED display also gets disabled when the host sleeps to save power. See the firmware changelog and releases.
Agent got a shiny new desktop icon, it now displays the firmware versions running on the halves of your UHK, and can recover UHKs with broken configurations. See the Agent changelog and releases.
The next big milestone is clear: the add-ons. The add-ons clearly differentiate the UHK from every other keyboard in the market, and make it the first and so far only modular keyboard ever created.
Personally, I can’t wait to control the pointer in various ways in a finer grained manner without leaving the home row, and I know that a lot of you share our enthusiasm. I’m sure the journey will be just as exciting as getting there, and as always, we’ll make you part of the journey via these updates.
Thank you for reading this update! The next one will be published on 2018-05-17. In the meantime, feel free to keep checking the delivery status page of your much awaited UHKs.