Manufacturing Update 6: Our First Injected Kello

 
 

Dear Kelloists,

Things are starting to get really exciting as we’re now getting our first pre-production samples. Check out this month’s progress!   

Tooling and Molds

As stated in our last update, we’re in the process of making our injection molds. The first version of the molds has been released and we have just injected our very first Kello! It’s in black because it makes it easier to see little defects in the plastic.

 
Our first injected prototype

Our first injected prototype

 

The quality of the mold is very good for a first iteration. We do have a few things we need to improve on and it’s perfectly normal, such as the feeling of the snooze or the finishing of some parts. As every Kello we'll make will be injected using these molds, we want to be extremely confident that they are good quality.

Our manufacturer is currently making a new iteration of the molds. We expect a new set of prototypes by the end of next week.

New iOS App

As you know, we already have a fully functioning iOS app, and we have improved its design to have a better coherence with our website, packaging, and brand universe.

We’ve added a few features and we also fixed all the bugs we’ve noticed since we started testing and using Kello (for more than a year now!).

 
 

Android App

Last week we kicked off the development of our Android app and our developer is working on it as we speak. More to come soon.

 
 

Firmware

We’re now putting the final touches to Kello’s firmware. First, we need to be extra sure that it’s completely bug-free as when we’ll ship, we’ll have less control on its most critical parts, and second, we want it to look good.

That’s why we added some nice animations on Kello. We hope you like them!

anim.gif

What’s next? 

Next week we’ll get more prototypes, that we’ll intensively use and test for 2 weeks. In late April, our manufacturer will make another iteration of Kellos that we’ll use for final testing and product certification.

We’re still in line to ship late May and we’re working as hard as we can to meet this deadline.

Manufacturing Update 5: Making of the Molds

 
Modls & Tools.png
 

Dear Kelloists,

We've moving forward in the mass manufacturing process and soon you'll be able to enjoy your Kellos. Here's a roundup of this month's news.

Mold Manufacturing

We're still making the molds used for plastic injection. It's a lengthy process because we only have one shot at this: as every Kello will be made using these molds, their quality has to be perfect.

So far, we're on track and we are visiting our factory on a weekly basis to be sure we're not missing anything.

We made a short video of the manufacturing process of Kello's molds:

Next Steps

The next steps are: 

  • finishing the manufacturing of the molds by mid-March,
  • using them in plastic injection machines and make the first samples of each part,
  • by the end or March, assembling ~20 Kellos using the final tooling and electronic boards.

These 20 Kellos are called Engineering Validation Samples and will be used to refine our manufacturing process (choose the color shade of each parts, their finishing, etc.)

After these steps, we'll run a few iterations and make more and more Kellos until mass production in May.

That's it for today. If you have any question on the mold manufacturing process, shoot in the comments!

Best,

The Kello Team.

      

    Manufacturing Update 4: Design for Manufacturing is Finished

     
    DFM.png
     

    Dear Kelloists,

    We’ve made big progress during the last 2 weeks on manufacturing preparation and electronics design. Here’s a roundup of what we’ve been working on.

    New Microcontroller

    As mentioned in our last update, last December we chose to change the brains of Kello to make them more powerful and future-proof. 

    It took us a few weeks to redesign the whole mother board, and we just got the prototype of our motherboard with the new microcontroller: everything is working as expected.

    The board with the new microcontroller

    The board with the new microcontroller

    This means that we can keep chasing bugs and add features directly on the new motherboard. 

    Design for Manufacturing

    Another big news: we just finished Design for Manufacturing! Our factory worked tirelessly to make the most effective design for Kello without changing its external appearance.

    Kello isn’t an easy product. It has: 

    • a powerful speaker (that can creates all sorts of vibrations),
    • a mechanical snooze button (that must be easily clickable without being flimsy), 
    • and a dozen of other mechanical constraints (LED screen, fabric cover, silicon buttons, light sensor…).

    Each of these constraints is a design challenge that our engineers had to overcome. And the result is impressive: in 8 weeks, our mechanical engineers took our design to the next level.

    Here’s an example of the work done on the “front panel” part of Kello (viewed from behind and without its fabric cover).

    The iterations we made during the last months will make for a more durable and higher quality product.  

    Now we can move towards one of the biggest steps in manufacturing a product: making the plastics injection molds.

    Mass Manufacturing

    Plastic Injection Molds

    To mass manufacture Kello, we’re using the plastic injection technology: liquid plastic is injected with high pressure in big steels moulds.

    These moulds basically are “negatives” of our plastic parts. They need to be carefully designed, then machined with high precision tools, and our factory just started this process.

    Procurement

    Additionally to the mold manufacturing kick off, last week we placed the order for the long lead time electronics components needed to manufacture a few thousands of Kellos. All parts should arrive in time for mass manufacturing.

    Chinese New Year & Next Steps

    On the manufacturing side, the next two weeks will be slow as China is on vacation. We’ll use this time to work on the Kello firmware and on the new version of our iOS and Android apps.

    96e1626734e0946be22dc78a9bb0a8c6_original.png

    Meanwhile, we’ll be posting photos and videos of our progress on Instagram andFacebook. Make sure you’re following us!

    That’s it for today. As always, share your thoughts in the comments!

    The Kello Team.

    Manufacturing Update 3: More Power for Kello

     
     

    Dear Kelloists,

    First things first, we wish you a very happy new year, filled with countless great nights of sleep!

    We’ve been working all December to prepare the manufacturing of Kello. Here’s a roundup of our progress. 

    Design For Manufacturing

    The engineers at our factory spent the last 3 weeks perfecting the design of Kello to improve manufacturability and assembly.

    We’re currently in a validation phase to make sure everything fits nicely inside Kello. Last week, we made another prototype to validate the changes from the design for manufacturing phase.

    Kello ready-for-production prototype

    Kello ready-for-production prototype

    We were very pleased by this prototype, especially by the feel of the “snooze” button: as you know, the whole shell of Kello acts a one big button and we want to: 

    • provide good tactile feedback when pressing the button, 
    • make sure you can easily press anywhere on the shell (front/back/center/right/left) to “snooze”.

    Our engineers did a great job, and the mechanical feedback of the button is really satisfying. We still have a few refinements to do, in particular we want to narrow the gap between the shell and core of the device.

    The Microcontroller Dilemma 

    Like every smart device, Kello has a motherboard with a microcontroller chip that basically acts as the brain of the device (just like the microprocessor inside your phone or your computer).

    Kello’s motherboard and microcontroller (red arrow)

    Kello’s motherboard and microcontroller (red arrow)

    When starting the design of Kello, we chose a microcontroller we thought would fit our needs. As we refine the future of Kello however, we realized that it might not be powerful enough to do everything we want to do.

    While the current controller is enough to deliver everything we promised on Kickstarter, we have a roadmap for more Sleep Programs that will need some additional power.

    So we faced a dilemma: keep the old microcontroller that we validated with a dozen of prototypes, or upgrade it with a more powerful version, spend a few weeks making and validating the new design, and change the firmware to make it compatible?

    It was a tough choice. As we’re committed to deliver the best Kello we can, we chose to upgrade the microcontroller.

    This means that we’re currently redesigning a part of the motherboard. This change will have an impact on Kello’s shipping date, which will be postponed to May 2017 instead of late March 2017.

    We’re sorry for this delay but we feel making a “future-proof” Kello we can upgrade remotely with new features is crucial for making the best product for you. 

    If you have any question on why we changed the microcontroller, feel free to reply to this update!

    New LED screens

    In parallel of the redesign, we have sourced Kello’s key components. During the previous weeks we have secured the LED panels.

    We’ll use a fairly new technology: blue LEDs covered by a special sticker that converts the emitting color from blue to white. It’s pretty impressive to see in person.

    On the left on the picture is the screen without the filter, and on the right is the screen with the filter

    On the left on the picture is the screen without the filter, and on the right is the screen with the filter

    The benefits of such a technology are: 

    • Nice, warm white color, 
    • High longevity (100,000+ hours), 
    • High dimmability.

    We’re currently testing these screens to make sure they’re reliable. 

    Next Steps

    As of now, our next steps are: 

    • order all of the components to make 3000+ Kellos (microcontrollers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, screens...), 
    • start manufacturing the steel tools needed to inject the plastic parts.

    All of this has to be done before the Chinese New Year (China’s 1-month holiday shutdown, starting Jan 20). January will be a big month for Kello, and as always, we’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

    Thanks for your incredible support,

    The Kello Team

      Manufacturing Update 2: Design For Manufacturing Kick-off

       
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      Dear Kelloists,

      Today, we’ll give you an overview of what we’ve done so far and what’s next.

      Manufacturing Status

      We finally received the funds from Kickstarter! We’ve signed the contract with our manufacturer and started to work on the final mechanical and electrical design of Kello.

      Our timeline for the next 4 months is clear:

      We’re currently in the design and test phase.

      During this phase, we work hand in hand with our contract manufacturer to improve our design and make it mass manufacturable using their machines and processes.

      One of our manufacturer’s engineers giving his take on Kello’s design

      One of our manufacturer’s engineers giving his take on Kello’s design

      The goal is to take the mechanical design to the next level while making sure it’s manufacturable. One of the most striking examples is the speaker box design.

      We had quality sound in our prototypes, but the audio experts from our factory found ways to improve it by using a wider metal speaker frame, which enhances the stability of the speaker and removes vibrations and leaking air issues. It’s a lot simpler and stronger!

      The direct result of this change is better sound, simpler assembly, and cleaner design. It’s a win-win! 

      The next step is to make a prototype of this new design and make sure the metal plate doesn’t interfere with the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals.

      That’s it for today. We’re completely focused on manufacturing preparation and we want to make sure you’ll get the best Kello we can make!

      Thanks again for your incredible support! Any questions? Simply REPLY to this update.

      The Kello Team.

        Manufacturing Update 1: What's Next?

         
         

        Dear Kelloists,

        Our Kickstarter campaign is finished, it is now the beginning of a new phase: manufacturing preparation. Let us give you an overview of what’s next.        

        Manufacturing start and next steps

        We have selected a few factories and are currently waiting for the Kickstarter funds to ignite the mass manufacturing process.

        The immediate next step is start working on the design of the plastic injection molds as soon as we get the funds (in a few weeks from now). We will share more details on this phases in a coming update.

        We are also working on the survey to collect you choice of colors and cable. Expect to receive your survey form next week.

                  

        Communicating with you

        We’ll regularly share in the updates our current status, with photos and 3D simulations of the prototypes and the factory, and ask for your opinion on features, ergonomics choices, etc., through polls. We want you to feel part of the adventure!

         

        How will the Kickstarter money be spent?

        Here’s a breakdown of how we plan on spending the money we made on Kickstarter.

        That's it for today. We're very excited to bring Kello to the next level!

        Talk soon,

        The Kello Team.

          We're 645% FUNDED on Kickstarter! Wow!

          It's been quite a journey

          Our campaign is finished, and we're 645% funded. We couldn't be happier. Thank you so much for your undivided support during these 30 days. Time to celebrate... and get back to work!

          We're already working hard to deliver your Kello. As you're now part of the community, we'll send regular updates on our manufacturing journey and ask for your opinion on a regular basis. 

          Let's revolutionize sleep together!

          October 2016 Update – Only 13 more days to back Kello!

           
           

          Whew, these last two weeks have been a whirlwind here at Kello HQ! A quick update:

          • Kello was fully funded in less than two hours. That’s right. We launched at 8am EST on September 20 and smashed our $50,000 USD Kickstarter funding goal by 10am. Thank you to everyone who supported Kello right out of the gate. You know who you are.
             
          • We’re now 521% funded (and still have 13 days to go!). As of this morning, 2,235 backers have pledged $260,537 USD. Incredible. 
             
          • The press loves Kello. Fast Company’s John Brownlee marveled at Kello’s “smarts,” The Verge’s Ashley Carman was intrigued by its “sleep training” capabilities, and Digital Trends’ Luke Dormehl was impressed by Kello’s promise to “actually teach you how to sleep better.” We also got a thumbs up by our friends at Slashgear, PD&D Magazine, TechinAsia, and New Atlas magazine.
             
          • Kickstarter called Kello a “Project We Love”. Last week, we were front-and-center on Kickstarter’s homepage as a “Project We Love.” What an awesome accolade to wake up to!
             
          • Our co-founder shares his sleep journey. Before he quit his job and moved to Hong Kong to start Kello, our co-founder Antoine spent one year trying to “hack” his own sleep. Last week, Startup Grind published Antoine’s fascinating tale about why he chose to dedicate his career to helping others find better sleep. Check it out.

          And now, a word from the Kello community

          One of the best parts of introducing Kello to the world this year has been reading the hundreds of comments, emails and Tweets from the Kello community. We thought it’d be fun to share a few of our favorite ones so far:

          … on why Kello is so beautiful

          “It’s so beautiful you’d want to lick it.” – Gwynaeth

          … on their current alarm clock situation

          “I have a radio alarm clock. It's like Russian roulette. Sometimes you're lucky and you wake up with a good song, but most of the time you try to move as fast as you can to turn it off.” – Sebastian

          “My alarm was the spawn of some dark insidious creature bent on torturing me at the same time Setting me up for a bad day at work all starting with those monotonous beeps from the depths of purgatory.” – Emileigh

          “I wake up every morning to the sound of Dusty Springfield singing Son of a Preacher Man. Obviously, not the real Dusty (she’s dead), so I have to make do with my smartphone as a poor substitute.” – John

          “I use this bomb alarm noise that startles me awake, which I've been told is bad for you.” – Dennis

          “Can I call my begrudging wife an alarm clock?” – Bryan

          … on why they can’t wait for Kello to jumpstart their new nighttime and morning routine

          “Every morning, I choose to be awful and go onto Facebook on my phone for 20 minutes rather than make breakfast. Because I'm an adult.” – Becca

          “I have been feeling for months now that the smartphone is making my mornings worse.” – Julia

          “I try to get to bed early but then I spend another hour playing on my phone. Then I wake up tired and snooze until the last minute. Kello will help me break that cycle.” – Peter

          … on why they love the name Kello

          “My girlfriend's nickname is Kello also!” – John

          … on which Kello features they love the most

          “Banking snooze time is actually kind of cool.” – Jessica

          “I liked how it can progressively wake you earlier without jarring your system.” – Jess

          “I really like that I can connect with Spotify for music, and the 'use up your snoozes' philosophy.” – Melanie

          … on why Kello is poised to win the Sleep Revolution

          “In a world where there are so many things trying to work against our natural health requirements, I am excited that your team has made it a mission to improve the most important one. Sleep.” – Brittany

          “Kello seems like it will fit that bill better than other options on the market, because with a lot of other options the alarm seems like an afterthought rather than the focus.” – Garrett

          “Most companies aren't in the alarm clock game to help the consumer – they just want a clock that will scare you awake. I'm excited to see the finished product on my nightstand soon.” – James

          For more details and updates on our Kickstarter campaign, head on over to http://ks.getkello.com.

          Until next time!

          The Kello Team