The last stretch goal began when we became 1000% funded on Kickstarter. If we reached $700,000 in funding, we would develop and produce three Memoto accessories: the Memoto Wifi dock, the waterproof case and the wide-angle lens. Since we finished our Kickstarter campaign before we reached the $700,000 mark, we decided to keep it going using the pre-orders from Memoto.com. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of everything else we’ve got going on (bringing you the incredible product you’re expecting), so we thought keeping this goal and it’s reward in the back of our minds will help guide us in the future. We’re happy to announce we’ve reached the our goal and now we know what the future will hold!
If you’re wondering what a stretch goal is, check out our previous post.
Don’t worry, we won’t get started on these accessories until your Memoto cameras are on their way to you. So, speaking of the camera, here’s what’s going on:
In January, we told you about the issue we were having with the GPS antenna reception. We were a little disappointed that it couldn’t easily be fixed but glad to have the chance to make the camera the best it can be. Although it’s taken a few more weeks than we anticipated, we’re happy to announce we’re making big progress! Our radio and antenna designers have evaluated and measured several choices of antenna types for inclusion into the Memoto camera – both off-the-shelf antennas and custom designs. The main challenges have been to get good enough reception from the relatively small product size and to avoid the interference due to the closeness and shielding effect of the human body. Now we believe we have finalized a completely new design which is currently being manufactured for field-testing. At the same time, we have measured and verified every part of the radio frequency pathway in the GPS circuits to make sure it too is up to spec. In the photo below, you see the measurement chamber (called a StarGate) while measuring the radiation reception pattern for the new antenna.
Our firmware and electronics engineers have been optimizing the power consumption pattern to make sure the battery lasts as long as possible. One of the critical technologies to get into place and verify was the cold-sleep shutdown between image-grabbing. Essentially, everything in the camera shuts down completely including the CPU while the memory is retained, enabling a very low standby power draw (much like mobile phones work), leaving most of the power to use for actually grabbing and storing the images.
New Camera Modules
We received the release candidate camera modules from the manufacturer this week, which have significantly less power draw than the modules we’ve been using before. We’re currently testing and verifying the optimal focus distance to set and lock for the mass-production so that we get good images at infinite distance while still getting as good focus as possible for close subjects.
The plastic mold manufacturing is underway. Due to the uncertainty of whether the GPS antenna redesign would require any changes in the plastic, this had been on hold, but now as it seems that the antenna is being solved without requiring any mechanical modifications we can proceed at full speed again. While the mold is being manufactured, we will also be making the final evaluation and decision of the pigments for the Memoto camera’s colors. At the same time, we’re making the final decisions on the packaging to use for shipping the cameras.
Pre-production and Mass Production
All the components for the cameras are currently on their way to our manufacturing partner in Taiwan where a trial production of a couple of dozen units will be assembled during March (using 3D-printed or quick-tooled plastic cases as the real mold will not be ready by then), with the goal of increasing the rate to produce the mass-production batches of thousands of cameras during April.
Happy Birthday, Memoto
Last but not least – Friday was our one year anniversary!