I’ve had a number of people contact me lately and ask, “What’s up? How come we haven’t heard anything?” Initially I thought, “Gee, I just did an update! Chill!” But then I realized, time flies when you’re in a start-up…
There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes at PulsedLight since our last update, so let’s get to it!
During our meeting with our board assembly house in Bend, they suggested a couple of changes to LIDAR-Lite to make it easier to manufacture. The most important was to go from a completely custom receiver shield to an off-the-shelf design. This part comes on a tape reel and can be placed by an automated assembly machine instead of by hand – a huge cost advantage. Also, if rework is needed to that area of the board, it has a cover that can be removed and replaced easily. To use this part a re-layout that section of the board was needed to make room for the solder pads of the frame, but the cost savings were worth the extra work.
Bob also added a fail-safe circuit to LIDAR-Lite that, under certain conditions, such as someone putting the sensor directly in front of their eye or a single point failure of the hardware, turns off the laser to prevent the possibility of injury.
Since we made a few changes to the design, we have a small build of boards in process to make sure that there are no layout errors or performance issues. Better to learn that now than when we’ve built a couple thousand! If everything goes well, the next build we do will be our first production run!
Our optics are on order and the housing design is evolving nicely. One thing we forgot to include, I almost hesitate to mention this, was a way to attach the sensor to your projects. We had one of those Duh! Moments when it was pointed out to us… So, back to the drawing board… Fortunately, this is not a long lead-time item!
I’m very happy to report that we’ve received extremely favorable pricing from Excelitas for the laser we’ll be using in LIDAR-Lite. They’re very excited by what we’re doing and we appreciate their support. This one component had the potential to be the most costly, so we’re breathing a sigh of relief that we were able to have such good fortune.
Bob is also busy putting the finishing touches on the code for LIDAR-Lite and as soon as that’s complete we can finish putting together the operating manual and application notes. We’re anxious to get this information out to everyone so that you can begin your projects!
We were able to get a few prototypes in the hands of the 3D Robotics software developers and they have been working on preliminary code for the 3DR autopilot systems. A couple members of the Arduino group here in Bend also have a prototype and are working on some code that we’ll post a link to soon.
We met with our eye-safety consultant on April 29th and all I can say is “holy cow!” There is a dizzying array of decisions that needs to be made and a lot of analysis that will need to be done.
Fortunately, the consultant we’re using has considerable experience; in fact he’s served on many of the committees that wrote the certification standards. So, he knows his way around the process and that, combined with his years of experience, should allow us to get through all the testing and paperwork quickly. Once that’s completed, the final report, all 200 pages or so, goes to the FDA. Because the certification is basically a self-declaration by PulsedLight regarding the operating safety of LIDAR-Lite, once it’s submitted we’re able to begin shipping sensors. It’s roughly a 6-week process and we’re very happy we’re getting an early start on it.
I’ve been working on restructuring our social media presence so that it will be easier for us to manage and easier for you to follow and stay informed on what we’re up to!
We’ll continue to post updates like this through Dragon Innovation. But, we’re also working to expand our presence to other media so that you’ll have real time information about our activities.
Our Google+ account has been changed so that it puts all our Google related activities in one place. You only need to know one URL and that will connect you with our latest posts, PulsedLight Community (once it’s established – still a to do item) and YouTube video. Please login and follow us there!
We’ve also added a corporate Twitter account, so if you’ve been following us on Twitter at @PulsedLight (my personal account), our new corporate account is @PulsedLight3D. Make sure you add our new Twitter feed to your list!
Email notifications and announcements related to LIDAR-Lite shipments and other product announcements will also be coming in the future as well as other news we feel is important to our community.
Maker Faire Bay Area!
Our travel plans have us in the San Francisco Bay Area later in the week prior to Maker Faire and we’ve decided to spend the weekend and visit with some of the friends we’ve made along the course of our Crowdfunding program. If you’re following us on Twitter or Google+ I’m sure you’ll see posts from us at the event! Maybe we’ll run into you there too!