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Peter Malone
Oct 23, 2017

Requests fro Rev2/Rev3... Will it mean a way I can help?

11 comments

So Corey has been more than up front on the progress. I would like to help more as a backer. I was hoping to be able to test app development, suggest ideas for implementation, bug report etc etc. But right now that seems daunting. Some days I think I can do it, that I could get a pair and be super proactive on polishing this project. Other days, not so much. It seems to be stress-full, time consuming and burdensome. I don't know what would be better, to belong to the earlier group of pre-orders and be more involved with assisting the team as they try to round the square peg corners, and get it to fit into the round hole... Or be more apart, and observer, and reserved... if they don't need advanced testers, and idea people, and skilled programmers developers and technical-digitally advanced artisans, then won't it be more helpful to let the team get feedback from the squeaky wheel testers? Should I relegate myself to the Rev3? I will wait, that's no big deal. But either way, I would like the decision to request rev2 or rev3 to be what is best for the whole. If they want testers who find flaws, report back, and that's the extent of it... That's just not me. Aethetics, Function, Impact, Psychology, the whole blend of classical function and digital tech into one zen piece wearable class... If you want feedback to consider a bit beyond standard and into the incredible details of the product. I will do that and I can happily request Rev 1.

 

So, I guess I want to know... What do they want in a tester? What they could really use the most of?

 

That way if the most effective people are in the correct rev as orders go out, then I'd imagine that would yield the best results for the development and production team. Whatever gives the best product at the end of the day.

 

If I knew the expectation... I would submit the appropriate request.

 

Does anybody else out there think they would determine their decision this way too? Are you waiting for the first 30 people to start testing so you can see what the team has to say about the results from it?

 

I know I am.

 

Ringo Apple
Oct 24, 2017

It depends. Some people want it early because they want to be first in line to try out the new tech, which to me aren't really contributors but tech fanatics. Then you have the ones who only wants it to "show off", these are more likely your marketers. Those who I consider as "Genuine contributors" or testers are those who needs the glass for real life application or things about the glasses that would actually affect their livelihood. For instance, Cab drivers may need easy access to notifications and because it affect his daily life, feedback from these groups would be extremely valuable because if the thing does not work as how it should be in a presented situation, they will be the one suggesting ideas to fix it.

 

For me, I am more towards the tech fanatics group. I just want to get my hand on the tech as soon as possible. I don't really bother and would most likely won't give any constructive feedback apart from complaining if it doesn't work well.

Adam DB
Oct 24, 2017Edited: Oct 24, 2017

I too see myself as a techie, mainly interested because of the technology. I see head-mounted computer interaction as being the next level for personal computing, whether it be Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets for heavy duty tasks or something like the Shima taking over the torch from smartphones.

 

The Shima, in my eyes, seems to be in a league of it's own in it's category at present; I see this as the chance to be at the bleeding edge, and will definitely be delivering feedback on everything from bugs to functionality to design...

 

Because there is the carrot of a Shima Beta at the end, I don't really mind too much which Alpha Rev I receive; there'll be fun to be had at all stages. As it stands, I'm in the Rev 3 group, meaning a longer wait, but also a more polished product, which is fine by me as long as backers from the earlier groups will supply feedback to the rest of us along the way...!

Corey | Founder |
Nov 5, 2017

Peter,

It's mostly up to you. Those who got in early were the bravest pre-order holders I've ever seen. In 2014, the company was just a blog, provisional patents, and some sketches (we didn't even have investors). Now that we have investment and patent applications published (and about a month or so away from some of them being granted) things have become a bit more defined.

 

So here's what I have been trying to communicate to everyone over the past few months:

• Production is immenent (from a hardware perspective). The company is not really doing much R&D and has had full focus on commercialization.

• The first units will be stripped down; but those people will successively get better units, at no cost to them, as they become available. What some people on this forum and other places have been doing is conflating an alpha release from a start-up with strategic investors to the beta or full releases from crowndfunded projects. The key difference is that we wanted feedback from people who actually buy it rather than feedback from those who merely 'say' they would buy it. As a result, the first pre-order holders get units with some 3D printed content and some content that is custom of 'one-off'. We need subjective feedback as not everything (particularly when referring to the human eye) can be simulated. Some of these units may yield perfect images for some and blurry images for others. We want to understand why that is so we can create a model or system for captuing variances in peoples facial geometry and visual acuity before scaling up. (To be really clear: we know what is causing this but we need more data from people to create this model).

• This is our first time sourcing, designing, and building these things. No other company has ever done anything like this before. Shipping a product to hundreds of people is already tough, now imagine being responsible for nearly the 100 components within our eyewear from dozens of vendors with differnt lead times, this takes some time get organized beacuse of the complexity in logistics. So as we bring up all these vendors and components, we will be shipping versions of the eyewear with an increasing percentage of production content (this is were Rev1, Rev2, and Rev3 come from). People early on will face the most problems and delays as we will be fine tuning things and getting some suppliers to "pay attention".

 

If you can deal with what is described above take an earlier rev, if not then default to a later one. In either case, some of the things we will be testing for may seem rudimentary to you but your feeback would be huge to future customers as we scale. We want your feedback from everything from the packing and unboxing experience, to product quailty, connectivity, and acuity. Since the company is structured as an eyewear company there are dozens of little tweaks we can make in one month, that customers the next month will experience.

 

We are askng people to pay full price and in exchange for full price they get to go along with us on our journey to developing a great product. They will have the ability to use early releases and help us fine tune the design to the point where we can ship a commercialization ready product that all wearers will enjoy. (We are basically building in the improvements that you are requesting in real time)

 

I hope this long response adds some clarity.

 

Adam DB
Nov 5, 2017

What can i say... I wish I was an early backer!

 

I'll just patiently wait until we get to Rev 3, and meanwhile I'll be crossing my fingers for comprehensive feedback from the first testers here in this forum...

Corey | Founder |
Nov 5, 2017

It will come soon. October was a growing pain month. November is mostly going tobe filled with organization and the very first glimmers of feedback. We are going to be encouraging people to share the good and the bad.

John Rothstein
Nov 7, 2017

@Corey

 

As great a plan is from the perspective of the founder, I don't think it's a good idea to take it slow for this project anymore. Like you've said, the Alpha is not a full release like the other crowdfunding projects but merely obtaining feedback to better develop the beta/beta bold (This has been done by Oculus, where they came out with Dev Kit 1 and 2 and then gave all Dev kit 1 backers free final consumer version), however you need to realize that this has been dragged on for more than 2 years and like some backers mentioned, the bleeding edge factor will not last long especially when the big names like Carl Zeiss is coming into the picture, let alone giants like Google and Apple.

 

Despite difficulties, Oculus still managed to keep their promises and deliver with minor delay for their Dev Kit versions. They have managed to have a stand in the market because they are among the first to release it (novelty for being the brand that made VR popular) and even established companies like Vive struggled to compete. However, if Carl Zeiss were to officially announce their product next year, do you think Laforge would stand a chance without any reputation in the market and do you think the backers would stay on and wait for your plan to go accordingly or to switch to your competitors?

 

I'm not trying to rush you on the project but by the looks of how things are going and to think that after so long, the "supposedly" production no more than 90 days has turned to "only begun ordering parts" after more than 90 days, things seems to be moving extremely slowly at Laforge. On top of that, the production is on 30 units only, which means the rest 900 or more would have a long wait.

 

Bottom line, I believe most backers are not conflating the Alpha with crowdfunding project release but concern that after so long we aren't even started with the Alpha let alone going on to the beta. We all know that the Alpha is a stripped down version and we don't expect it to work like the final consumer version. We just want the project to get started and also to enjoy the novelty of trying out "casual AR glass" while contributing to the final release that we will be getting anyway.

Corey | Founder |
Nov 7, 2017Edited: Nov 7, 2017

@John Rothstein,

I understand where you are coming from, but I don't think a comparison to oculus is merited. You have to understand that the optics used in a device like the original Oculus were pretty much off the shelf. We had to create new optical designs and manufacturing processes on top of being let down by a key supplier. The orignal Oculus didn't have the same form factor constraints either. I'm not saying it makes Oculus easier than what we are doing (but they certainly did not have as many constraints on the hardware side as we have). Additionally though Oculus/Vive are the winners right now, a huge part of their success can be attributed to first mover advantage and listening to customers. We are attempting to do the same thing. No one has seriously considered executing and AR product to be sold in LensCrafters, rather most west coast companies view AR as a consumer electronics good (huge mistake: shown by billions of dollars going into that strategy and its still not mainstream)

 

In regards to Zeiss SmartOptics Group, they will have to license our IP in order to fully commercialize and distribute their invention, and there have been several conversations betwen the two companies about that.

 

What we have been creating is not only a device, it also a new way to make lenses, and a new way to make frames. If you look at what other companies (such as Zeiss and Microsoft) are doing they are totally different when it comes to form factor and use case. We only really have one shot to get this right (we have not raised tens of millions of dollars and we do not have millions of dollars in pre-orders). If the Company being careful and taking its time to ensure that its future customers don't get sick when using the device (something Oculus didn't do at the beginning) and wants to make sure the eyewear looks like eyewear (something no one else is doing in this industry) is a turnoff to some people then we will probably continue to turn people off. The AR/VR market is no longer in its hype phase and we recognize that execution will be key. We are making an Ophthalmic product with AR features, so in order to engage with eyewear/Ophthalmics industry we have to be up to their standards. For example, our PhantomDisplay lenses (lenses with AR optics embeded inside) are impact resistant, can accept coatings, can accept prescritiptions, and can be produced by any eyewear lab on earth. No other company can make those statements.

 

Finally let's stop calling it "casual AR" and start calling it "Digital Eyewear". We are competing againsts status quo (Luxoticca, Safilo, and Essilor) not Microsoft or any other Tech Company. We are try to replace all 70 million pairs of 'analog' eyewear sold in the US with our digital eyewear platform. The company is moving fast, it normall takes 8 years to get a new lens tech into the market. We thought it was going to take 2, its going to take 3.

 

Please feel free to offer more feedback.

 

 

John Rothstein
Nov 7, 2017Edited: Nov 7, 2017

I'm not an expert on this but your patent has yet to be approved, how sure are you that Zeiss will be the one require to license your IP? Their tech seems to be quite different based on the prototype that they have demoed apart from the similarity being both using reflector to project the image to the eye. Zeiss has a working prototype before 2016 while you file in your patent for "Lens for Displaying a Virtual Image" on 2016. I'm not a legal expert so I do not wish to touch on this subject further. IP or not, I will dive into what is important from the "customer" perspective instead.

 

There will always be variation in form factor and usage but the fundamentals of the product and what attracts the customer will remains the same. Based on the article that I've come across, your competitors are definitely offering more and are more ambitious in terms of the capability and features it will produce.

 

Like I've mentioned earlier, no one expects Alpha to be in the best condition and no backers here are chasing for the Beta Bold or the consumer version. We just want to be part of the Alpha group and have the novelty of trying the glasses as soon as possible. Hence, I don't understand why you would emphasize on the final product so much when all the backers are chasing for is the Alpha, not the final product. You can take your time on your final product and like you said, being careful to ensure the product performs at its peak. We Alpha backers understand that and we know what we have signed up for, hence we are prepared and understand that Alpha is a test and we would like to give you our feedback to better the product. However, it is taking forever just for the Alpha to be released and I believe most of us will have a long wait just to get the Alpha. You are not going to turn off your Alpha backers if the Alpha does not work as great as it seems because we understand that this device is the Oculus dev kit equivalent.

 

Referring back to Zeiss and other competitors, I believe the consumer perspective is to enjoy the novelty of "Digital Eyewear" and if the big players announce their release, I truly believe no one would choose Laforge even if you are pitting the Beta Bold and Zeiss at the same time. It is too late when you have not build your reputation like how Oculus did.

 

Finally, I think your ambitions are leading you astray. Alpha has yet to begun but you've already dived into talking about delivering to the mass market in a short amount of time and what's worse is that you've given an estimate on this instead of working on the product itself. Work on Alpha first, if you can't deliver on your initial stage, how are you going to move fast or be better prepared for your next stage?

 

Corey | Founder |
Nov 7, 2017Edited: Nov 7, 2017

John,

The Patent Application you mention is not the one I was referring to. There are other patents from 2015 and 2014 that apply to Zeiss. We literally beat them to it by a few days. Addtionally, we too were also demoing prototypes as early as 2014 at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. As for them not yet being granted (the speed that patents get granted in not really in the applicants control), we recieved word last month that our first two Patents have allowable material and those should grant in early 2018.

 

In terms of "big players" (again Luxoticca, Essilor, VSP) none of them are getting involved. Outside of Germany, Zeiss doesn't even have 1% market share in most markets. Remember is Zeiss SmartOptics doesn't sell anything, and is a subsidary of Zeiss Vision Group (mentioned above) which is tiny in Comparison to Zeiss Optics (known for selling camera lenses, hunting Optics, &c.)

 

In terms of my abitions, that's your opinion. I'm not here to discuss things that I know aren't true. I will continue to take my time listen to pre-order customers and take feedback to ensure we are building something they want with their input.

 

I apologize for the long wait time.

 

Let's this thread back on track.

Corey | Founder |
Nov 7, 2017

I'd also like to add that I don't think I'm emphasizing the final product that much. If anything I have been emphasizing eye health, user safety, and small form-factor. Perhaps you were conflating our focus on getting manufactuing processes correct with our future ambitions. My goal is to sell about 15,000 units of digital eyewear in 2018 (that's 0.02% market share). In 2019 I'd like to get us to 200,000 units (0.3% market share) these are not huge numbers in the US eyewear market (but would represent more headworn Augmented Reality that have ever been sold) . If we made it to 1 or 2% market share in the US by 2020 that about $350,000,000 in revenues, I would do a backflip. I just want to keep things in context.

Peter Malone
Nov 7, 2017

Thank you Corey. You have helped provide me some resolve.

 

As for the digressions, it would seem that recognizing the significance of this digital eyewear still remains elusive.

 

Digitalisation of social norms and functions is the new frontier.

 

Replacement and integration is happening all around us.

 

But I'm still as impressed now as I have ever been. Pioneering this horizon has many challenges.

 

Whatever newest acrylic formation and manufacturing methods for lense crafting, the evaluation of markets, the business prospects, they are ultimately just foundation work. This is a manuever that is more than resonating with other pivotal moments. The original mechanical timepiece; The mechanical programmable loom; The teletype; and of course the computer. All are innovation way more than clever fancies. They revolutionized the way we live. Digital eyewear is capable of changing our daily lives. Take the time to make it the reality. It's interesting to have nifty tech, but in my opinion it can go farther and have greater impact. So because I feel this way, I'm here to help do it now.

 

Thank you Corey.

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