Update: June 2017 Recap/ July 2017 Preview
(5 min read)
June was a very busy month for me and my partners at LAFORGE Optical. So much so, that I am just going to give you the highlights here and have you guys monitor our Facebook page over the next week to get more details via the company blog.
Let’s hop into this update!
June 2017 recap:
New socialFLO website: Though socialFLO.com was launched just several months ago, I was not pleased with it and decided to update the look of the site as well provide more details for potential future developers and designers. More examples concerning the design and development of mods will be released on the company blog in the coming days. Please note that everything on the socialFLO website is just a starting point, and more details and features are going to be added to it as the future product developments allow.
More 3rd party mod concepts were added. Please take a look at these to get an idea of what other people are doing and thinking about developing.
Forums Fubar: Earlier in the month, we had a major “oops” moment while transferring data. This lead to many of the forum responses not being displayed and many of the posts’ authorship being changed to “Admin” (there is no user named “Admin”). We are working with the forum platform provider, Wix, on a fix. They have assured us that they are working a solution that will recover and re-index the data. That being stated, nothing is currently wrong with Forums, and we encourage you to continue using them.
Experiment 1 continues: Over the past several weeks we have been conducting focus groups for experiment 1, the socialFLO app. The purpose of socialFLO is to configure your eyewear in a variety of ways and to quickly display information that is relevant to you and your eyewear for diagnostic, troubleshooting, and other purposes. Though I will go into more detail on our company blog in July, I will say that nearly everyone found the v0.1.0 of the socialFLO app to be easy to use but would like a bit more consistency between screens, slightly larger fonts, greater contrast between the buttons and the background, and would like some lesser used functions to be buried deeper in settings section. Some of these changes will take place starting on Monday. Starting on Monday, those who are involved with the focus group will be using v0.1.1 of socialFLO. Again, I will detail these changes shortly after they have been posted.
Alpha Lens Production will start in no fewer than 30 days but no more than 90 days. The internal review showed that we had a set of conflicting standards around quality when it came to our optics. This lead to a non-critical design element of our lens assembly failing our supplier’s production standards. As this design element was the result of a series of improvements to our new lens design from April 2017, we will be rolling back the design to an earlier one. The result of this will be a design that is more time consuming and expensive. In spite of those two things, we will be going forward the older design. This will allow us to demo our new lens tech and new frames to the press and public. Currently, we have been demoing the lens and frames separately along-side a prototype that is about a year older than our latest advances of technology.
Work began on a new LAFORGE Optical eCommerce site. We have already moved over 8,000 accounts to this new site. The new site should go live in a week or so. As with the previous site, we are making changes based on feedback from existing and potential customers, as well as based on activity that we monitor on our site. Expect a simpler landing page, a new login schema, and a different feel to your account page. We will temporarily be turning off the ability for users to upload prescriptions. The PD measurement tool will be turned off for several months, but it will return before the beta release. Online eye exams will disappear altogether, as it proved to not be as popular a feature as we expected.
The company has received multiple licensing offers for some of its intellectual property and is currently negotiating the terms of this agreement. The output of this will be a product made by another company that will be “powered by LAFORGE Optical”. As we mentioned on the about page of LAFORGE XD, we have been working with several other companies, behind the scenes, as a way for us to accelerate the advancement and adoption of digital eyewear products. Some alpha wearers may receive an early version of this product for free in exchange for their continued feedback. More on this once we are allowed to tell more.
The Company participated in Two public product demos. As we get closer and closer to the release of the alpha product, I have gotten more comfortable with letting people see what we have been working on by demoing our lens tech and letting people try-on a version of our alpha prototype and another version of its predecessor. If you are in the LA area and want to check out our prototypes, please keep an eye out on UploadLA’s events calendar.
API planning resumed: As we stated in a previous update, we were going to accelerate the release of the API by several months; this is still the case. We are now focusing our attention of finishing up a system that will allow for mock replies. We wanted this done in June, but have changed our development strategy now that we have been given access to additional resources.
Here are some quick highlights of what we have in store for July
LAFORGE API development begins July 3rd, 2017
LAFORGE is creating a system for developers to get replies from a mock API, so some of you can begin writing code.
LAFORGE Optical will relaunch its eCommerce site. This mostly represents a platform change; we will be moving from PrestaShop to Shopify.
LAFORGE Beta, Beta Bold, and “Product 2B” the processor speed will be increased from 141 MHz to 1 GHz. This is thanks to a new chip supplier that we announce in July or August.
Experiment 3: SocialFlo for developers, will begin. We are working to test out some UI elements for a set of developer tools.
Corey Mack CEO & Head of Design LAFORGE Optical