Feb 1, 2021: THE MICE HAVE SHIPPED!!!
We know how patiently you have been waiting and we are extremely excited to announce that our beautiful EXOvault Mice have shipped and will be in your loving hands soon! Some of you have already received your mouse and we are excited to hear your feedback after experiencing this unique object. The rest of you should be receiving yours any day now. Be sure and let us know what you think!
Thank you all for your support and patience throughout our journey in bringing this timeless piece of art to life. We hope the wait was worth it and that you enjoy this product as much as we do.
If you have any questions about your order, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
THANK YOU and ENJOY!!
Jan 22, 2021: RELEASING THE RODENTS!
We have the best news! We are beyond thrilled to announce that our beautiful new Exovault Mice are finally ready to be shipped! It has been such an incredibly long journey crafting and producing these gorgeous objects. As you all know, we faced hurdle after hurdle and had to work through many unexpected challenges to bring all the moving parts together in order to complete this project. But it has all been worth it. We are extremely proud of this product and we can’t wait to get it on your desks!
You probably received an email from me yesterday asking you to please confirm your shipping address. Please make sure we have your current address by January 27th so that we will not have any delays to our January 28th ship date. If you did not receive this email or have another issue regarding your shipping address, please let us know at email@example.com. You can also check your shipping address on your Exovault Account Page. The mice are leaving the building on Thursday, January 28th and we’d hate to send these prized objects to someone else!
Finally, we want to express our deepest and most sincere appreciation to all of you. Your support has made this project possible and we are humbled by all of the patience, kindness, and encouragement you have shown us throughout this process. We are so glad to get these mice to you and hope that you will enjoy this product as much as we do.
Jonathan and the Exovault Team
Oct 30, 2020: Photos of the PCBAs being made.
Today we received photos of the PCBA's in production.
This is really good news!
They have been delaying production for a long time it's great to see it actually happening. Once started PCBA production is usually very quick.
Oct 30, 2020: PCBAs should arrive soon.
Despite some issues regarding the PCBA supplier that required us to renegotiate our contract with them, we have some positive news.
The PCBA’s should be done on the 24th or 26th at which time, we will finally be able to move into the final assembly of the remaining units. Although the supplier has not proven to be the most accurate in the past, they are in possession of all the sensors and parts for the production of the PCBAs and we have worked out all known issues that were causing delays. We have an optimistic attitude at this point.
We understand that the delays have been difficult. But we also believe the unique quality of your mouse will be worth the wait and that you will really be happy with your product.
Thank you very much for your patience. We appreciate you all so very much.
Jul 28, 2020: Two batches shipped, but some difficulties with our PCBA supplier.
We have sent out two batches to customers and we have had good responses.
We have been stalled because we are having more issues with our PCBA supplier.
The supplier was having difficulties assembling the PCBA and decided to make some changes to make the mice easier to assemble. These changes have made it easier to assemble but we are having issues with them finishing the project. We are working to sort out the issues and hope to have good news soon.
Our plan is to send out one more batch with Gold and Rhodium and then a final batch to fulfill all the orders.
We understand your frustration and I have been delaying an update waiting for good news. I still hope have good news soon.
May 6, 2020: Shipping first units next week
We are happy to be able to announce that our first units will start shipping next week.
They are beautiful.
Orders will ship in the order that they were received.
This is only the first batch we will continue to make them and ship them as they are ready.
Things continue to be slow, do to the virus and other factors, but we are moving forward.
Apr 16, 2020: The first 130 working units.
As you know EXOvault is based in Brooklyn NY.
We have been shut down due to the Virus. NYC is not allowing any nonessential work to be done at this time. I was sick with the virus. I have recovered and I'm fine now.
We continue to have issues with our PCBA supplier. Specifically, they were having problems mounting the motors. The original design had the motors soldered directly to the PCB. The soldering process was damaging the motors. The PCBA supplier then designed a sub-board for the motors. They have been having issues with assembling this sub-board. Specifically, they had issues aligning the motor with a sensor mounted to the PCB. They now have implemented a new design and bracket that aligns the motor with the sensor.
I understand this has been a difficult wait. We hope to get these first units soon. The state has announced that New York will be shut down until May 15th. We know things are changing rapidly and we hope that we can return to work as soon as possible.
Please stay safe and be careful. I can tell you from personal experience this virus is very dangerous.
Feb 27, 2020: PCBA production is resuming.
We received word that the PCBA factory has begun to resume operations. This is good news! They did say that there are still a lot of people who have not been able to return to work due to travel restrictions. This means that it might still take a while for them to get us the finished PCBA's. We are holding tight and will get your mouse to you soon. Thank you all very much for your patience! We value your support!
Feb 12, 2020: The PCBA factory set to open February 17th
In China, all the factories are required to make a virus protection plan before they are allowed to go back to work. The factory has to file and have approved specific measures to control the spread of this virus in situations where people work closely. They have been working on their plan this week. This is a difficult situation and it's important to all people that they control the spread as best they can.
This means a delay for us. I wish I could say how long the delay will be but I cannot. There will be a huge backlog when they return to work. We are a small project for them so we will not be in the front of the line.
I'm writing the factory daily. They are good people and I hope for the best for them.
Please have faith that I'm working as hard as I can to bring you your mouse.
It will be an object you will love forever but I'm afraid we will have to wait a bit longer.
Feb 4, 2020: Delays due to Coronavirus
We at EXOvault hope that the virus is quickly controlled. We hope for a swift recovery to those infected.
The factory that is producing our PCBA is shut down until at least the 10th.
We will let you know as we hear news from our suppliers.
Jan 16, 2020: Making progress...
We have our final production samples in all colors.
They look and work great!
Our PCBA supplier only made us 200 boards. We thought they made the entire production run but they decided without telling us that they wanted to make 200 first to be careful in case there are issues. This is frustrating but the logic is sound. A set back of 200 is recoverable a set back of 2000 less so. We plan to have 200 assembled next week.
We thank you for your patience we are almost there!
Dec 26, 2019: A few setbacks
We found the dongle was having interference issues. We decided we had to change to different chip and manufacturer. The new chip is made by nordic and works well. This took a week or two to figure out.
We had to reprint the quickstart guide due to an error.
The FCC certification was delayed due to the dongle issue.
Our production dials came in with the wrong color printing. We now have the correct dials.
We really appreciate your patience we hope to have it to you very soon.
Here are the mice are black and silver waiting before assembly.
Dec 1, 2019: Video of Rhodium production sample.
Nov 6, 2019: Photos of production
Nov 4, 2019: Stamping Die
Here is an image of the stamping die we had to produce to make the new hands.
You can see where we stamp out the dial hands. Dies like this are pretty incredible.
Nov 4, 2019: Problem with dial hands.
We had to remake the dial hands. The hands were not connecting to the shaft of the motor correctly.
We had to redesign them and remake them.
This meant making a new stamping die. It was a lot of work.
The new hands have been tested and work well.
Sep 17, 2019: Production sample and packaging
Aug, 28, 2019: Production samples ship this Saturday.
Things are moving forward. Our PCB supplier will be sending final production samples this Saturday.
They had a few setbacks soldering the scroll wheel sensor and the motors to the board. Solder temperatures were too high and damaging the sensor and the small wires in the motors. It's amazing how the dials and scroll wheel sensor have delayed our production. We did not see them as a issue when we started.
It looks like we will be able to ship before the end of September.
Thank you all so much for your support. We will send out a special thank you when we finish this.
Aug 8, 2019: Our mouse has a functioning brain!
The new PC board arrived yesterday.
I'm happy to announce that all major functions work great!
The scrolling issue has been resolved!
We will now start production of the boards.
I have been told that they should take about three weeks to make.
We will then assemble and ship!
Jul 24, 2019: Side dials in operation and prototype footage
Jul 9, 2019: Images of the New PCB.
We just received photos of the new printed circuit board. They look great. We are told that the final prototype should be ready by the end of the week! They have not been great with their time predictions so far but we are close.
Jul 2, 2019: Image of the new PCB
Here is a drawing of the new PCB. They say the one last week had a flaw. They have a new one that tests good they are putting the components on it now. Modern PC boards have very tight tolerances and are best assembled by machine. It is a careful slow process to put the components on by hand.
Jun 26, 2019: Video of the mouse working
Jun 18, 2019: Scroll wheel change and change to USB C
We are still struggling to get the PCB perfect. We sent our sample to PixArt Imaging Inc. They are based in Taiwan. We were able to get a solution to our problem.
The problem was not the 8-bit vs 12-bit, but rather the sensors speed limitation in tracking curved surface. The sensor is made to tack both a curved and flat surface. It can track a flat surface at much higher speed than a curved surface. We were tracking the outside of the scroll wheel. By moving the sensor to the side of the wheel closer to center of the wheel, we increased the sensors ability to track and decreased the information it needed to track. The engineers are great at PixArt and I thank them for helping us diagnose the problem. We are no waiting for a new PCB board to test!
We are cautiously confident this will be our last prototype and we will go into final production soon.
We also changed the connector to USB-C!
Thanks so much for your patience.
Jun 4, 2019: We got a new sample but decided it should be better.
We reviewed the latest PCB board sample. The performance of the scroll wheel was not up to our standard. the other functions are good. I spent the last week learning about the PIXART PAT9125EL. This is the chip that we are using to sense the scroll wheel movement. Its an engineering marvel. A tiny camera light source and computer. It is the future but it has been difficult to integrate as it is new technology.
I believe the issue is still a buffer overrun because the chip by default delivers 12-bit data and the USB HID default for wheel movement is a 8-bit path. I believe I have found the solution. There is a not very well documented 8-bit mode of the PAT9125EL. The engineers are now working to set the chip up in that mode.
Our other solution might be to set up an 12-bit data path for the wheel movement or mathematically convert the info form 12-bit to 8-bit. The 12-bit data path is not standard for scroll wheels so I'm reluctant to go that direction. 12-bit is 16 times more data than 8-bit so if we mathematically remove a lot data we need to make sure its data we don't need. Scroll wheels usually have about 40 ticks per revolution so 8-bit is fine. Our scroll wheel will have much higher resolution but 8-bit should be plenty of room if we set it up correctly.
The engineers should get back to me in the next few days with a solution.
Thanks again for supporting this project.
May 23, 2019: Final prototype ships the 25th
Thank you so much for hanging with us.
Our electronics engineering team will ship us the final PCB prototype on Saturday the 25th. They say all is ready.
We will make sure everything is good. If everything is good we can assemble all the mice and ship in a few weeks!
May 2, 2019: Getting very close.
We have a fully working prototype. The dials and all functions work. We are having some issues with the scroll wheel. Most mice use a optical encoder to register scroll movement. We are using a camera that actually looks at the wheel to register movement. This is the same type of technology that modern mice use to track the main movement.
This will be better than existing scroll wheels as it offers better resolution.
Our original PCB used this sensor and it worked great. Our new development team is having some issues integrating the sensor into the mouse. The issue is the sensor outputs 12 bits of data but Bluetooth is a 8 bit channel. We need to translate the 12 bit data to 8 bit in such a way that your get the right information to the computer.
Essentially we need to get smooth slow wheel movement without overloading the channel when the wheel moves quickly. The 8 bit channel is smaller so we need to exclude some information but make sure we exclude the right information. This can be done and we are working with the sensor manufacture to make it happen.
The Engineering team will meet with the sensor manufacturer in the next few days to solve the issue.
We also found some small mechanical issues with the main buttons. We are making a few small changes to make the buttons work perfectly.
We will be getting the updated PCB in about 4 to 5 days. If all is well then we can have the PCB boards made and you will shortly be getting the most beautiful mouse ever produced!
Apr 18, 2019: Just received the working prototype!
I'm so very excited!
After all this time it's great to have a fully functioning prototype.
I did find some things we need to improve.
The dial work and are really fun but they sometimes display incorrect information. Not bit deal we just need to adjust some programming.
The scroll wheel feels great but also needs a bit of software tweaking.
The mouse connects both with 2.4G and Bluetooth. Both work great but I have always preferred 2.4G.
Here is video of the mouse in operation!!
Thank you all for hanging in with us!
Apr 4, 2019: We are told that the PCB will arrive next week.
We were hoping to get the final PCB board prototype last week. They had a few more details to work out and I was just told I can expect it next week.
The mechanical displays have turned out to be very difficult to make in production. Specifically finding the zero point for the display indicators. It has given to me a lot of respect for watchmakers. We have had many working prototypes so far but to get everything ready for production is difficult.
We recently had to change motors as the supplier we chose had a 6 month wait for the motor we selected. We found another motor but then had to design a new mount for it as it was made to mount differently. Things like this have led to a few redesigns and changes. It's one thing to make and object but to make thousands that all work perfect within a budget is difficult.
We are very excited to get the new PCB next week. I hope to be showing some great video!
Mar 25, 2019: Final Prototype Functional
The new mouse PCB is functioning and integration with the pix art sensors is complete. Wireless communication is successful.
Once all functions are fully tested by the end of the week, we will start final production.
The machining is done.
We estimate 1-2 weeks to produce the PCB boards themselves and to complete the mouse.
We are still looking at a late April Ship date!
The EXOvault Team
Mar 15, 2019: New PCB design to start testing.
Our new engineering team has finished the new design of the mouse PCB.
They have the new boards and will now assemble them to do testing.
They say it will take between 10-14 days to complete production after the testing is finished.
Mar 5, 2019: We want to apologize and explain the delay in shipping the mouse.
We hired an electrical engineer to design the PCB board last March. He assured us that it would be ready for production in November. The board design was not ready in November. He continued to tell us the design would be ready in a week or two. He did not finish the design until January. The prototypes came back in January and we realized his design was very hard to produce and he did not know how to program the board. We hired outside programmers. We had all the parts working separately but not as an integrated whole. The last thing to be figured out was that finding the zero point for the display motors. He told us for three weeks he would have that finished at the end of the day. At the end those three weeks, we had to pull the plug and go with a larger engineering firm that has designed mice before. That was about three weeks ago. I had to take out a loan in order to pay for this new firm. I was reluctant to let you know of the specifics of our difficulties as I was hoping they would be overcome as I was being told that we were only days away from a final design.
I take responsibility for my choice of trusting the engineer. We will bring this product to market. As an apology to all of you for waiting, we will give all of you a 30% discount code for other EXOvault products with your mouse.
Please accept my sincerest apologies.
The new Design firm plans to have the board ready for production in a few weeks.
Feb 7, 2019: Video of dial working.
We have made the mechanical parts and our amazing chassis is waiting for a brain. The PCB board required some revisions to allow for ease of production and small design improvements. The original timeline had us finishing the PCB design in November and we regret to be behind. The good news is we have a met all the design objectives and have a programmed, working design ready for production. The PCB board will be produced in China and the whole country is currently on holiday for Chinese New Year. They will return to work in a week and we hope to have the PCB boards being produced right after that.
I pushed the limits of EXOvault past work with this project. Though I have years of experience with design and mechanical engineering, my experience with state of the art embedded connected software is more limited. Therefore, I brought in a gifted engineer to do the PCB board. He cares deeply about the quality of the product. No bit of code or PCB design leaves his desk before it is perfect. This is the heart of the delay he cares more about the end result than the deadline. The upside of this is your mouse will be truly a state of the art piece of technology. Believe me when I say I share your frustration with the time it has taken us to bring this mouse to you. Please understand that it will be worth it. This mouse will be exceptional.
We hope to be shipping in a few weeks. Included is a short video of the mechanical dial in operation.
Dec 7, 2018: Our PCB board is ready for production. A month delay.
The electronics behind this mouse are no joke. Traces, holes, masks, daughter board and 84 components each one placed with precision to let the electrons flow just so. This PCB is a bit more complicated than one might envision for a simple device. In our modern age, nothing is simple but this mouse will be awesome.
All the extra work has put us about a month behind. We now plan to ship in the beginning of January.
The production of the mechanical parts is going excellent. Below are production photos.
Nov 19, 2018: PCB boards are amazing and complicated.
We have been busy getting our PCB perfect. The current evolution of electrical engineering is an amazing thing to be a part of. The IC we are using will draw less current than the natural discharge rate of the battery in its sleep mode. It will be able to go into sleep mode as you read this sentence. To make all these things come together in a product is a lot of work. We have started production of the mechanical parts but the PCB has been holding us back a bit. We hope to have it ready this week. The good part is the boards can be made very quickly once the design is ready. We have also had a few delays with the survey. It will go out in stages and we know most of what we need to know already. We will start sending out surveys this week. We have been focused on making sure the PCB is right. Thank you so much for your support we are still hoping to ship in December we will keep you up to date.
Nov 4, 2018: Busy with Production...
We have ordered thousands of little parts. We have metal and wood getting ready for machining. We are programming the IC and laying out the final board. We have been busy. We will try for a weekly or bi-weekly update with more specifics and photos. We are really excited to make our first production samples in the next week or two and show them to you. We will send out a survey this week.