February might be the shortest month of the year, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that based on the laundry list of developments and milestones we’ve achieved. Since our last update, we have:
- Built and continued testing on a new pre-production M1™
- Presented at the 2016 Innovation World Cup in Barcelona, Spain
- Sent Brian on his third trip to Asia to coordinate with our suppliers
- Successfully enabled bluetooth M1 throttle control via the Vision™ Mobile iOS App
- Hired a new Mechanical Engineer: Jack Bell
- Secured additional work-space for receiving parts and assembling boards
- Redesigned LED lenses for easier manufacturing & replacement
- Revised the battery enclosure for increased water resistance rating
- Continued motor controller firmware development and testing
- Purchased our second Form Labs 3D Printer
Introducing Our Latest M1™
Performance testing has continued to roll forward on a brand new pre-production M1. Up to this point, each of our prototype M1 models have held components at various stages of development. With this current build, we combined the latest version of every component into one build, including the PowerShift Battery, battery enclosure and motor controller. This is the closest to a final production board we've ever built and it’s assembled with all Inboard-engineered and designed parts… and the performance? It’s outstanding! Check out the video below for initial demonstrations of acceleration, braking and hill climbing.
Brian’s Trip to Asia & New Decks
Inboard Product Director Brian Eiseman completed his third trip to Asia this month to further coordinate, spot check, and obtain samples from our suppliers. During his visit Brian was able to visit with our deck manufacturing facility and pick up some fresh deck samples!
As you may remember, early prototypes of the M1 deck were built using Hydroflex Technology. Unfortunately, Hydroflex is no longer manufacturing skateboards. Since learning this, we’ve been actively vetting alternative manufacturers. After a lot of searching and even more samples, we’re happy to announce we’ve found a manufacturer that meets all of our standards in quality, consistency and ease of communication. Our new deck manufacturer not only offers high quality and build, but has the capability to scale production at the speed and quantities we’re anticipating. They will also take on the injection molding and installation of the LED and battery/motor controller compartment sub assemblies, greatly expediting the production process for each M1.
IoT Innovation of the Year Trip
On the 24th of February Ryan flew to Barcelona, Spain to present Inboard at the 2016 Innovation World Cup, in partnership with WT | Wearable Technology Conference and the Mobile World Congress, for the Innovation of the Year in the Mobility category.
The event was a great opportunity to meet other companies in the mobility space and continue to build upon on our exposure in the EU. In addition to presenting at the event, Ryan was also able to meet with two of our European distributors, two investors, and our old friends at The Verge.
Revised Battery Enclosure
In order to speed up the process for FCC, CE, & UL certification, we had a compliance specialist visit the office last month to review our current components. One issue raised involved the sealing of the battery enclosure.
Because we’re utilizing a 40v battery in the M1, we were advised that in addition to designing the battery pack to high degree of water resistance, we would also need a higher water resistance rating for the entire battery enclosure within the deck. This was a significant redesign and slightly delayed the release of the battery enclosure CAD, however it should expedite the certification process and help us avoid further revisions later.
Revised LED Lenses
The M1 received an updated LED lens design that is now the same for each of the four lights on the nose and tail of the M1.
This will make the LEDs easier to manufacture and very simple to replace, without the need for choosing specific lens models for the front or rear of the M1.
New Mechanical Engineer
In order to speed up Inboard’s HALT (highly accelerated life testing) and beta testing program, we needed an experienced Mechanical Engineer to focus on executing this critical area of development while also being responsible for logging and analyzing the resulting data. We’re thrilled to bring on board Jack Bell for this role. Jack has the skills for managing this testing program while also being a CAD wizard who can help structure our revision database.
Late in February Theo finished testing and submitted final approval for our wheel designs.
This kicked off our molding for these components and we’re on schedule for shipping these final materials in April.
Vision™ Mobile App M1 Throttle Control
Another big milestone achieved in February was the handshake between the M1 motor controller and the Vision Mobile App. Today we’re able to fully control the throttle of the M1 directly from the Vision App.
We’re continuing to work on creating a BLE connection hierarchy when pairing both the RFLX Remote for control and the Vision Mobile App for data readouts and profile switching. Basically when both the remote and the app are connected to the board, the RFLX Remote will always control the throttle, while the app will be free to control other secondary functions. When the remote is not paired, the app will be free to control the throttle as well. Other app functions will be coming online throughout the next several weeks.
Over the past several months we’ve made huge strides in bringing the M1 closer to shipping. Launch suppliers have been chosen, final designs and purchase orders have been submitted, and molds and tooling created. To prepare for the arrival of final components, we have secured 800 sq/ft of additional space downstairs from our current office that we will begin to utilize on April 1. This space will also be used for engineering to house our dynamometer, drill presses, grinder, 3D printers, welders, and additional test fixtures.
This month Theo is flying to Asia to meet with our motor supplier to spot check the first batch of production Manta Drive motors before they ship. Theo will be checking encoder placement, manufacturing consistency and taking an M1 with him to ride the new motors over the course of the week. Upon Theo’s approval, the factory will ship the first batch of production Manta Drive motors to the US for M1 assembly.
While this is happening, Nate and Dave on the marketing team will be launching the development of a brand new version of our website, Inboardskate.com. Major goals for the new website include a fully responsive design with a big focus on customer service and support. The site will feature universal login between the website and the Vision Mobile App, a thorough knowledge base, and the ability to immediately contact Inboard customer support if needed. Long story short, the next iteration of our site will ensure our riders have the best support possible as they receive their boards.
As it stands now we are on schedule for shipping the first batch of units at the end of April. This timeline is heavily dependent on the final stages of testing, and we will keep everyone up to date as we progress through this process.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can't wait to ride with you soon!
The Inboard Team