Augmented Reality glasses that open up a whole new holographic game space.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
2020 Year in Review
19 days ago
– Tue, Jan 05, 2021 at 02:06:38 AM
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been *a* year. So much disruption in all of our personal lives, in our work and even in how we usually like to have fun and relax has brought unexpected ups and downs for our team, for our manufacturing and game dev partners, and for you our backers. It has been a challenging year across the board, and as with all worthwhile challenges and main quests, it’s critical to celebrate victories, milestones, and treasured moments along the way.
This was sooo much fun! In this challenge, participants submitted screenshots of their fastest map runs and/or top scores on a single map. We loved seeing your top scores, creativity and excitement over this beautifully crafted game. Thank you for all your submissions, we’re excited to run more contests in 2021!
Wallace Wattles, the American New Thought author once wrote, “It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way.” We believe in giving developers the best tools possible, and in our responsibility as creators to use our tools for good. The Unity SDK Preview is the first step of many in making Tilt Five fun to build for and we're excited to see our tooling continue to improve and be more helpful for developers and creators. See the setup video guide HERE.
It’s always a bit nerve wracking to let someone else toss your babies around, but we knew our first early test glass to see the light of day were in good hands with our small group of partners and local testers. They’ve been very gracious and candid in their feedback and the rest of our backers will greatly benefit from this group’s willingness to put up with early hardware wonkiness.
Joe is our hero in China, on the manufacturing floor keeping that essential flow of information, communication, and improvement possible. The challenges of hardware manufacturing are very real even in the best of times, and it’s so easy to miss a beat if communication is not carefully handled. Joe has helped manage these communications so well and we’re so fortunate to have him working with us!
Manufacturing can sometimes seem like a black box, where a button is pressed, and out pops a finished product. In reality, there is an enormous amount of back and forth between us and our manufacturer partners testing, prepping, and debugging and doing it again and again. This isn’t just for the first batch either, but is a continuous process to ensure quality for following batches as well. Here we were very proud to see the first parts ready for inspection before sending back for next steps.
Early tests thankfully uncovered a strange issue we hadn’t planned for, insufficient glue application on the projectors! Sometimes it's the little things you don’t expect that can bring some manufacturing heartache and essential learning opportunities. Future units will have a more robust build as a result of these early tests.
We love seeing all the hardware components for the headset and Wand come together, each with their own unique and complex production process, testing, calibration, and debugging mechanisms.
This is another area of manufacturing that’s easy to underestimate and overlook from a casual outside perspective. We’re building something that’s never been built before. Manufacturers don’t have the tools, software, and ROBOTS needed for testing and calibration our hardware so it was our great pleasure to build them ourselves! These robots, tools, and software all take time to build and test and implement into the manufacturing process and are worth the care.
Hoorah! You believed in us first, and because of your enthusiasm and pre-orders, our venture friends wanted to join in the fun and make sure we’re able to get you your headsets, get great games on the platform, and keep moving above and beyond.
Our most recent major milestone has kept us very preoccupied. We’ve been prepping fixtures and our robots for the last many weeks and are shipping them now to the factory so that they can use all this equipment for next steps in manufacturing.
Throughout 2020, multiple manufacturing partners all over the world have been making all the necessary components for the Tilt Five headset and Wand. Then we’ve spent time hand assembling and testing and testing and testing these components to plan for any adjustments where needed. Now we’re transferring these raw components in bigger bulk quantities, converging in Shenzhen, China. This process takes time and careful coordination each step of the way.
We’re grateful for our team and partners who have all done their best to push through the gauntlet that is 2020 and move towards the promised land. We’ve worked with the resources available to us with all their constraints and with a fair bit of creativity and teamwork we’ve come out in fair shape, more fortunate than many companies have fared in such a difficult year.
Last but not least, we are incredibly fortunate and grateful to have such amazing backers supporting us on Kickstarter, on Twitter, in Discord, and everywhere else. Your support and enthusiasm has kept our spirits up throughout the year. We’re committed to making the best product possible and we want you to know that we’re …
Cheers to you all and have a Happy New Year!
-The Tilt Five Team
Wands, and Fixtures, New Team Members! Oh my!
about 2 months ago
– Sat, Dec 05, 2020 at 06:02:18 PM
Hey everybody! As we approach the end of the year, we’re hitting some important milestones and are excited to share our latest news.
We're still targeting Q1 2021 to ship Beta and Kickstarter units. We’re an optimistic and practical bunch, and it's an interesting challenge to look at our milestones, consider the potential sticking points outside of our control where shipping might be delayed (like a pandemic!), and working out an accurate shipping schedule for you all. Hardware preparation for manufacturing and assembly is going as well as can be expected considering the current travel restrictions and extra time needed for shipping and communications. Normally we would have a larger presence onsite at our manufacturers for actively debugging and testing the process for assembling our glasses, wands, and boards, and we’re grateful for the teams we’re working with remotely to get you your headsets as quickly as possible. The software required for manufacturing and quality testing is a major focus for us right now. Our shipping timelines depend on the software (in the form of firmware, but also our software tools that we give to developers) as well as hardware components so it's a delicate dance with our resources and manufacturers.
This is a Unity demo utility our resident control wizards Brian and Bob built to help test if the Wand is online and paired to your PC. While testing, the demo utility gives us a report about the Wand’s paired status. This demo utility is an essential testing mechanism that helps us see how the Wand will run smoothly with Unity while we implement the rest of the control schemes. In this demo utility, the Wand is talking directly to the PC through a Nordic dongle. Interestingly, this demo utility is part of the User Interface we’re building for our factory programming and test stations, allowing assembly line operators to test even more quickly and test Wands without needing Tilt Five glasses in the testing loop.
We spent some time designing, iterating, and testing 3D printed Wand fixtures, lovingly called our “Rocketship” fixtures, and prepping them to ship to our manufacturers in China. This small piece plays an important part in the assembly line. There’s an electrical contact on the fixture where batteries would normally go, to power the Wand during testing. Assembly line operators will pop the Wand into the Rocketship fixture to test the joystick and buttons using the Wand Testing software mentioned above.
Have a safe trip!
Behold! These are the crates we’re sending a ton of stuff to our manufacturers for final assemblies: Wobulator, gproj (Glasses Projector = gproj), NUC computers, mini monitors, stepper motors and controllers, PLA parts, gproj fixtures, IR LED electronics that light up a dot grid pattern used in calibration, FLIR Cameras, acrylic sheets, emergency STOP buttons (important one), PUSH buttons for starting units (we’re using pinball cabinet buttons babyyy), power strips, HDMI and USB cables, soundproofing foam, some IKEA cabinets (might take longer to assemble these than our assembly line ba dum tsss), microphones, packaging material and a partridge in a pear tree.
Growing the Team
We wouldn’t be here without the amazing support of you, the backers. You believed in our vision before investment resources came into the scene, and it was your trust that has helped us push forward these last many months.
Thank you for celebrating our round of funding with us! This extra boost in resources has allowed us to add some new members to our team to help speed up production and make your Tilt Five experience even more amazing.
When I'm not working, I'm a goofball who enjoys bowling and Tequila! (and yeah, I'm the dork who has her own ball, bowling shoes, and rolling bag). My passion is art and cooking. Did I mention, I LOVE FOOD!? My role model and best friend is my Mom. My biggest pet peeve: inconsiderate people. I prefer street smarts over book smarts (if I had to choose). The one thing that helps me overcome any life's challenges has always been my family. All time favorite number since 2nd grade has been 5 (main reason why I joined Tilt5) LOL j/k My favorite quote: "There are NO shortcuts to success"
Hey I’m Joe, your friendly neighborhood developer relations guy! My first memory playing games was playing Simon, I'm sure I was terrible, and my sister and I grew up on board games like Life, backgammon, Yahtzee and Jumanji. Once I started playing video games on my Sega Genesis there was no turning back. Growing up my mom made me read as many minutes as I wanted to play, sooo I read a TON! When not working you’ll find me cooking or playing Forbidden Sky with my kids. If Kirby were to inhale me in battle, he would have the ability of mediocre hip hop rhymes.
So what does this news mean? As a start-up, venture funding is an integral piece in growing the company, and this round of funding will enable us to expand our team and secure more games, applications, and content.
Our Team is Growing, and that means more Games!
We're extremely proud of our small team and everything we've been able to accomplish so far, and with this funding we'll be able to bring on additional team members to help us get even more done.
We've already got some great games lined up for you, from developers like Tabletopia, HappyGiant, Niffler, PlayStack, Beatshapers, Playito, Monocle Society, Deck13, GFX47, and Battle Map Studio. And now, with additional team members coming on board, we'll be able to reach out to even more developers, opening up the content pipeline, so we can bring you more games and applications!
If you, or someone you know, is passionate about the work we're doing, we'd love to hear from you. Take a look at our current job openings here. We'll have even more positions opening soon, so if you feel that you have valuable skills to bring to the team, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com.
Bring on the Robots!
4 months ago
– Wed, Oct 07, 2020 at 07:32:12 PM
New parts have arrived!
In our last update we let everyone know that we had discovered issues with the gluing of optical parts in our micro projectors. We're happy to report that since then we've received new projectors, and we've been testing them at length to ensure everything has been fixed and they are of high quality. We're incredibly thankful to our optics manufacturer for jumping on this and delivering us new projectors in less than four weeks.
In addition to receiving the new projectors, we've also received samples of our custom USB-C cable and wand tubes. The USB-C cable has a custom over molded feature that slides into the back of the glasses, with special grooves to keep the cable from pulling out. The cable itself is also very flexible and is angled to direct the cable down along the left glasses ear piece, making it very comfortable when wearing the glasses. We're really pleased with the look and feel of the cable, and we think you will be too.
The wand tube is also quite special. It is made of plastic that looks completely opaque black, even when shining light through it, and yet it can pass Infrared (IR) light. This is similar to the plastic material used in tv remotes, although the material we used doesn't have the typical purple look to it. It took a while to find a manufacturer who could secure the special material that we wanted to use for this part, so we were very excited to get the completed tubes for testing. At this point, all of the wand tubes have been produced for the Kickstarter and pre-order kits, and they will be heading off to the final assembly location.
Here's a gif showing some testing we did with the wands, lighting up the IR LEDs with different tracking patterns. This view is taken directly through the Head Tracking camera in the glasses. Here you can clearly see that the IR light shows through the black plastic wand tip.
Bring on the robots!
We've been busy preparing for final assembly in China, and part of that preparation has been to build and ship testing fixtures, aka robots. Following are some fun gifs showing some of the robots and fixtures we've been building and testing prior to shipping them off to our final assembly partner in China.
This first robot moves the glasses into various positions, and the left and right projectors flash a set of patterns at each position. It's actually quite hypnotic to watch. If you look close in this gif you may catch some of the patterns being flashed on the board.
This next robot is one that we lovingly refer to as the Wobulator, not to be confused with a wobbulator (two Bs), which was used to tune AM radios back in the day or the Wobbulator (two Bs and capitalized), from Tel-Instrument Company. Our Wobulator tests various aspects of the glasses by swinging them around in different patterns.
This next fixture is used to program the wand PCBs. It uses small spring loaded pins, called pogo pins, that touch off on parts of the printed circuit board (PCB) and enable us to flash firmware onto the boards and test the radio. This fixture also has phototransistors that can detect the infrared (IR) LEDs on the boards, allowing us to ensure that all of the IR LEDs are functioning properly. These are the IR LEDs that show through the black tube that we mentioned earlier.
These are just a few of the robots and fixtures that we've been building that will assist with automation, validation, and testing in the factory during final assembly.
We know all of you are anxious for an updated eta on when the kits will start shipping. This year has thrown a big old wrench into the works, for everyone involved in manufacturing. Our inability to travel to our manufacturing partners has introduced delays we weren't anticipating. Typically we could be on site with our partners, building fixtures, debugging the manufacturing process, and ensuring a level of quality in all of our parts. Now we have to do smaller steps, shipping samples back and forth between the various factories that we're working with, and some things that would typically take days now take weeks to work through. We're continuing to make steady progress, and as soon as we're sure of the ship dates we'll let all of you know right away.
We value all of you, and we really appreciate your patience as we work through all of this.
August Manufacturing Update
5 months ago
– Wed, Aug 26, 2020 at 10:03:31 PM
We know you all are anxious to hear how manufacturing is progressing, and we want to let all of you know that we're still making steady progress. We just completed the first run of mechanical parts for the LE and XE kits, including the group packs, and we're now in production of the precision optics and electronic components for those kits. Once we have all of the parts they will be shipped to our manufacturer who will handle final assembly and testing.
Here's a shot of the newest ARCHIE board for the glasses, which is currently in production:
Early Beta Kit Update
In our update last month we let everyone know that we have all of the parts for the Early Beta kits in hand, and we've been assembling and preparing them for shipping. We sent out a few of the kits to a very small group, and they have been invaluable assisting us with tracking down some issues that we are currently addressing.
One of the items that we're addressing involves a gluing issue in the precision optics for the micro HD projectors. These micro projectors are custom built for the Tilt Five glasses. Each projector is about the size of two sugar cubes.
For some additional perspective, the tiny lens barrel on these micro projectors contain multiple tiny lenses in them, much like a larger DSLR camera lens would have. Just look at how adorable these little lenses are:
A single micro projector has about 35 mechanical and optical components in them, and there are two of these micro projectors in every pair of Tilt Five glasses.
These optical components are held in place with mechanical features and glue. What we discovered, with the help of our backers and developers that received the very first Early Beta kits, is that the glue was failing on a limited number of micro projectors. Obviously this is something that needed to be addressed right away, as we would prefer that 0% of our micro projectors have issues. No fear though, this is all part of the manufacturing process, and catching these issues early ensures that we will have a great product for all of you once we ship. Plus, our manufacturing partner has been super helpful in immediately addressing and correcting the issue. They're in the process of sending us improved projectors now.
Here's a shot of one of the components that was having glue failure, due to insufficient glue application (component with red dot):
Hint: This is not supposed to be tilted like this! This is a cube beam splitter, which is used to direct light onto the liquid crystal on silicon display (LCOS).
We are so thankful to all of you for your support this year. We know it's been a rough year for everyone, and your continued support means the world to us. We're so grateful and excited that you're all on this journey with us. See you at the next update.