We are continuing to move forward with the Wellshell and wanted to give you another status update.

wellshell-in-hand


Plastic Shell

We have had major success in solving the considerable deformation of the Lower Lid that used to cause an over-sized gap between the two lids. As you may remember from earlier updates, this turned out to be due to the over-molding of the Lower Lid with the internal chassis that was twisting after cooling down because of the difference in the thermal properties of the two materials. To fix this we had to substitute the over-molding with individual molding of the two parts and glue them in the post process, and this solution is working wonderfully!

We have also finished an elaborate rework of the tooling for the Upper Lid. As a result, we now have rounded edges right off the mold, so that we do not need to do this manually, and the quality of the edge is much better.

Meanwhile, we have found that there is a microscopic jaggedness on the edge over the USB port – due to limitations of the molding technology this still requires post-processing by manual machining. This however, is less severe than the former sharp edge and will be adopted as a routine part of the manufacturing process of the Upper Lid, along with printing the logo.

These modifications have resulted in considerable ergonomic and cosmetic enhancement of the device.

Force Sensor

Force sensing is the heart of TAO’s innovation – the thing that makes it one of a kind and so valuable.

Our current implementation is acceptable for the needs of the device; however, given the exceptional pioneering aspect of our innovation, there is a huge field for improvement and we are constantly working on refining this aspect.

We have found that the internal sandwich of the pressure subsystem can be optimized as to output higher accuracy and repeatability of measurement. We are currently working with our engineering partner IDneo to figure out the best possible combination of spring materials. We are expecting this effort to culminate in a major improvement by the end of September to be packed in a new build along with all the other enhancements and fixes featured hereby.

Heart Rate Monitor

We have made crucial progress in improving the Heart Rate monitoring.

As you may remember, we have singled out the best material for the HR window – it is opaque to the human eye, so that the insides of the device cannot be seen, but it is 98.8% transparent to the infrared light used by the sensor.

Based on this material, we have made major enhancements of the measuring algorithm in the device firmware, and our latest results, as of the build issued this week, are quite close to Apple watch and the latest Samsung phones – both in terms of accuracy and measuring time.

Batteries

We have found that the device is still using too much power in standby mode, resulting in full discharge in less than 10 hours. This is far below our requirements and we have been working hard to resolve this for the last few months. It turns out however that hardware changes are not feasible, as they would require replacing major active components, including the micro controller, which equals starting almost from scratch and at least half a year of engineering a new version of the electronics.

Therefore we are still figuring out options to solve the problem with firmware tuning. We are currently negotiating a contract with an engineering company that has proposed a major improvement of power performance that would lead to over three days in standby mode. We are very excited about it and have been pushing this outsourcing as a major priority – expecting to start the actual works by mid August  and have a fully implemented solution by the end of September.

Bluetooth Smart

We have had a major success in implementing the cutting edge BLE technology both regarding iOS and Android. Our recent progress with the BLE module vendor Radicom and our internal firmware enhancements have resulted in a firmware release that now allows us to use the same WellShell with both the iOS and the Android versions of the TAO Variobics app and the Sumo game, as well as with all the third-party Android games like Jetpack Joyride. This means that it will no longer be necessary for our users to choose a WellShell type compatible with the operating system of their current smartphone/tablet (iOS vs Android)!

All of these changes necessitate more testing once they are implemented fully. Stay tuned for more updates on on our progress as we move steadily towards the release of the Wellshell!