Another milestone has been reached in FlexVolt development. The USB and Bluetooth models now have fancy machined enclosures! It took a lot of planning and geometry to fit so much into such a small package, and 2 rounds of machining and test-fitting to get everything lined up right – larger components like LEDs and jacks actually have a bit of wiggle room and they can end up with quite high offsets from the expected position after assembly!
What now? Why aren’t these muscle sensors already shipping? One milestone remains – the Firmware. The software was released weeks ago after extensive efforts to make a good app that would work. However, if folks find bugs in the software, or request improvements, I can modify the software and release the improved app as FlexVoltViewer version 1.2. The Firmware, once flashed onto the 2 micro-controllers in each FlexVolt (think brains) cannot easily be changed by customers without use of a fancy programming device and accompanying software. So this Firmware is being extensively tested, AND a lot of consideration is being put into what features should be included, such as error handling, user settings, device names, and using memory to store settings, even if some of these features are not yet available in the software. Here’s what the programming and testing of Firmware looks like:
The red device in the back is a programmer. The mess of jumper wires, chips, resistors, capacitors, and LEDs on this solderless breadboard is the test setup for the FlexVolt micro-controllers (brains). This test setup is getting a lot of attention right now, so that when FlexVolt USB/Bluetooth models ship, they are running very reliable firmware! The current goal for finalizing FlexVolt USB/Bluetooth Firmware and shipping orders is June 20th. This goal allows for time to distribute FlexVolt test units to local beta-testers to ensure no problems down the road!
The Software has been available for download since early June. Check it out here. So far, several folks have received FlexVolt Hackers (the Arduino Shield) and have, presumably, accessed the software. I have as of yet heard no news, so I’m assuming things are running smoothly until I hear otherwise! Send comments, questions, or bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org