Anyone, whether a project backer or someone interested in lucid dreaming and associated technology who has been following the process of the Aurora, the dream-enhancing headband, apart from myself, could not fail to have noticed the delays in bringing the prototype to production.
This, so far has not proved too damaging. In fact it has only served to galvanise the people who have already made their pledges back in January 2014, considering the comment activity on Kickstarter.
The other reason is because after nearly one whole orbit of the home planet there is nothing yet on the market to rival it at present.
2015 and beyond
According to the original iWinks ‘Production Plan 2014’ schedule, the Aurora EEG-based headband should have been shipped back in June, which quickly soon became November.
These delays along with the rumour that one of the key members of the team (Jack Payne) had left caused a bit of discord and restlessness amongst the natives: and quite rightly so.
This was further compounded when the agreed update schedule between the investors and the iWinks team was not adhered to. In one case the delay was over 2 months between progress bulletins.
A certain amount of reasonable delay is to be expected however. Bad PR is not!
Update #25 gives a projection for shipment as (early) 2015.
What is striking though is the new Robocop inspired final design, along with the frank admission from the team of how poor the early prototype actually was; ergonomically and battery consumption power wise, including set up user friendliness problems and reliability issues.
However we have to remember just over 239,000 USD still got raised based on the initial prototypes and promises.
Choosing the Robocop design as the final prototype for production would have been equivalent to crossing the Rubicon for the team. They decided not to go with it.
The prototype was still far from perfect as it only lasted one night per charge/sync, along with a LED light direction or diffusion issue, and a bulky somewhat uncomfortable enclosure.
Back to the drawing board…
The completely revamped standalone Aurora promised would be a better, faster, and smaller affair, along with a Micro-SD card, a microprocessor upgrade and an expansion port on the new compact pcb.
This makes me wonder about the funding level now, considering all the hard work and continued testing/improvements; and with new smaller enclosure I worry about the electrode contact, width and positioning changes relative to the forehead?
Hopefully this project doesn’t become too over-engineered after the re-design, upgrades, alpha/beta tests and last-minute tweaking to put the Aurora headband Odyssey to bed.
A glitch-free final production even after all these major changes could still a shipment date implementation to the eager backers sometime in 2015, as promised.
(Photos courtesy of iWinks LLC)