updates

Canary Backer & Pre-Order Update

China, hardware, software, BackerKit and more. Here's what we've been up to the past month.

Dear friends of Canary:

Attention all Indiegogo backers: A number of you have been wondering how you can update your mailing address, confirm your device color choice(s), and pay for any outstanding shipping fees (if applicable). Well wonder no more! Later today you will receive an email from us with a link to login to your own personal perk confirmation page. Please note: even if your information hasn’t changed, you will need to follow the link to confirm. So keep an eye out for that email from us later today.

We partnered with a company called BackerKit to create this perk confirmation page. BackerKit specializes in helping crowdfunded projects like us collect and verify fulfillment information from backers. It’s a small but incredibly important part of the crowdfunding process and BackerKit makes it easy and secure. The site is encrypted and your information will only be visible to us.

If you have any questions while you’re updating your information, click on the question mark button in the bottom right corner of BackerKit’s website to contact our support team.

Note: Only Indiegogo backers need to confirm their order in BackerKit. If you pre-ordered Canary from our website you won’t be receiving that email. If you need to make changes to your order, please email us.

Hardware

During the month of February, nearly half of our engineering team was in China evaluating and testing hardware. Our electrical engineers, embedded software gurus and industrial designers pored over every circuit and sensor to make sure the product not only meets, but exceeds our incredibly high standards.

We are continuing to progress through the DVT (Design Verification Testing) phase, which is an exhaustive cycle of testing the performance of each individual component and, if necessary, iterating and testing again and again. For example, the microphone we originally chose performed very well during qualitative tests, but when we ran the recordings through audio analysis software to test the full range of frequencies recorded, we detected a small amount of “noise”, so we decided to upgrade to a higher quality microphone. Similarly, we were also able to source more accurate temperature and humidity sensors and decided to swap those out as well.

The tests being run on our devices are exhaustive (and the process is exhausting!). But obviously it is critical for us to uncover any potential issues and resolve them so that the final product is perfect. For example, during thermal tests our hardware engineers found that heat generated by the camera’s processor was impacting the accuracy of a couple nearby components, so we’re testing a few different design modifications to alleviate this.

plastics_tooling

Our industrial design team has been meticulously reviewing the quality, appearance, and fit of DVT parts, as well as the tooling and machining of these parts. This includes things like molded plastics, LED lighting components, optics, and aluminum housing. The manufacturing process of the housing, which takes place at a different facility than where Canary is assembled, was particularly interesting to see. Aluminum ingots are extruded into long “pipes” of raw stock that get cut into six-inch long pieces. The cut stock is then machined, stamped, polished, etched, and anodized before it’s shipped to our primary manufacturer for assembly. The photos below show the various stages of this process more clearly.

aluminum_housing_canary
Software

Although our office in NYC was quieter than usual while our hardware team was in China, we’ve been pushing ahead faster than ever on software. Our product design team is hard at work making the mobile app user experience as intuitive and beautiful as possible, while our mobile developers are iterating on the software so the app can more efficiently interface with the device and the cloud.

Computer vision learning is getting blended with a range of sensor data, making Canary smarter with each passing day. Our notification system is being optimized for faster delivery of both computer vision- and sensor-generated events. If a user doesn’t respond to an alert, our system can now escalate the notification to their designated emergency contacts through a personalized text message or email.

And of course there has been lots of software testing. Followed by even more testing. (And then followed by even more testing.) We’re working on scaling our network infrastructure so it will be ready to handle hundreds of thousands of notifications per hour without missing a beat.

Everything else

So what else are we doing? Well since you asked…a lot actually. Here are some of the other things we’re currently working on:

  • Logistics – So your Canary can get from our manufacturing facility to our warehouse to our fulfillment center to your doorstep as smoothly as possible (Don’t forget to update your information on BackerKit!)

  • Packaging design – You didn’t expect us to send you the device wrapped in newspapers, did you?

  • Website redesign – There is so much we still need to tell the world about Canary!

  • User research – We’re not building Canary for ourselves. We’re building it for our customers. So we need to understand what your needs are.

  • Customer support channels – We’ll try to make everything easy to figure out, but if you have a question we want to make sure you get an answer as soon as possible. For information or product questions please email support@canary.is

  • Regulatory certification testing – We’re not the only ones with high standards.

  • Hiring – We’ve been rapidly expanding our team, adding many more consumer electronics experts who come with years of experience working at places like Motorola, Apple, and Haier. Oh, and did we mention that there are plenty of other open positions?

We’ve come a long way since August but we’re not done yet. As design legend Milton Glaser put it, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.

We won’t be satisfied with anything but WOW.

Thank you for your continued support.

— The Canary Team