I've recently checked my emails and see that a few people have been wondering what's been going on with the project.
In December of 2019, we noticed that the number of refund request began to increase from pre-orders in China. We did not know why this was happening, but a couple months later it became obvious. In February, I was fundraising for the project in the Northeast when things began to take a turn for the worst. As a result, I made the decision to put the project on pause for a few weeks, to see what course it would take. All investor interest was put on ice as a result of the NYC lockdown and lockdown in Korea.
I took leave from the company to work on a humanitarian project in New York that was focused on crafting a better response to COVID-19 in the future. I returned to the helm at LAFORGE on a non-paid basis about 2 weeks ago.
Here's is where we go next:
The only way to finish the project is to take on more investment, and we have renewed investor interest so I'm going to attempt to bring in that cash so we can resume at a faster rate.
The two primary parts of development that need to be completed are software development and refining our mold making process.
I originally was intending to un-pause the project in late July, but thanks to the resurgence of the virus, European travel-bans on Americans, and the need to fly to complete this project, I will be delaying the restart of the project by about 2 months.
We have created a new way to make molds and need to test this process overseas at our development partners' factories. This is largely to confirm that they can standup to repeated use in high temperature environments.
We are still honoring our refund policy, though we are not processing refunds until we officially reopen later in the year. Due to COVID-19, we are considering expanding the policy.
This project is difficult, but we remain committed to it. For those who think executing on normal-looking AR glasses is easy, please consider that no company (not ODG, Intel, Google, or North) has been able to sustain a business producing these.
"(as a reminder, optics manufacturing development was the most expensive and most time consuming part of the project). We will now be focused on software development to make the device more usable."
Does this mean you now have a functioning prototype sans polished software? If so, a short video clip showing off the hardware would be awesome...
Update coming soon (this week, I would like to update my investors first).
Hi guys, Ive been back at the helm at LAFORGE for about 3 months busily working away and resuming from where we have left off right around the time the pandemic started. Later this week, I will be showing images and providing details of where we are as well as some changes that will have to happen in order to keep the project sustainably moving (I grew tired of the "stop and go" pace that we incurred).
In terms of optics, we are using a new manufacturing and development strategy, which now means optics development is complete (as a reminder, optics manufacturing development was the most expensive and most time consuming part of the project). We will now be focused on software development to make the device more usable.
As mentioned previously, I needed to take time away from the project as the pandemic had significant affects on the project's funding, strategy for attracting new investors, and my mental health.
"Don't ask when" will return in 2022.
@Corey | Founder | How's the progress with re-opening?
I haven't heard anything since the announcement in April; curious what progress has been made the last 4 months.
I'm happy to see things have been progressing with opening @Corey | Founder |. I hope you and the rest of your team have been safe and healthy.
I'm still interested in my refund and have yet to receive a email response from the you or the company about it 11 months since requesting it. Unfortunately I'm still extremely skeptical given the site itself says rev 3 has been shipping to customers since 2018, but nobody here has received any rev.
That, and now you're saying that you will ship dev kits and work on software, and that these dev kits will be wired to a box in our pocket? Is that why there hasn't been a single live demo of these glasses working? This new product isn't what was promised to me or any backer when we purchased these glasses. I'm sorry to be clear, but I don't believe in the direction this company is going and would very much like my refund. That, and to stop posting here once I receive it.
I feel bad posting to other backers my skepticism. I'm not trying to deflate the company or it's ambition. I just feel a duty to keep a record of what I believe to be unfair treatment to customers who sent you their money (for me 610 USD) upfront for glasses promised years ago, only now to admit the glasses -- in their promised-final form -- that have supposedly been shipping since 2018 -- don't actually exist and instead those backers *may* receive development kits with backpacks sometime (I'm *loosely* predicting) middle next year.
Thanks for all the insight Corey. Can't wait to see what we can ut together software-wise in the prerelease cycle.
Things I like:
"We are working on re-opening and resuming shipments."
"We are preparing something relevant for developers to develop on (a series of new hardware prototypes -- some wearable, some not).
"...clearly present a path forward for development and jump start things."
"I will hold a town hall on zoom."
Things I find intriguing but withhold judgement for now:
"...going to be doing things a bit differently this time..."
"...not focusing so much on the finished product (water intrusion, styling, manufacturablilty) at the beginning..."
"...instead focusing more electronics and software development. This way we can ...sell it [to] companies and consumers so you all can expand your services on this platform."
We are working on re-opening and resuming shipments. As for those who have mentioned software help, I will seriously reach out on that offer at the appropriate time. We are preparing something relevant for developers to develop on (a series of new hardware prototypes -- some wearable, some not). Please consider that we need time to re-activate funding, partnerships, and design things. My goal is to clearly present a path forward for development and jump start things. I want to go about it in a way doesn't have us re-hashing old things or having to amend statements in the future.
Based on what I am seeing, people are anxious to get back to work with us (things I have heard before), but I am going to be doing things a bit differently this time -- more or less not focusing so much on the finished product (water intrusion, styling, manufacturablilty) at the beginning but instead focusing more electronics and software development. This way we can iterate on something, sell it companies and consumers so you all can expand your services on this platform.
Shortly before announcing the plan I will hold a town hall on zoom. Where you can vent (though Im not really there for that) but hopefully offer solutions to help me finish this first next step in a responsible and time efficient way.
In short, we are transitioning from a design and manufacturing based strategy, to a software and usability based strategy.
I hope this helps.
I finalized my lock-in with updated prescription specifications in 01/2018 and I received my lock-in unit in 05/2018.
While I consider myself in for the long haul in this investment I have to put a pin on that thought and say..."Hold on a moment there...people GOT their lock-in glasses/shades???"
I have yet to even receive THAT from LaForge!
I thought they put the lock-in glasses/shades on haitus? Or have I been secretly scr*w*d over without me knowing it?
Thanks for reaching out @Corey | Founder | happy to see there's a mention of progress being made. Though honestly I'd really appreciate an email with the details of when I should be looking to expect my refund.. If there's a backlog; I'd be interested to know where on the list I lie. I'm not dedicated enough to wait for a fourth year to get my glasses and frankly; I'm not apologetic about that. The site still mentions glasses shipping in 2018, no one has received anything but basic prescription glasses from the lock-in. I have yet to receive any email acknowledging my request of a refund and have emailed three different Laforge email accounts trying to get a response. I don't want to make this discussion about my issue and so will leave follow up concerns in the link listed above; only making pings here if there comes to be another 5ish months or so of radio silence.
We're having discussions about when to reopen and resume processing refunds. We are also in discussions about producing another run of prototypes. I have not forgotten about you or the project. I have just had a series of personal setbacks in January and February and needed some time to step away from things. That being stated, we are going to resume processing refunds once we reopen (I think we have a backlog of about 15 or so).
News? It's now through the first week of March and no information since November?
Just as a shameless plug I've been trying to get a refund for these glasses since May last year.. You can follow my progress at the link below. I have to say the "We are still honoring our refund policy" line is very suspicious given the length of time I've tried getting a response from anyone at Laforge over e-mail or the forums.
"And you don't stop..."
Thank you for an update, that's always helpful.
I'm still here hacking away at it. We are in talks about bringing on some new financial resources as well as some manufacturing resources. Talks are early, but the goal is knock out the biggest hurtle, which is the manufacturing of the tools that make our lens molds (note these are precision optics molds not your conventional mold 'fisher price' molds). That is where most of our development dollars have gone in the past. Once we have this finalized, we will showcase a 'preview' model that will be available for a small group of 3rd-party reviewers to provide a 'first look'. More info to come. Hang in there (because that's what I'm doing).
Same here, believer since the beginning. Corey I know this is secondary / tertiary / quaternary at this point but feel free to push this small but egger community the specifications of the alpha compute board. I imagine we would have an OS footprint and API in short order just waiting for the lens and framework to finalize.
I still believe...
Give me a sign...
Radio check, radio check... I don't even remember what year I invested in these glasses anymore.. I only remembered about this project, because it's time to get new glasses (for the 2nd time since I became a part of this project). I've all but given up on these. Well, the $$ been given, so maybe one day I'll see a pair of smart glasses. Until then, take care everyone, and good luck.
Although an update is nice you should seriously consider a few things. There are hardly any updates. What you might not understand is this tells your customers that you don't care and/or the project is abandoned. Put yourself in your customers shoes momentarily ...you don't hear anything for a few months so one day you go to check the website and it's down (yes this happened recently), you send an email and get no response. I would highly recommend more regular updates, at least monthly. I get you are busy but never tell a customer that you forgot to update them or have been too busy to update them because you are involved in other projects. If i did that to my customers, I would be fired. All of us know there is risk in investing in a product, so we aren't foolish but my faith dwindled when you can't even communicate. Hell you could probably write a bot to communicate to everyone via email or on the forum.