This is the first in a series of posts recapping our 2017 Holoseat development and sharing our 2018 plan. In this post we look at the plan for 2017, aimed at taking a near production version of Holoseat to SyndCon 2017.

This past February we posted about our progress during 2016 and our plans for 2017. In that post we identified two key goals for 2017, to be completed by SyndCon in August. Those goals were:

  1. Finalize the hardware design needed to address the key feedback from demos at SyndCon 2016.
  2. Run a private beta test program for Holoseat to vet the design before releasing version 1.0.

So how did we do? We got back from SyndCon a few weeks ago and I am happy to report it was a complete success. But I must admit, the way we achieved that success and the Holoseat we took to SyndCon were quite different than what I envisioned when we wrote that post back in February. To understand why it is best we take a look at each goal one at a time.

Goal 1 – Finalize Hardware Design

Two pieces of feedback drove the hardware design work called for in the first goal. The first piece of feedback was an unanticipated need to tweak Holoseat’s settings every time we changed players or games. One setting in particular, trigger cadence – the pedaling speed required for Holoseat to recognize a player is walking, took half of the demo time to dial in during most demos. Our intended solution was to migrate from an Arduino controller board to a significantly more powerful one, the CHIP Pro.  This change would enable on board management of player specific profiles. These profiles would capture each individual player’s settings per game enabling players to switch out Holoseat settings as easily as they switched between games.

The second piece of feedback driving Goal 1 was a desire for faster response times from Holoseat.  Take a look at the video below to see the v0.3 response times for yourself.

While not captured in the February blog post, we had a line of research lined up to address this request.   But, we prioritized this research lower than incorporating the new controller board. The irony of this decision will become apparent in Part 2 of this series of blog posts.

Goal 2 – Run the Beta Test

How would you fund the development and manufacturing of a beta design for a new hardware project? If your answer is “KickStarter!” you are very close to where we were in our thinking last February.

Sadly, running a successful crowd source campaign takes more time, and a greater social media presence, than we had in 2017. Thankfully we came to this realization (through careful research) before we got too far into the year. At the time we thought we were completely blocked on this goal.  So, we spent most of 2017 assuming we would have to wait at least a year before we could engage outside players as testers.

But in agile projects like Holoseat, being blocked does not mean things are hopeless. Blocks are meant to be resolved and once they are you can get back to working on implementing your plan. Sometimes the trick to resolving blocks is to recognize how a completely different solution, one that is not blocked, can achieve the stated goals.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we share what actually happened in 2017 and Part 3 where we lay out the 2018 plan, which has us coming full circle in our quest to find the right controller board for Holoseat.