To all our wonderful supporters of Qi Aerista!
Our bi-weekly update was delayed because of the Oct 1st Chinese National Holiday Week and a flurry of other project activities. We apologize for the delays in publishing our recent updates and we will do our best to make sure our next bi-weekly update will resume the regular publishing schedule 2 weeks later.
For the past 3 weeks we have undertaken the following activities:
- Filed our design patent papers for our new Qi Aerista design
- Hosted our first mini gathering in Hong Kong to unveil our new Qi Aerista
- Worked with our main manufacturing partner on tooling design and production plans
- Continued PCBA, firmware, app and backend development work along with our partners
- Screening tea selections in preparation for our tea delivery service
Meet the new Qi Aerista
After preparing the necessary paperwork (which includes over 20 product drawings), we have filed our newest Qi Aerista design at the national patent office in Beijing a couple of weeks ago. This means that we are open to fully disclose our design to our eager backers. So here it is:
Compared with our previous design, we have taken a more simplistic yet forward-looking approach to put together our new look. Here are the main aesthetic elements:
As a recap, the following is a summary of the key changes as compared with our previous design:
The important thing is that our design meets the following objectives:
- Great overall aesthetics that sets us apart from other products
- Technically feasible based on our current brewing system design
- Needs only a relatively short time to finish the development
- Reasonable unit cost that falls within our target
New Qi Aerista Live in Hong Kong
On Oct 6 we hosted a mini afternoon gathering at Bloom in downtown Hong Kong to unofficially unveil our new Qi Aerista for the first time. Thanks to all of our friends and supporters who joined and shared great tea with us.
The Qi Aerista team shared with our friends and supporters freshly brewed HK-style milk tea and Shiyan Oolong during the 1-hr session. This inspiring co-working space in the heart of Hong Kong could use a few Qi Aeristas to give the users a boost in creativity or a sense of relaxation.
We have also shared a video stream on Kickstarter Live and Facebook Live for the event. However, we apologize in advance for the poor videography and audio issues in this video stream. The reason is that we haven't hosted a live stream session in an open space like this before with conversations around us that affected the sound quality. Also, we haven't taken enough time to choreograph the video stream session. Next time we'll make sure we will produce better results (perhaps later this month).
We are moving ahead according to our revised schedule on the following fronts:
Brewer Hardware - Our main manufacturing partner has finished the DFM design for the last remaining parts. Tooling fabrication is already underway for certain long lead-time parts. We expect to finish tooling by the end of November and produce the first batch of off-tool samples in December.
PCBA - Testing for the first PCBA samples have been completed and a number of issues such as component relocation have been identified. A second PCBA batch is being developed to reflect the changes. We expect to receive our next batch PCBA samples in the first week of November. If they check out fine, then we will fix this design as our production version PCBA.
Firmware - Our current focus is to fully incorporate the 35-page communications protocol and enable data exchange between our device with our app over Wi-Fi. We expect the firmware development work to be completed also in early November.
App & Backend - We have finished our first pre-alpha version app and we have briefly introduced it at around the 7:50 mark of our video stream. We expect to complete our apha version app by the end of next week with beta version targeted for early November.
Tea Time with Qi Aerista
With our production plans running step-by-step forward, we are also busy with preparing our upcoming artisan tea delivery service as sourced from independent tea producers and partners in China. Our in-house tea taster Karen and the rest of the Qi Aerista team are going through rounds of rigorous internal testing to select the right tea. If the tea does not wow us, then it would not impress our tea loving friends as well.
Our artisan teas will serve as a great complement to our app + brewer offering. It can also be enjoyed as a standalone tea collection. Our upcoming app will provide in-depth tea information and brewing guide to help our tea loving friends appreciate our teas.
We are still working on details on the delivery service, refurbished website, exclusive backer discount and ordering process, which should be available in our next project update.
Over the next 2 weeks we will see:
- Tooling in progress
- Completion of firmware/wi-fi connectivity development
- Alpha version of app available for internal testing
- Finalization of Qi Aerista artisan tea delivery service
- Schedule a new Kickstarter/Facebook live session to introduce our new Qi Aerista
Together we are making Qi Aerista a reality!
Rick @ Qi Aerista