We just finished the 5th week of our fantastic Bittle campaign. There is quite a lot to update after we reached the $200K stretch goal!
Fulfilling the orders has always been our top priority. Right after reaching the original goal, we sent the order of the silicone tail and paws. Now their molds are done. The tail is designed as a hook to pull carriages. The paws can help increase the friction to conduct specific tasks.
Reaching the stretch goal gave us the confidence to spend up our remaining savings to kick off early production. We have made the down payment for 5000 batteries with cases and packaging boxes. The funding progress also impressed our servo manufacturer that he offered us another round of prototyping before we get the funds from Kickstarter. The new iteration focuses on a balanced performance of torque and speed, as well as reducing the noise and heating. We decided to upgrade the coreless motor even if the cost is much higher than our original budget. I also detected a bug in the codes with improved control precision.
The new sample (right) has a much stronger brushless motor
We have started the pilot production of the body frames. Because switching colors in the injection molding machine will waste much plastics, the MOQ for any color is 1500 sets.
We have designed two color schemes: A (black + orange) and B (black + orange + blue). According to the polls on Twitter and Instagram, we will produce 2000 theme A and 2000 theme B for the first batch.
We will collect your color preference after the campaign. You could pick either color theme and come up with a third preference. We will try to arrange the production if it reaches certain popularity. It's also possible to paint customized colors by yourself.
The painting by an artist
I wrote a more technical post about the background story of Bittle's creation and the overall OpenCat project. We are also honored to get featured on more news, including IEEE Spectrum and the MagPi. We even received an invitation from a famous talk show to demo Bittle. We will start sending samples to reviewers after we kick off major production. One of our early testers managed to teleoperate Bittle with ROS on a Raspberry Pi 3A+.
Considering the ongoing momentum, we got a one-week extension from Kickstarter. Now it's the final week. We are not going to set a new stretch goal but would like to announce two exciting offers:
1. We will provide an option to get Bittle fully assembled before shipping. You don't need to change or pay for anything. You just need to select that option in our post-campaign survey, along with other order preferences.
2. We've created an affiliate referral program to encourage promoting Bittle through one's circle. The program will also help us understand referral marketing for our future business. You can check the link for instructions and sign up for rewarded sharing.
Our time is so fragmented, but we have kept posting almost daily on social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also check our recent videos on YouTube. We read every message and reply as prompt as we can.
The Kickstarter campaign is a long journey with wonders every day. Thank you for being with us along the way. Let's keep working till a glorious end!
Rz and the Petoi team