project-image

Glove80: The Incredibly Comfortable Ergonomic Keyboard

Created by MoErgo

A customizable split contoured wireless keyboard, with perfected ergonomics that uniquely adapts to you

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Day 272 Post Kickstarter
about 19 hours ago – Fri, Nov 25, 2022 at 07:03:06 AM

IMPORTANT

  •  Addresses will be locked down on 30 November. Please update your address via Backerkit.
     

TL;DR

  • Palm rest production issue solved.
     
  • Production is in progress; Assembly and QA pilot scheduled.
     
  • Batch 1 sold out; batch 2 coming soon on online store.
     

First a photo or three

The factory has been hard at work on the assembly and packaging procedures. These are photos of the factory-assembled samples, including the shipping box and the accessory packages.

Transport test (sent to us) to ensure our box designs can withstand the rigor of transport and posties. Note that the extra keycaps are missing from this photo.
The dreamy white variant
Obligatory light show

Shipping address

To prepare for packaging, we will need to lock down the shipping address. If you have moved, please visit Backerkit and update your shipping address. Addresses will be locked on 30 November.

Batch 1 sold out; Batch 2 coming

Batch 1 (for Kickstarter backers and Backerkit pre-orders) has now completely sold out. If you missed out on Batch 1, fear not: Batch 2 is on the way, and Batch 2 final assembly will proceed immediately after Batch 1.

Please sign up to the newsletter on moergo.com to be notified when our online shop opens.

Palm rest injection molding issue

As we mentioned in the previous update, we were having a very high rejection rate with the palm rest. Too many of the palm rests were coming out distorted.

Together with the injection molder and the contract manufacturer, we have been busy working through many many iterations. We have experimented with umpteen combinations of injection molding parameters such as pressure, holding time, cooling time and some other esoteric techniques. It really is fascinating to observe how finicky injection molding can be, and how big an impact the parameter changes can make.

We found that we were able to control the distortion with the right sets of parameters, but at the cost of minor cosmetic blemishes. Conversely we were able to eliminate the blemishes, but at the cost of distortion. The QA engineer specialist at our contract manufacturer said the blemishes are so small that he considers them acceptable. However we have higher expectations, and want the best for our backers.

It became clear that to solve both of these issues at the same time, mold adjustments were needed. So far we have done three mold adjustments, and the third time was finally the charm, resulting in neither blemishes nor distortion. The difference between the second mold and third mold change is a miniscule 0.05mm, which is about the thickness of a fine hair. That is the level of accuracy we are working with.

This has taken significantly longer and much more effort than expected and had impacted the delivery date. However we believe it is worthwhile to have a better product for us all.

Production

Aside from the palm rest, production is progressing well. Most components are now ready for the Assembly and QA pilot.

We have been busy working with the production team to finalize the assembly and QA process, making adjustments to increase efficiency and reduce the risk of mistakes.

We expect the pilot final assembly to start early next week. It should smoke out any issues with the Assembly and QA process, and validate that the palm rest is in fact meeting production quality.

Glove80 Layout Editor Beta

Our beta test for the Glove80 Layout Editor web application will open shortly. Our team has been very busy beavering away; that’s why we have been so quiet. We have a few surprises up our sleeves. If you are interested in joining the beta program, please sign up on our Discord using the “#bot-ops” channel.

MCC homing keycaps and MBK Convex stenography keycaps

For those of you who wanted to use homing keycaps with your Glove80, we listened and have made MCC Homing keycaps.

For those of you who intend to use Glove80 for stenography, we also listened, and made MBK Convex 1U keycaps specifically for stenography. With MBK Convex, there are no sharp edges to impede chording. 

These POM keycaps (in black and white POM) will be available on our online store. 

MCC Homing
MBK Convex for stenography

What's next?

The pilot final assembly and QA is now scheduled. Being a first production run, surprises are inevitable, but we are confident that with our excellent partners, we will deliver you a Glove80 that you will love.

Shipping addresses will be locked on 30 November. Please update your shipping address.

That’s it from us for now.

Day 242 Post Kickstarter
about 1 month ago – Mon, Oct 24, 2022 at 11:43:20 PM

TL;DR

  • FCC and CE-RED certifications officially issued
  • Production is in full swing
  • Expect to complete production in December
  • Glove80 Layout Editor is taking shape

Certification testing

Glove80 is finally issued the official certification for FCC and CE-RED.

Glove80 has TWO FCC IDs, one for left hand and one for right hand. We didn’t go the easier route of self declaration (SDoC) taken by most vendors. To ensure that Glove80 meets the highest quality we decided to go for the more stringent certification route.

FCC ID for left hand

We were overjoyed by the certification results. Although the process was painful, Glove80 exceeded our wildest expectation by passing the certification in the first try with no modifications necessary, and without any pre-testing/pre-certification.


Production

Production is going full-steam ahead.

The Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) factory has completed Surface Mount (SMT) soldering of the left hand controllers. They are now performing QA using the test jig hardware and QA process provided by us. Through the magic of the Internet and a system we built, the QA status of every Glove80 controller is tracked and we have immediate and complete visibility of every QA test-run. This system has proven to be really useful for us to help resolve issues the PCBA factory is experiencing.

The magic of internet

The right hand controller SMT soldering process is on-going. Unfortunately it is being interrupted by a 7-day Covid lock-down in the neighbourhood of the factory. We hope the factory will reopen by the middle of next week.

The POM keycaps have been manufactured. Laser marking is in progress.

The keyboard case production, however, has run into a bit of a snag. When the contract manufacturer did another trial run of the production process one and a half weeks ago, we found that the rejection rate of the completed keyboards was unacceptably high. The reason is complex; it is not due to a single faulty component, but the accumulation of the tolerances of multiple parts.

Luckily for us, we have excellent partners. The injection molder factory and the contract manufacturer have been working together to determine the cause of this problem and work out some possible remedies. The injection molder has revised the injection molding parameters such as holding time, cooling time, and pressure.

On Saturday the injection molders visited the contract manufacturer factory with the newest round of samples. Together they built a new unit and ran various tests. The initial results seem good. However with this being a variability/tolerance issue, they will be building more units to determine if the rejection rate issue has indeed been resolved. If resolved, we would immediately start the volume production of the keyboard cases.

The contract manufacturer built a new unit right away with the new samples, and tested together with the injection molder.

Glove80 Keyboard Layout Editor

Glove80 is super configurable to suit your needs and habits. You can personalize the entire layout and you can easily swap the uniform-profile keycaps to match your personal layout.

Glove80 runs the excellent open source ZMK firmware. To make it easier and more intuitive to configure the keyboard layout, we are furiously building the Glove80 Layout Editor. This is a webapp that runs on any modern browser.

As a teaser, here is a screenshot of the work-in-progress.

Work in progress. We are busy beavers.

It even runs quite well on the browser of a mobile phone (although this is not an official feature).

Yes, with an OTG cable or equivalent cable you can even flash your Glove80 from your mobile phone (Note: not officially supported).

What's next?

More production, assembly and QA. We will work with the factories to resolve any issue that arises. Being a first production run, surprises are inevitable, but we are confident that with our excellent partners we will deliver you a Glove80 that you will love.

Shipping address will not be locked yet. You will be able to continue updating your shipping address in Backerkit until closer to shipping.

That’s it from us for now.

Day 212 Post Kickstarter
2 months ago – Sun, Sep 25, 2022 at 01:20:19 AM

IMPORTANT NOTE

  • If you have moved, please update your address in Backerkit.
  • 4 backers are having issues with credit card payment with the Backerkit add-ons. If you are one, please contact us or work with Backerkit to resolve the issue.
     

TL;DR

  • Madness.
  • Going through the certification process; getting to the tail end.
  • Mold changes are completed. Waiting for samples for final production approval.
  • Mass production has started for many components.

Certification testing

The certification process is an eye opener. It is turning out to be far more complex, bureaucratic and time consuming than we could ever expect.

To reduce risk and to speed up time-to-market, we chose a pre-certified Bluetooth LE module from a highly reputable vendor. The module has been pre-certified for FCC, CE-RED, and a host of other countries. Based on what we read, we thought that this decision would greatly simplify the certification process.

Well, it does and it doesn’t.

It turns out that certification houses are at their complete liberty to choose to respect the test results of a pre-certified module, or not. As part of this journey, I was told by an industry insider that it is very common (read “always”) for certification houses to insist on re-running the RF tests on the pre-certified modules, because that means more money for them. Of course this is a little secret that no one wants to spill the beans about, not the pre-certified module vendors nor the certification houses.

Well that created a nasty surprise and some really interesting problems for us. The pre-certified module is essentially a black box. To do the RF tests, wires need to be added to the BLE module with special firmware loaded. The certification vendor gave us some “instructions”; we of course had no idea how to actually follow them since we don’t have the schematic of the BLE module. Luckily our module supplier was very helpful and experienced, but that still meant we needed to ship our PCBs to Taiwan to be modified by the module vendor, and then back to the certification house in China. All of which takes time.

We are now at the tail end of the certification process. In the meantime we have started part of the mass production.

Injection mold

Earlier this month, we reviewed the re-designed palm rest samples. The palm rest wobbling issue has been solved by the new design. We also reviewed the black MCC keycap samples which were approved.

Injection mold refinement is now completed according to the injection molding factory. Surface texture has been added. We are waiting for the “final” samples for production approval.

Pre-production samples on their way to us for final approval

Mass manufacturing and supply chain fun

To provide some ideas of the complexity of this manufacturing operation, we are making 46 variations of Glove80. The keycap manufacturing spreadsheet has 69 lines. And we have a bunch of additional add-ons.

We have started mass production for PCBs and keycaps. Keyboard case and palm rest mass production will begin as soon as we finish reviewing and approving the “final” samples that are on their way.

The PCB production was delayed for a few days as the supply chain crisis struck again. At the last minute, just before we were to pay the deposit, we were informed that one of the passive components is not available with an expected lead time of 3 to 4 months. After some frantic searching and very anxious days, the PCBA factory found a stash available at more than 10 times the normal price. No question asked, and out came the wallet.


Shipping

As many of you would know, the shipping cost has gone sky-high, in some cases the shipping cost is now 3 times of what we were quoted at the end of 2021 and priced into our Kickstarter campaign. This is a big problem, as we do not wish to ask our backer for increased contributions. We will try to manage this problem as best as we can. We will try to fit as many add-ons as possible inside the Glove80 shipping box. We will likely have to choose slower shipping options to manage the cost blow-up.


What's next?

We will be very busy in the next few weeks. We expect mass production to take roughly 2 months with a week of holiday in China in early October.

Shipping address will not be locked yet. You will be able to continue updating your shipping address in Backerkit until closer to shipping.

That’s it from us for now.

Day 181 Post Kickstarter
3 months ago – Thu, Aug 25, 2022 at 04:53:37 PM

IMPORTANT NOTE

The Kickstarter Backers’ surveys and Backerkit Pre-Orders will be locked on/around 8 September, and the credit card payment will be charged. If your credit card has expired or has changed details, please update your credit card details on Backerkit.

TL;DR

The pace this month has only accelerated.

We completed a trial manufacturing run with the contract manufacturer to build the units for the certification testing. We uncovered a mechanical interference issue that caused an unacceptably high failure rate, that we have now fixed with a new PCB version.

Glove80 has been submitted for certification testing.

We finalized the factory default key layout in collaboration with the Glove80 community, and completed the draft user guide.

Factory Default Key Layout and User Guide

Working with the Glove80 community on Discord, we had lots of great discussions and collaboration finalizing the factory default key layout for Glove80. The focus is to ensure that Glove80 is shipped with a really comfortable, powerful and easy to use key layout, to minimize the need for customization. In particular I would like to call out @SAL9000 for his contributions.

The base layer
The lower layer has F11/F12 function keys, the media keys, an arrow cluster and an extended numpad. The lower layer is activated either by holding the Layer key or double-tapping the Layer key.
The magic layer allows you to control the behaviour of Glove80 itself, such as switching to different Bluetooth profiles and controlling the RGB LED behaviour.
What the indicator RGB LEDs indicate

Of course, if you wish to customize the key layout to your particular taste and needs, it is easy to do with the ZMK firmware on Glove80.

We have also completed the draft Glove80 User Guide, with review input from many community members.

Trial manufacturing run and certification testing

Last month we reported on our plan to submit Glove80 to certification testing earlier this month. That didn’t happen quite according to plan.

We took the opportunity to have our contract manufacturer validate the key parts of the manufacturing process by manufacturing a small batch of Glove80 units. This was the first time an outside party has built a Glove80 unit. The manufacturing process generally went well; the factory workers were able to follow the instructions. The contract manufacturer was generally satisfied with the documented Assembly & QA process.

Factory worker testing soldered upper shell with test jig

However the factory discovered an issue. An unacceptably high percentage of units had one or two particular key switches failing. After a couple of very anxious days, we determined that the root cause is that the two diodes were sometimes knocked out while installing the finger PCBs. It was weird, because we had built many Glove80s ourselves and never experienced the same problem. The factory workers appeared to have caused some physical interference between the finger PCBs and the plastic case, and with a leverage effect were able to knock the two particular diodes out of place. This is definitely a latent design issue even though we never experienced it ourselves. Although it delayed the certification process, we are grateful that the manufacturing trial run did what it was supposed to do, to smoke out potential hidden problems.

After further analysis we re-designed the PCBs to move the diodes away and eliminated the possibility of physical interference. The PCBA factory did an urgent run of the new PCB design and the contract manufacturer validated the new design. We are glad to report that the Glove80 units have now been submitted to the testing house for certification testing.

Test jigs and manufacturing process

This month we completed the programming and validation of the controller and key switch test jigs. The controller test jig completes the automated testing of a Glove80 controller in 30 seconds covering the electronic aspects. Manual testing of a Glove80 controller to a lesser standard previously took me hours.

We plan to send 3 of these controller test jigs to our partner factories. Interestingly, by running the automated test with a known good controller, we managed to determine that one of the test jigs had a problem. The FFC connector for columns 5 & 6 was mis-soldered with the pins offset by 1. More power to meta-testing :D

Who watches the watchmen? We don't know, but we know what tests the test jigs here. Here is the controller test jig finding a fault on itself.

Working with our factory partners, we are refining the manufacturing and QA process to streamline and automate as much as we can. A particular focus is to adapt our plan to their typical workflow and equipment.

Injection Mold

Injection mold refinement is still progressing. We have reviewed the T1 samples, which has solved most of the issues previously identified.

The completion and approval of the final plastic injection molds is currently the critical path. We are working closely with the injection molder to facilitate their completion.

What's next?

The Kickstarter Backers’ surveys and Backerkit Pre-Orders will be locked on/around 8 September, and the credit card payment will be charged. If your credit card has expired or has changed details, please update your credit card details on Backerkit.

Shipping address will not be locked yet. You will be able to continue updating your shipping address in Backerkit until closer to shipping.

We have a very small number of Glove80 units left on the Backerkit store. If you would like to get one or an extra at these special pre-order price, please head off to https://glove80.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders#store if you are not yet a Backer, or log-in to your Backerkit account if you are already a Backer. Do feel free to visit our Discord if you have not yet done so - https://discord.com/invite/cdywSRX9qF

That’s it from us for now.

Day 150 Post Kickstarter
4 months ago – Mon, Jul 25, 2022 at 02:26:57 PM

Summary and TL;DR

We are about to place the order for key switches, This is the last chance to change your Glove80 key switch choice. Please make your revisions by 27 July Wednesday.

TL;DR

What an incredibly full-on and busy month.

We made great progress in electronics, firmware, test jigs and certification planning.

We ran into some delay with injection mold refinement.

The revised shipping date is the end of October.

Progress - Electronics & Test Jigs

We completed the validation of “hopefully final” PCBs. The results were great. Everything (except one) complies to our expectations. The new RGB LED power circuit is a vast improvement. The power efficiency is excellent and exceeds our design parameter. Here is an infrared thermal photo of the Controller while powering the RGB LEDs at the maximum brightness; there is no more hot spot.

Thermal image of the left hand controller PCB - the LED power circuit is running cool while powering LEDs at maximum brightness

However we did find one minor issue with the Controller PCB. When the Glove80 is powered off but with the USB-cable plugged in, one of the GPIO lines is pulled up to 5V by the USB port. This is strictly speaking outside the nRF52840 specification. On the off-chance (but unlikely in reality) that it may cause long-term degradation, we have nevertheless decided to re-spin the Controller board.

As we reported last month we revised the Finger PCBs to add test pads to facilitate production QA. These final Finger PCB and Controller PCB samples have just been completed by the PCBA factory ahead of schedule.

The test jigs we designed last month have arrived. We have completed the programming of Key Switch and RGB LED Test-Jig, which will help to identify issues with key switches and soldering. We have made great progress in the Controller Test Jig too: we have validated most of the test jig and we are halfway through the programming.

Key switch test jig

Progress - Injection Mold

Injection mold refinement is progressing, but slower than expected. Refining each key switch hole turns out to be an herculean effort. Each key switch hole points in a different direction and impacts 4 surfaces with complex and unique mold design for each hole.

We discovered an issue that when the palm rest is attached, the palm rest legs are not always level with the keyboard. This is due to the complex shapes of the keyboard and palm rests and the shrinkage of plastic leading to a very slight distortion. Shrinkage and distortion are no strangers to anyone involved in injection molding, but it is something we need to fix. The injection molder is working on varying the parameters to control the shrinkage.

We have also decided on a design change on the palm rest that will better allow for the shrinkage; this requires modification to the palm rest mold.


Progress - Certification

With the testing house and our contract manufacturer, we worked through the logistics and planning of the certification process.

With the delay in injection molds, our original plan has been impacted. However we are changing our plans to keep to the schedule as best as we could.


Schedule

At this point we are expecting mass production to begin in September, with the aim to ship out from the factory at the end of October.

We will be placing orders for key-switches in the coming week. As such, if you wish to make changes to the switch choice for your Glove80, please do so now (before Wednesday 27 July). We won’t officially lock the Backerkit orders yet, but please don’t change your Glove80 variation after 27 July.


What's next?

We are assembling the certification units in the next 2 weeks. Assuming no hiccups, we hope to complete certification by the end of August.

We will continue to work on the injection molds and test jig implementation as well as manufacturing planning.

There are only a few pre-order Glove80s left in the Backerkit store. If you would like to get one or an extra, please head off to https://glove80.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders#store if you are not yet a Backer, or log-in to your Backerkit account if you are already a Backer.

That’s it from us for now.