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Author Topic: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9  (Read 7310 times)

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Offline erv

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Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« on: December 14, 2017, 11:29:23 PM »
Apologies for sharing here 1 day late, I've been swamped with work and requests yesterday ! For those who went to see the movie, I hope you all got a great time, I'll remain in no-spoiler mode for some days until we hit the holidays all together with the family  :azn:




Release notes : http://www.plecterlabs.com/Media/Doc/PleaseWelcomeCrystalFocusv9.pdf


- [NEW] iSaber Multitrack playing (track + saber Fx) with individual volume control
- [NEW] iSaber Fx swing clash stab and spin.
- [NEW] iSaber classic flicker + pulse or dynamic flicker (audio flicker)
- [NEW] iSaber specific font selection, or latest used (selected via the font menu prior entering iSaber)
- [NEW] Improved vocal menu audio real time mixing
- [NEW] Up to 16 color profiles
- [NEW] Spectrum™: a dynamic motion-based Color selection method
- [NEW] Improved color morphing between profiles
- [NEW] Mute-power-off (along with Mute-On-The-Go)
- [NEW] Specific start color profile (font specific)
- [NEW] Per Color Profile FoC mixing
- [NEW] Colder / More efficient power management
- [NEW] Omnisaber support
- [NEW] Accubolt & Multi bolt ported to CF (inherits from Prizm v5)
- [NEW] Deep Sleep & Deep Sleep pad (to power aux. electronics like a BT module, and accents)
- [NEW] New dimensions 50.77 x 22.13mm. Narrower PCB (< 7/8")
- [NEW] End of lockup sound slot for a smoother transition when returning to hum (ported from Blaster Core)
- [NEW] 16 bit motion sensing, larger motion dynamic range
- [NEW] Even faster motion sensing with improved (lower) motion-to-sound latency, now down to 4.74ms

 
Legacy features
- Tri digital motion sensor
- Magic Activation
- Saber ForceLock™
- Genuine 16 bit sound (no magic truncation, no design mistake)
- Sizable PLI 1 to 8 LED
- Glyph for PLI
- Dynamic Motion Flow
- Trident™ support for Cross-guard hilts
- Orientation based Mute-On-The-Boot™ & Mute-On-The-Go™
- Tangible, Accessory based on-the-fly sound font selection
- Crystal Chamber color profiles
- Spin Pitch Shifting
- 4 random boot sounds
- 4 channel color mixing
- StabFx™ (4 sounds)
- SpinFx™ (4 sounds)
- ComboFx™ (4 sounds)
- Dual digital sensor with Motion Fusion™
- Color configurable blade and Flash on Clash™
- Editable Glyph for the sound bank display in the menu (7 segment display + decimal point support)
- 8 accent LEDs
- Crystal Chamber specials
- Hum resume after fx
- Motion controlled sound bank selection (flick=next, bang=select)
- up to 12 sound fonts


Why so long to get this release:
I won’t extend much about my private life (not the place, not the goal) but I faced to major losses early this year. It clearly delayed a lot of things.
CFv9 firmware work was started in March but got postponed based on the amount of things we had to deal with and fix regarding the sad events and situation.
The hardware was sort of ready since then and we expected to have enough energy to get a release after the summer, around September. Now that we are beyond the storm, we could finalize some of the ideas that only got prototyped back in May and June, and get to the point.
We actually have more things to come but we decided to wrap up as much as we could in this one as a milestone, based on the fact the former CF8 motion sensor was discontinued, making hard the pursuit of the production of that version. On the brighter side (pun intended) the new motion sensor is even better, and faster.


Availability & Pricing?
Boards are already in production, we are wrapping up the default package (a couple of new sounds to make) and I need to finalize the user’s manual, which I have spare time for… now! Everything should be ready for Christmas or early January worse case. No price change.


No pixel love?
We communicated several times about this: it makes no sense to sell a board with a current regulator for high-power leds, which both takes space and cost money for a feature that Pixel type blades don’t use. We do have a prototype of CF-LS but we think it deserves more work and experiments to be a nice & modular board. Also, it will inherits from a lot from CF9 and I wanted the code base to be mature before making a code port and avoid counter productive effort.


Omnisabers:
In the preparation of the upcoming Omnisaber dongle and software, we implemented all board events (like it was implemented for the Omnisaber firmware we designed for saberproject and their wireless system). All gestures, power on/off, color change etc are logged and sent out thru the RICE port.
We also added some remote control messages so that Omnisabers (or any remote device or program, via a Bluetooth dongle for instance). This way, you can remotely power the saber on and off, trigger the lockup and change color etc with just the ease of sending the saber some serial commands. It’s pretty neat when you want to control a saber as a decoration element in a home cinema room, when displayed on the wall, or on a mannequin.


Color Profiles
We did not just increase their number (now up to 16) we also added new and better ways to access / browse them.
We introduce Spectrum™: an saber orientation-based color profile selection menu, accessible on the fly while the saber is running. By triggering the safe and natural Aux+Act combination of switches, you get into the menu, then use the orientation of the hilt along with audio feedback to select your color profile, the exist with Aux.
 It is configurable to use either the up/down axis of the hilt (referred as pitch axis) or the left/right (roll axis). Both give the feeling of a “dial-styled selector” and it allows for a fast and accurate browsing of the color profiles, which comes handy when you use 16. Using the pitch axis uses the blade as an “vu-meter needle” while the roll axis is reminiscent of a safe/vault combination dial knob.

So that you can still choose and combine, we added 4 modes to use either the legacy profile browsing or Spectrum. We also added a method to trigger the profile selection for those who use latching switches as Activator, combining the Aux with a rotation of the hilt.


Start / Forced Color Profiles
A good suggestion from Markus (Saberproject): remembering the latest used color profile in a font is useful sometimes, but for some users or sabers, you’d like to always start with a specific color when you boot the saber (kill key or reboot from deep sleep).


End of Lockup sound slot
Discussed formerly with Lord Blako, it’s a nice way to end the lockup no matter when you release it. Up to 4 sounds can be integrated; they are automatically played if part of the font, otherwise, the legacy system is used (return to hum). The idea behind it was to port the Blaster Core “End
Shot” used in full-auto mode. The sound slot can be made of a specific part of the lockup, an energy glitch artefact or anything that suggest the blade contact removal (leading to the end of the lockup).
 

Power management & size:
We selected a new regulator is more efficient and allows for an even lower cut-off voltage of the board. While we still recommend to hack it to single cell (remove the regulator), the board runs until 3.7V (vs around 5V previously).
We also phased the new, lower ESR capacitors we started using with prizm to both reduce the size of the board which now fits in a 7/8” width.

Deep sleep
We ported the same deep sleep system as on the NB and Prizm. However, the additional components of the current driver cannot be powered down, so the deep sleep current is slightly higher than on a PZ or NB. We do reach however 0.3mA, estimated to 11 to 12 months of shelf time.

Power Saving modes
We preserved the legacy sleep mode of CF. Now the board uses 3 modes of power saving.
•   1) IDLE: this is when the blade is off. The board plays the accent sequence defined in the idle.txt file. The board uses about 50mA
•   2) After the sleep delay (in multiple of 20ms allowing now up to 994 days) elapses, the board will leave IDLE to go in the SLEEP mode. Accents will be turned off except the one that blinks here and there (font specific settings). The board still computes in that mode, detect motions and moves and will eventually revert the board back to IDLE when using the Wakeup feature. Aux and Act will also wake it up back to IDLE. In that mode the board uses about 10mA
•   3) After the deep sleep delay, the board will move from SLEEP to DEEP SLEEP and will stop computing. It can be started again by either the kill key or pressing the activator switch (not the aux, to avoid jumping in the font selection menu right away). The board will then reboot from scratch. In this mode, it uses about 0.3mA.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 07:54:04 AM by erv »

Offline Sethski

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 02:03:36 AM »
Great to see - thanks as always for your cool work! Although it's only a 'small thing', the transition sound from lockup is one of those detail things that really adds immersion and polish for me.

Excited for when the neopixel-focused CF-LS arrives. Would defo prefer to wait a bit longer for something that takes it to another level with new and emerging features to take advantage of the possibility of animating effects 'locally' on the blade...

The one thing I'd love to see more than anything in future iterations is something on a par with Thexter's 'smooth swing' effect. I imagine this would quite an undertaking and don't know if it'd need more pokey hardware? Anyway, hope it's something on the table for somewhere down the line...

...and I like the sound of "we actually have more things to come" :-)

Offline eastern57

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 02:05:48 AM »
OMG, I's so excited!   :afro: :azn: :cheesy: :cool: :grin: :kiss: :shocked:

Dual Phase Poweroff - here I come!

Offline GalaxyM31

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 05:04:07 AM »
Very excited for this, as always! Very interested in this new pixel proto-type. :cool:

Offline Excelsior

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 08:23:59 PM »
Great to see this announcement, Erv; however, I second Sethski on both accounts. I can't wait for the Neopixel-focused CF9-LS, and it would be great to see something akin to Thexter's "smooth swing" with the motion recognition. I look forward to what you have to come!

Will the CF9-LS also share the smaller dimensions of the new CFv9? If so, that would be great, obviously.

Can't wait to get my hands on both of these new iterations of the CF:smiley:

Offline EXAR KUN

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 08:13:02 AM »
This announcement passed me by! Wow great improvements! Can't believe I didn't see this last month




I'm afraid the deflector shield with be quite operational when your friends arrive.

Offline dday

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 11:31:48 AM »
Thanks for adding in the RGB support for Trident! Can't wait to have my crossguard true RGB :D

Offline Yaraell_Ren

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2018, 02:29:16 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

Offline erv

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 10:40:21 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

don't worry, I've been listening  :wink: :angel:
anyways, thank you for posting requests here, it's great to have suggestions coming or wish lists like it used to be the case in the past !

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2018, 12:14:23 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

don't worry, I've been listening  :wink: :angel:
anyways, thank you for posting requests here, it's great to have suggestions coming or wish lists like it used to be the case in the past !

Any idea when we might see this?  I hate to ask but I've got to make some decisions soon and I'd prefer to stick with your boards.  Thanks. 

Offline cvsickle

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2018, 12:55:14 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

What would be even better is if we got something similar to Smooth swing in a firmware update, assuming it can be done with the v9 hardware. A CF 9.5 would be great, because I have a couple CF9s that I would definitely pay to have flashed to new firmware that included new features like that.

Just a thought  :wink:

Offline JakeSoft

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2018, 07:12:10 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

don't worry, I've been listening  :wink: :angel:
anyways, thank you for posting requests here, it's great to have suggestions coming or wish lists like it used to be the case in the past !

Any idea when we might see this?  I hate to ask but I've got to make some decisions soon and I'd prefer to stick with your boards.  Thanks.

I'd advise you to be patient. In the open source world things move a lot faster and you can expect frequent incremental improvements. Developing a closed-source commercial product isn't like that. If and when such a feature becomes available on a PL board it will likely also be accompanied by many other improvements. Just look at the first post in this thread and you'll see he doesn't ever just add one feature in a release. These things take time to do well.

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2018, 08:55:19 PM »
Erv, please look into Smooth Swing feature for CF V10, it'd be so fantastic to have that new feature on plecter lab boards

don't worry, I've been listening  :wink: :angel:
anyways, thank you for posting requests here, it's great to have suggestions coming or wish lists like it used to be the case in the past !

Any idea when we might see this?  I hate to ask but I've got to make some decisions soon and I'd prefer to stick with your boards.  Thanks.

I'd advise you to be patient. In the open source world things move a lot faster and you can expect frequent incremental improvements. Developing a closed-source commercial product isn't like that. If and when such a feature becomes available on a PL board it will likely also be accompanied by many other improvements. Just look at the first post in this thread and you'll see he doesn't ever just add one feature in a release. These things take time to do well.

Thanks for the advice but it's not needed.  I know how things work in the hobby.  I just need to know if something similar to smoothswing/trueswing is going to be implemented on Plecter boards within the next three months, six months, etc.  I have people wanting this tech and I have to decide whether or not I'm going to invest the time into learning a new system or stick with Plecter.  That will depend on when we can expect to see the new tech on Plecter boards. I've come to expect ambiguity on matters like these but I can't wait around this time.

Offline JakeSoft

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2018, 04:59:35 AM »

Thanks for the advice but it's not needed.  I know how things work in the hobby.  I just need to know if something similar to smoothswing/trueswing is going to be implemented on Plecter boards within the next three months, six months, etc.  I have people wanting this tech and I have to decide whether or not I'm going to invest the time into learning a new system or stick with Plecter.  That will depend on when we can expect to see the new tech on Plecter boards. I've come to expect ambiguity on matters like these but I can't wait around this time.

Ah, OK. Fair enough.

Offline erv

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Re: Please Welcome Crystal Focus(tm) V9
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2018, 01:13:50 AM »
I'd advise you to be patient. In the open source world things move a lot faster and you can expect frequent incremental improvements. Developing a closed-source commercial product isn't like that. If and when such a feature becomes available on a PL board it will likely also be accompanied by many other improvements. Just look at the first post in this thread and you'll see he doesn't ever just add one feature in a release. These things take time to do well.

wise words, and thank you for posting this, as it's great to explain here and there how things work. To address the OP question, my next "target" is christmas. I have various features that I've been wanting to add to the boards, along with addressing some of the passive aggressive "it's 2018 now". The reality (on my end at least lol) is that my HW / SW architecture is now 12-13 years and even if it's been evolving positively along the years (the sound board was 8 bit arch and 8 bit sound in late 2005 and it was already doing most of what it does nowadays with the MCU power of roughly an arduino pro mini) it's clear that it's been superseded by more modern HW + SW, some of which I already use at work.

The transition has been started after the release of CF9, motivated by having more headroom on a new(er) HW platform since it's been the biggest bottleneck to dev recently. FLASH size has been missing, but not as much as RAM. I've been working with 8K for quite a long time and I'm sure the (few) people involved in board dev know what that means lol  :cheesy: :cool:

nevertheless, the new arch is in good shape and I'm now at the code port / low level routines so that I can "translate" my engines to a more modern way of programming, which will bring (more) modularity and scalability in the code. It's kinda no brainer said this way, but just like everything, we tend to forget how things were done before so called modernity and it's amazing to work suddenly with more estate and speed.

Regarding the timeline, I haven't been back pedaling (at all) but I've been indeed distant from forums and social media as I've undertaken a few (big) personal projects involving my home (no, there's no Plecter Castle nor Labs Wineyard domain). As I've been doing that on my own for decade, the early spring to the end of the summer are often tinted with the "house work" and "renovation" insults. This year, the task were massive and I had to at least finalize the outdoors work before Falls, so that I don't have to care about it anymore. That unfortunately took most of my free time. The good news is that it's finished, aside the few details I'm working on when I go back from the day job, every evenings, and I'll be able to lock myself in the basement again to xxx for code   :cry: :azn: :cheesy: :angel:

so if you need smooth swings NOW, the only thing I can tell you is that I'm sorry for not having it ready as today. But I don't see it "too far" from now, though like in every product dev, things can move at different speeds. My biggest issue is time to balance between the day job and the rest, plecter included. That being said, as a large chunk of time has been devoted to non saber / props stuff, I'm going double gear starting like... now. I'll be in professional training for the new processor, which is a mutualized training between Plecter and my day job and the timing is spot on with R&D. I'm excited !