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Newsletter: October 2013



Puzzlebox Productions, LLC

The Puzzlebox Newsletter

Updates from the makers of brain-controlled devices for minds of all kinds

Puzzlebox Pyramids Arrive in California

Puzzlebox Pyramids Are Shipping!

At long last we are proud to announce that the first Puzzlebox Pyramids have begun shipping. Backers of our original Kickstarter campaign in the United States will be receiving theirs first, followed by international backers, and finally all outstanding pre-orders.

Just as we have added several hardware upgrades to the Pyramid over the course of the last several months, we have also created several new software features which will arrive pre-installed on every Puzzlebox Pyramid.

By default, the Pyramid operates in Bluetooth mode. When switched on or plugged in, the Pyramid will automatically search for and connect to the last NeuroSky Mindwave Mobile EEG with which it has been paired. Pairing to a new headset (or for the first time) is as easy as holding down the single hardware button during boot. At this point the Pyramid is ready to fly the Orbit helicopter and will begin visualizing measurements of focused concentration and mental relaxation.

Next, if the Pyramid is plugged into a desktop or laptop computer over USB, it is possible to manually fly the Orbit using the keyboard, as well as to change the light pattern on the color wheel to any desired configuration. The controls are modeled after our documentation for using an Arduino circuit to operate the Orbit. Puzzlebox will soon be releasing free software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux which can use the Pyramid as an infrared transmitter in this way. We expect to be announcing details on this new software in November.

Finally, if the Pyramid is plugged into an Android mobile phone or tablet (running version 2.3.4 or later) we have produced a new “Puzzlebox Pyramid” app which can likewise use the Pyramid as the infrared transmitter. This allows the user to set custom target levels for attention and/or meditation, just as with the normal Orbit app. Most importantly, this solution will work for Android devices whose audio hardware has trouble communicating through the headphone jack to the infrared transmitter included with the Orbit Mobile Edition.

The Puzzlebox Pyramid app for Android and its source code are both available for download from the Pyramid development tracker.

Android: Orbit Interface Overhaul

Puzzlebox Orbit for Android 1.4.1
The Puzzlebox Orbit app for Android has been redesigned with a tab-based interface to match August’s update for Apple iOS. The step-by-step tutorial walkthrough for setting up and using the Puzzlebox Orbit has been included and adapted for Android, direct support inquiries can be composed and sent to Puzzlebox staff, advanced controls and raw EEG display are intact, and the overall look and feel should be much smoother for devices with small screen sizes.This update is available for download from Google Play for Android devices running version 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”) or later. Due to new software requirements, devices with Android version 2.2 and 2.3 are only supported through the original interface.

Apple iOS Update: “Flight Path” Control

Puzzlebox Orbit for iOS 1.4.2
Our lead engineer, Hao Zhang, has been hard at work taking a digital oscilloscope to a series of Apple iOS devices in order to complete work on dynamic signal generation for steering the Puzzlebox Orbit. This task was a particular challenge for him as it was his first exposure to Objective C and the Xcode development environment (both requirements for iOS programming). Thanks to his hard work it is now possible to fine-tune throttle, yaw, and pitch for the Apple platform.Simply put, a “flight plan” can be adjusted on the fly, controlling in real time how quickly the Orbit will rise, how much it will rotate to the left or right, and forward and backward motion (using the small propeller at the top of the helicopter). This brings feature parity with Android and lays the groundwork for exciting new features described in our software roadmap.We have also included a scaling interface for iPad, iPad Retina, iPad Mini, and iPad Mini Retina resolutions.

Puzzlebox Orbit for Apple iOS is available for download through the App Store.

Seeking Your Experiences

Support Interface
Our latest Android and iOS updates now feature Support mechanisms which allow users to directly send feedback to Puzzlebox staff.We would very much like to hear your experiences, tips, suggestions, and any problems you might have encountered while using our software.Specifically, we have been made aware are that certain specific models of Android devices have unique audio hardware which interferes with our infrared transmitters, for example the Droid Razr and Samsung Galaxy Note 2. We are seeking to build a more complete picture of such issues and submitting your results (including successful ones) helps inform us where to focus our engineering and testing efforts.

Please let us know what you think!

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