Spectrum: Design in progress

Hey everyone!

Here’s a quick update on the status of Project: Spectrum!

Before we dive in

If you’re new to our crowd-developed monitor Project: Spectrum or if you just need a quick recap of what we’ve been up to so far, have a look at this summary of everything to do with the project so far. If you want to keep up to date with future steps, be sure to subscribe to our crowd-development newsletter!

A wide Spectrum of designs

Two weeks ago, we published five design concepts from Propeller, each suggesting a unique look for our monitor. The BLADE and BLOXY designs were the clear crowd favorites, but we received a lot of valuable feedback on all five of the designs. The designers have been hard at work to move forward based on your responses to come up with the ultimate design for Spectrum!

Then a few more questions

An unexpected solution

We had some follow-up questions, mostly about port placement and controls. We were a bit surprised by how many of you are looking for the single cable solution! A solution was offered from the community that quickly got seconded, and thirded, and seems to be an ideal compromise on what to do with those USB Type-C ports: Add the one with USB-PD to the ‘permanent’ ports, and the other one to the ‘temporary’ ports. That also makes it clearer which port has which capabilities!

More about the ‘temporary’ ports

The polls show clear preferences for corners over edges, left over right, and hidden ports over ports on the very edge of the display.

Though the 3.5mm minijack port wasn’t mentioned in the survey, it will of course be included, with the ‘temporary’ ports…

Buttons!

It seems a small control stick that can be nudged around is the preferred way of getting around the OSD. And we want a button to easily switch between any of our five possible input signals, too! We’ll look into making that extra button programmable from the OSD, so that you can assign another feature to it if you so wish. But input select seems the obvious default function for it…

The controversial status light

The community seems less agreed about status lights. Are they useful tools that need as many features as possible, or a scourge that needs to be eliminated?

The preferred defaults (for those who prefer a light at all) seems to be white, slowly pulsing in standby, and as dim as possible. Of course we will look into what our manufacturing partner can do to bring as many features to the table as possible: user-adjustable RGB would allow everyone to get their favorite color and brightness, after all!

The final Spectrum


We’ve been going over two new design concepts that Propeller based on the community feedback. Though we were able to pick which of the two is most in line with what we’re after, that concept still needs some work before it’s ready for prime time. This includes some tweaks and redesigns, and a lot of discussion about which materials to use for the various components. We know that things have been quiet around Spectrum, but choosing the design of the monitor is a big step and we want to make sure we do it right. As soon as we have something to show you guys will be the first to know, so stay tuned!

From there on, our design- and manufacturing partners will go back and forth to fit all the right mechanical and electrical parts into this final concept. This may lead to the concept being tweaked where necessary, and in but a few weeks we should have the final design…

We’re looking forward to it, and hope that you are as well!

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Thanks for the update!

Will that “final design” be a “final single proposal to be reviewed by the community and then further improved” or “a final final final design that will be sent to production as is”?

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Please make sure to allow turning off the status LED, if it’s user-adjustable. And thanks for the update!

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So will the monitor alone be sold quicker than the monitor + stand or will you wait to sell both? For example, could the monitor alone be sold in January and the stand + monitor later?

Thanks for the update.

The USB-C/PD makes a lot of sense.
That button solution/modification sounds like a great idea as well (more below).
A thought on the light status option.
Why not combine the status light with the individual programmable button? It can be setup by default for both input selection and a dull white glow. This gives the customizability of one button instead of having to customize both a button and a light, there is a lot of software out there that already does this for buttons/lights that can be looked at.

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One that will still be reviewed by the community, though it will have already been tested for feasibility, and it’s not likely to change much unless something major comes up.

We’re still looking into the possibility of it being RGB, in which case you can simply set it to 0,0,0 and have it be off. Failing that, we’ve heard the community’s requests to be able to turn it off so that’d be our next step!

If anything, the monitor is the more complex part of the two, so I doubt it will be available before the stand is.

We’re looking to do everything in firmware, though. That way no additional software is required and it will work no matter what device you connect to the monitor!

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@Helios Maybe the location of the 3.5mm audio port should be polled as well. I for one, would rather have it with the ‘permanent’ ports, since my speakers are permanently connected.

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We figured that might be a use case, so though the port is with the ‘temporary’ ports, it is also the port closest to the ‘permanent’ ones for ease of cable management.

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Nice, you truly do think of everything, don’t you? I’m so pumped!

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Except when I forgot to add a 3.5mm minijack to the list in the ports polls :wink:

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I’m getting more excited about this monitor the more I read. Can’t wait!

That makes sense. I still think combining the light and that one separate button is a good idea. I think it will help simplify the over all build and visual.

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