Pet Companion

Hi Everybody,

Hope all’s well out there!  We saw an opportunity to cross off two things on our software to-do list before tackling more advanced MotionScope features.   The latest software release includes a new example that will help you keep tabs on your pet, and possibly feed him/her treats throughout the day remotely.  Check out Pet Companion:

Pet Companion also has a nice tutorial that will help you learn how to create new Vizy Applications.

Also included in this release is Web Sharing, which allows you to access your Vizy from anywhere on the Internet, even if your Vizy is behind a firewall or router, which is typically the case.  Web Sharing is perfect for an application like Pet Companion —  you know, so you can share the URL with your friends.  Now they too can say hello and give your little guy/gal treats.

Enjoy!  Oh, and don’t forget to update!

The Vizy Team



Hey Everybody,

Hope all’s well out there!  A new Vizy software release just landed, and contained within is the first version of MotionScope (yay!)

Read more about it here, give it a try, and then meet us over at the forum to tell us what you think!

Also contained within this release is improved mobile support.  Getting things to render perfectly on all screen sizes is nearly impossible, but this release includes several improvements that make things more visually appealing and easier to use on smaller screens.

Additionally, there are lots of behind-the-scenes improvements… Enjoy!

The Vizy Team

Good news for the new year!

Hey Everybody,

We’ve done it!  All Kickstarter rewards and pre-orders have left the facility and are on their way to you.  If you are backer number 300 to 450, you should have received an email confirmation and if you haven’t received your reward yet, you should soon.  If your backer number is greater than 450 or you purchased a pre-order, your Vizy is on its way to our fulfillment partners and will ship within the week.  Nice!

On the software development side of things, we’ve been focusing on the MotionScope application, and it’s close to its first release.  Check out the quickie demo video below.

Additionally, we recently added some useful docs about how to implement a squirrel defense system and how to mount your outdoor enclosure if you plan on running the birdfeeder application.

Thanks for helping us through the last year — here’s to bigger and better things for 2022!

The Vizy Team

Just the facts

Hey Everybody,

We have some good news!  We received the enclosures on Friday, so we wanted to give an update without any of the speculations we’ve seen in the last several updates.  So here goes, just the facts:

  • We received the enclosures 3 days ago.
  • Vizy manufacturing has resumed.
  • All remaining KS rewards and pre-orders will be shipped before the end of January 2022.

That last one has a degree of speculation, but we have plenty of experience manufacturing Vizys to make this claim.   We also have plenty of stock for retail sales and distribution after the KS rewards and pre-orders have shipped.  And we’ve learned some valuable lessons about manufacturing in this day and age…

Thank you so much for your patience!  Here’s hoping 2022 will be a better year for the supply chains, small OEMs such as ourselves, and for the technically-minded trend-setters and early-adopters such as yourselves.

Happy Holidays!

The Vizy team

We’re at 99%

Hey Everybody,

Have you ever noticed that the progress bar for whatever you’re trying to get done on your computer often gets stuck at 99%?  It just sits there and taunts you with its almost done-ness, as if it’s daring you to throw something at the screen.  In my experience a few choice swear words are usually sufficient…  There should a word for this phenomenon because it happens all the friggin time…  we’ll call it Tantalizingly Almost, but Annoyingly Not Done, Yet, which makes the fun acronym TAANDY, rhymes with “dandy”, perhaps ironically so.

As you know, we’re waiting for Vizy’s plastic enclosures.   They have made the long journey across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal and have landed in Houston, where they now sit in a container freight station (CFS) warehouse, waiting to be processed and eventually shipped to us here in Austin.  Normally, imported goods spend no more than 48 hours in a CFS, but these are weird times, and it seems that these days, TAANDY begets more TAANDY as the delays make their way through the supply chain.  We’ve been told that once the shipment is released, we’ll likely receive them within 24 hours and that they could be released any day now, or it could take up to 2 weeks.

We’ll continue to push the freight forwarders and keep you informed… but right now we’re estimating that production will resume on December 17.

In the meantime, please join us in swearing at the screen.  The progress bar will reach 100%… thank you so much for your patience.

The Vizy Team

Hofstadter’s Law

Hi Everybody,

Hope all’s well out there.  Ever hear of Hofstadter’s Law?  It predicts that your next project will take longer than expected, even after taking into account Hofstadter’s law.  Hofstadter was clearly onto something, but his self-referential law doesn’t get nearly enough attention, especially in the realm of software development, because let’s face it — software is the worst!  So feel free to credit him when your next software project is late.  (Or super late…)

In the spirit of H’s Law, the 2nd release of the Birdfeeder application is finally ready.  We added recording capability to the Birdfeeder application.  You can now take videos, which will be uploaded to Google Photos, and if you like, Vizy will automatically take videos when it defends your birdfeeder.  You know, so you can make sure that the food that you’ve so generously provided makes it to the intended recipients.

We also added some more camera modes (see video example) and fixed/improved various issues/things.

Go ahead and update.   Full documentation will land later this week, but the new controls/features are fairly self-explanatory.  Nerdy note:  while Vizy is recording video within the Birdfeeder application, it’s also encoding a video stream for your browser to display, encoding the recorded video stream at full framerate/1080p, and running a Tensorflow network!

If you have any questions/issues, meet us over at the forum.

The Vizy Team

With or without foam?

Hi Everybody,

The Zim Alabama is docked in Yantian Harbor, Shenzhen.  There’s a Starbucks less than a mile away from the dock.  I’m picturing the captain walking down the gangplank thing, strolling over to Starbucks and ordering a Venti Soy Latte (with or without foam, I’m not sure.) He gets a 20% discount because of his maritime attire (he’s wearing his captain’s hat of course.)  He then sits and enjoys his tasty beverage while our enclosures are loaded on his boat…

Confirmation that the enclosures are onboard and headed to the US should come next week.

It’s been a quiet week, just the hushed sounds of software development.  If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and update your Vizy software and check out the Birdfeeder application.  The docs were posted on Monday.  We’ll be releasing another update next week with some bug fixes and video recording functionality added.  Have a fantastic week!

The Vizy Team

Manufacturing(ish) update (week 8)

Hi Everybody,

Hope all’s well out there, just a quickie update this week.  If you’re just tuning in, we’ve been waiting on the 2nd shipment of enclosures, which are waiting for a boat to come along to take them to the US.  And we’ve secured booking on a worthy vessel, but it won’t sail until later this month with an expected arrival on November 20th.  (And why do they call it “sailing”?)

In the meantime, we’ve been putting together Vizy subassemblies so that we can kick things into a higher gear when we do get the parts.   And we’ve also made good progress in the software department — in particular, the Birdfeeder app.  Well… as of yesterday, it’s up!  You can update and give it a try if you like, but we’re a bit behind schedule and don’t have documentation ready yet, but who needs documentation?   (The documentation will be ready Monday 10/18.  Using the Birdfeeder app is fairly straightforward, but getting the Google Cloud configured might be challenging without some guidance.   Still, several of you have given the app a try and initial reviews are positive.)

We’ll keep on rolling with the software development (and documentation) next week.  Please share your initial Birdfeeder impressions with us and the community over at the forum, but maybe wait a few days for the documentation.  See you soon!


The Vizy Team

Manufacturing(ish) update (week 7)

Hi Everybody,

Not much manufacturing took place this week because we’re waiting for parts, but along those lines, we were able to get more information on our boat.  We’re booked on the Zim Alabama, a handsome vessel with a carrying capacity of 71112 long tons, which should be plenty of capacity for our enclosures.

As you can see I spent some time geeking out over this — you can actually track its journeys online (You have to pay to get the most recent information — maybe there’s a tier where you can goose it to go faster?  We’re investigating…)

This week we made significant progress with the software, checking off several tasks required for the Birdfeeder application.   And we did some fleshing-out of the documentation (check out the new “Digging deeper” section.)  Some have asked about the Power Board API, you can check out the docs here.

That’s all for now… next week will continue our focus on software and documentation.   Many thanks for your patience.

Share your thoughts, concerns, and questions below, or let’s meet over in the forum and discuss.


The Vizy Team

Manufacturing update (week 6)

Hi Everybody,

For those just tuning in, we’ve shipped backer rewards up to backer number 275, with some fulfillment hiccups (see below).  But we’ve run out of enclosures, so we’re waiting for the 2nd shipment of enclosures, which requires a boat, and boats are hard to come by these days.

So… do we have a boat?  Short answer: yes, and the shipment is booked on a boat with an October 18 departure and a November 20(ish) arrival.   (Yay?  Not exactly great news…)

Longer answer: do you ever call the help line of a large company, and the person on the other end says they can’t answer your question or solve your problem, so they transfer you to another department?  And that new department can’t answer your question either, so they transfer you to yet another department?  This can go on and on…  Sometimes you wind up being batted back and forth between two departments, each of which assures you that the other department has the information you so desperately need or can solve the problem you so desperately need to solve.  Is there a word for this?  I call it frustrating as heck.  It’s what we’ve been facing — the enclosure vendor says that they can’t pay freight until they get a booking on a ship.  And the freight forwarder says they can’t get a booking until freight is paid.  Freight costs have increased substantially since we paid freight back in November 2020 (about 200%), which might be part of the rub.  At any rate, we’ve been able to straighten out the freight charges and we’ve been told that the enclosures are booked on an October 18 shipment.  October 18 is not quite good news, but maybe it’s the best possible news under the circumstances.   So with the Thanksgiving season, pumpkin spice, and hope in the air, we may finally get our enclosures — a full year after we ordered them.  Maddening…  and this assumes there won’t be additional delays.  It’s frustrating for you, the backer/customer, and it’s expensive for us.  Here’s really hoping we get past these supply chain issues soon.

Software and scheduling

In the meantime, we’ll be pushing software and documentation.  We’ve revised the live schedule to reflect both fulfillment and software efforts.  Much of the application development will entail bringing over older code, cleaning it up, and getting it to run with the latest code and libraries.   Since much of the code is already written, it will help speed things along, but software schedules can be tricky.  Any changes in the estimates will be reflected in the schedule and future updates.

The application poll is still gathering votes — please weigh in if you haven’t already.  The initial results aren’t too surprising — Birdfeeder,  Motionscope, Astronomy, and Pet Companion (in that order).  And feel free to suggest other applications either by replying to the thread or creating your own topic.  This will inform our efforts after we develop these initial applications.  Here at Charmed Labs, one of our favorite ideas is an application that estimates where your golf ball will go based on its trajectory immediately after being hit — you know, for a Vizy-based golf simulator.  Another favorite is an application that will estimate the speed of passing cars and take a picture of any speeding car’s license plates and upload the pictures to the cloud for others in the neighborhood to see (and possibly shame) — an automated neighborhood speeding vigilante if you will.  Let’s meet over at the forum and discuss more.

Fulfillment hiccups

After much back and forth with Amazon, we got almost all of the fulfillment orders unstuck, except for a few, which we resubmitted.  This gave us the confidence to upload the rest of the batch.  So if you’re a US-based backer with backer number 136 through 275, you should be receiving an email soon from Amazon.  Thanks for your patience.

That’s all for now… see y’all next week!


The Vizy Team