Happy Christmas! My hope is that when I get home from visiting family that the prototype PCB I requested will be in my mailbox and that it "just works" the first time through (I have a couple days at the end of my vacation to work on this). In the real world, we are probably looking at a couple more months ;) Once I get it working here I'll get a run of five or so PCBs for beta testing and send them out, and if those work we're in business.
I'm still worried about the problem I was having with a few of the previous kits, so one thing I would like to offer with the next version is a preassembled/pretested model, so if the basic design for the new kits works I will take a little more time to do a SMD "prebuilt" version that would come preloaded with the BasicJoystick firmware and quick-tested with an orb on this end. That will take more time as I haven't done that before and will want to build a few tools (smd assembly table and either hot plate or toaster oven for reflow soldering--nothing but the highest tech here, lol). But one thing that came out of the last batch is that not everyone wants to learn how to solder just to try and get an orb working!
In the prototype I have added three LEDs for power, "orb has communicated" and "have sent HID descriptor", and added a few resistors and a "debug communications" port so the DIP switches are gone and all this will hopefully make diagnosis easier if it fails for someone. I'm still really bummed about those--some of them never did work and it bothers me not knowing why.
I'm also going to try and make a "case" available (a plexiglas "sandwich" with spacers) which would offer a bit more protection and maybe strain relief). Should be very cheap, only couple of dollars, and feel a lot better about tossing around the desk. I have access to a laser cutter here so I think that will be easy, but we'll see.
So I am shooting for feb/march for kits and a little longer for prebuilts and cases. Should be a good year for the old Orb, and I'm only sorry it's taken this long to get back to it!