About this project
Earin is the smallest, wireless earbuds available on the market. Two earbuds that together function as one Bluetooth headphone; no cables, no attachments just magically small delivering high quality audio sound.
Earin represents Olle Lindén’s vision which came to life in 2008 after seeing the intro of the movie ‘Definitely Maybe’, where the actor Ryan Reynolds walks down a crowded New York city street with just a pair of small earbuds without cables, listening to, as he says “the soundtrack of a perfect day”. After seeing this movie, Olle was inspired to “create a perfect wireless experience” so his headphones were formed.
At that time, the technology to transmit stereo sound wirelessly was not available as I imagined, but 5 years later I assembled a team of former colleagues and we began our journey. Now we are proud to present a product that is easy to use, beautifully crafted, and creates a fantastic music experience.
Whatever reasons you choose to listen to music, you want it to be a hassle-free experience. When starting our development our mission was to create a product that would be focused on simplicity, size and audio quality.
No unnecessary functionality has been added. No sensors, no lights and no microphone, that’s right - no microphone! Not because we couldn’t but because we wouldn’t!
Earin is for music lovers – and music lovers only.
We use balanced armature speakers, used in professional in-ear-monitors and hearing-aids to deliver the best possible sound and to keep power-consumption at its minimal. High-density rechargeable batteries are used to keep playback time up and size down.
Our compact capsule design is perfect for storing your earbuds and will also easily fit in your pocket whatever you’re wearing. To create more flexibility when you’re on the go and to increase the playback time, the capsule also functions as a charger. Just place the earbuds in the capsule and they will be charged automatically – so they’re ready when you are.
WHAT'S INSIDE YOUR EARIN PACKAGE
TECH SPECS - KEEPING IT SIMPLE
- Dimensions, capsule: Ø18mm x 62mm
- Dimensions, earbuds: Ø14mm x 20mm
- Weight, earbuds: 5 grams
- Weight, capsule: 25 grams
- Play time: 2,5-3 hours (double this if charging in the capsule)
- Earbud/capsule battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion Button Cell
- Bluetooth IC: BT CSR8670, BlueCore5 with aptX
- Bluetooth@3.0 and Bluetooth@4.0 compatible
- Balanced Armature Speaker: Knowles SR-Siren
- Design for IP54 ingress protection
KEEPING IT NOT SO SIMPLE (for us nerds)
The balanced armature speaker in Earin is a new design featuring extended response in the low end and vastly improved high frequency response.
Balanced armature speaker is a high-precision design consisting of spring and magnetic force that removes a lot of the moving mass. This makes it possible to deliver fast attacks and a clear sound that lets you hear all the details in the music. At the same time the low mass makes it very energy efficient. It consumes only a fraction of comparable technologies, a key in making a hearing aid go for days on tiny batteries. These are also the qualities we were looking for to come up with this solution: sound quality and long playtime in a very small package.
The focus for audio is the end result of the total system. Having the electronics in the earbuds gives you the opportunity to optimise the acoustics and the electronics together in a way not possible with corded headphones. This is an even greater advantage when it comes to balanced armature which provides unique tuning capabilities, but have a somewhat strange load on the amplifier. Tuning them together bypasses this problem.
With the power of the AptX solution for digital audio Earin can secure an audio transfer that is optimised for instant real-time audio streaming. AptX has already earned a reputation for some of the highest audio quality, extremely low latency and strong resilience to bit errors, and has been proven in wireless, broadcast and professional live performance applications.
To be able to fit all components in such a small space we have chosen a chip with built-in functionality as shown below in the simplified block schematics of Earin.
Bluetooth as a technology has its limitations. A Bluetooth device is either a slave or a master. The slave receives information and the master sends it out. The Bluetooth is set by a common standard that all manufacturers have to follow.
We are using a chip that can do both and in actual terms each chip is divided into two parts, a master and a slave. This means that this chip bypasses the standard “weakness” in Bluetooth and can function as both receiving information and at the same time sending information.
The picture above shows the Bluetooth flow in Earin.
For us it was extremely important to make Earin magically small in size and light weight. Small because we want people to be amazed when they see it and light weight because a heavy product will loose grip by its own weight when you move.
Because of the shape of Earin, we chose a Li-Ion coin cell battery from Varta Micro-battery and this battery is remarkable in many aspects.
- Low internal impedance
- Output current that meets our requirements and charging within the hour
- Robust design which lowers risk of damaging at production assembly
- Very high density - 50mAh packed in a package of 12.1x5.4 mm and 1.6g
The architecture of the earbud is based on two main covers which are ultrasonically welded to create a water-tight seal, protecting the electrical components. The materials are carefully selected to withstand both climate and impact testing. As all project membershave extensive experience of creating similar consumer products, we know what works and what doesn´t.
Ergonomics is also a parameter that has been in focus since the project started. Various prototypes and competitor models have been tested and we’ve concluded that the ergonomics, both in terms of comfort and secure fit, gains from minimising the volume and the weight. The earbuds’ center of gravity should also be kept as closely to the body as possible. We’ve managed this by angling the shape of the front cover, enabling close fit and to mimic the shape and direction of the human ear channel.
For those of you who plan to use your Earin in more extreme use cases, including sports, we have developed a special ‘Concha Wing’ which will improve and secure the fit even further. The concha lock is made out of silicon for optimal comfort.
In the video below we describe how we've optimized the fit of the Earin.
HOW IT WORKS – AS EASY AS IT GETS
Your earbuds are ready for action as soon as you remove them from the capsule, just follow the steps below and you are ready to go.
WHERE WE’RE AT
We have been working hard for the last year and a half preparing for our Kickstarter launch. What started as an idea has now resulted in an impressive technical solution, perfect for your eyes and ears.
To get where we're at today, we had to achieve some important milestones which are illustrated below:
- June 2014: Continue Alpha prototype testing & refinement
- July 2014: Update Beta schematics & PCB CAD, Beta HW order, DFM analysis.
- August 2014: Mech tool order.
- September 2014: Arrival of Beta HW, Compliance testing & certification, Mech 3D update.
- December 2014: Begin manufacturing.
- January 2015: Get Earin in your hands!
STRETCH GOAL #1 £600 000
Stretch goal 1. Earin app for IOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Extended playtime, enabled by switching master and slave, balancing the power consumption.
- Mono playtime. Use one earbud while charging the other. This gives you up to 10 hours continuous playtime.
- Audio settings
STRETCH GOAL #2 £700 000
Stretch goal 2. Waterproof earbuds
No more worries about dropping your earbuds into water. You can even swim with them. Beware though, the Bluetooth radio waves will not work under water.
STRETCH GOAL #3 £915 000
Stretch goal #3, Power update.
- New battery, with more than doubled capacity, added to the capsule.
- Minimal impact on capsule size.
- Providing a minimum of two recharging cycles on the go.
- Battery indicator, monitoring the battery level of your Earins, integrated into the Earin App.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
By contributing to our project and help us get the product to market, you will not only get a great product, but also kickstart a young company consisting of four passionate and dedicated engineers with many ideas and exciting visions.
If you like being in the forefront of technology and support a company that will make sure you’ll get there, then we’d love to have you onboard our journey.
Your contribution will be used to:
- Build our 2nd prototype
- Compliance testing & Certifications
- Investments in mechanical tooling
- Source components for our first sales batch
- Finalize the design of the world’s smallest wireless earbuds
Risks and challenges
Earin is a complex product with several unique components that leaves us dependant on our suppliers and partners. To lower the risk, we have built up a supply-chain with two sourcing partners and two manufacturing partners.
Technically there will be obstacles as there always are, but we will tackle them as we go and we will share all our efforts.
Schedule is a risk, depending on so many factors. The main risk though, is poor quality from assembly and mechanical suppliers. We’ll reduce this risk by visiting mechanical suppliers and we will be present during product-builds assembly and testing.
Our most important asset is the people who support us, believe in us and make the Earin possible. We want to thank you and we promise you that we will deliver you the best wireless audio experience that you have ever heard!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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