A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our Kickstarter campaign, because of you we have been able to fund our project and make our molded swimming ear plugs available to the world! After the campaign ends please visit https://zenplugs.com/swimming-earplugs to buy ZenPlugs Swim and keep yourself free of swimmers' ear and surfers' ear for years to come.
ZenPlugs Swim Double Action Molded Swimming Earplugs are an innovative and effective way to banish swimmers' ear for good. Available from https://zenplugs.com/, they are incredibly comfortable, stay in the ears and are designed to be difficult to lose. Based on the groundbreaking patented ZenPlugs earplug process, ZenPlugs Swim protect your ears by blocking water with a unique customised seal and killing bacteria at the same time.
After launch our earplugs will retail at £19.99 so we are giving our lovely backers a great reward in exchange for an £8-12 pledge. In the film below Dr Toby Bateson explains the story behind ZenPlugs Swim and describes how they solve the problems associated with other swimming earplugs.
Our earplugs are tailored perfectly to tackle the problems which swimmers have with earplugs and swimmers ear. These include earplugs falling out, itchy ears and plugs being lost.
Our market research found that these are common problems for regular swimmers.
ZenPlugs Swim are molded at home from a kit in a one-stage process which only takes a few minutes. It's easy! We will even give you a real-time video you can follow to make it even easier. Mold them once and you will have fitted earplugs for years to come.
They are made from a unique compound with a texture like rubber; the recipe is a trade secret. ZenPlugs Swim give you comfortable, flexible, fitted earplugs for a fraction of the price of visiting the audiologist. Everyone's ears are different so normal ear plugs end up being 'one-size-fits-none'. Our tailored fit creates a perfect seal with your ear.
The plugs are based on the tried-and-tested ZenPlugs process. We have been developing and perfecting this for the last eight years so we know our earplugs give the most comfortable and effective fit possible. The fact it is patented means ZenPlugs are the only earplugs in the world which can be made in this way.
Combined with the powerful antibacterial effect of Steritouch, the plugs protect your ears from swimmers' ear infection in two ways. Steritouch is a safe silver-based compound which kills all of the bacteria known to cause ear infections. These include MRSA, Staph. aureus, Pseudomonas and many others.
They can be remoulded as many times as you like and healed if damaged by resoftening and remolding. The ZenPlugs process gives you the only remoldable molded earplugs in the world. This means that you can adjust the fit and size of the plugs as many times as you like.
If you need to be able to hear more whilst swimming and wearing ZenPlugs Swim, you can reduce the size and remould. This is ideal for hearing instructions during a triathlon or swimming lessons, as well as hearing boats and jet skis coming. They are supplied with a cord to connect the earplugs together. We have designed a special float which means that if you drop the plugs in the water you can find them easily as they will float on the surface. You can tuck the float under your swimming cap so you won't lose your plugs if you knock one out or take them out to listen to instructions while swimming.
You can also tie the cord to the zipper on your wet suit, if you have one. We are supplying the cord extra long in case you want to do this. It can be shortened if you wish to use a shorter cord.
ZenPlugs asked swimmers three questions.
ZP - "If you wear earplugs for swimming, what problems do you have with them?"
"Small and clear or colourless plugs are easy to lose.
The ones with a channel through the centre get sand stuck in the hole.
"Turning the head and movement while swimming when using plugs on a cord tugs on the plugs and pulls them from the ear, unless the cord is long enough to go under a swimming cap."
"I have earplugs for swimming but they hurt and fall out."
"I use ****** swimming earplugs but they are not completely watertight so there is a clicking noise as water washes round the plug when I move my head.
They aren't cost-effective in the long run and litter the ocean when they are lost."
"Mine are too big, hanging out of my ear. This means I can easily knock them out when I am swimming.
ZP - "Any improvements you could suggest?"
"Please could you make some that allow you to hear and don't fall out.
Make them out of a material sand doesn't stick to and which is easy to clean. Also, a way of attaching them to a swimming hat would be useful."
"Swimming earplugs with a better seal.
They need to fit snugly so I don't know I'm wearing them. They should never need adjusting or thinking about, even in rough water.
They need to block water but not sound."
ZP - "Why do you wear earplugs when you swim?"
"To keep out wind and water and to prevent swimmer's ear."
"My ears started hurting and aching so I started wearing earplugs. I used to have repeated ear infections as a child, often caused by swimming in dirty seawater."
"I wear earplugs to stop water ingress as I hate the whooshing noise of water stuck in my ear when I get out of the water. Also being able to hear my breathing when I am swimming has improved my rhythm and breathing cycles."
"I wear earplugs when I swim as it helps stop my dizziness."
We took all of these problems into account when designing the earplugs and have come up with a product which has them covered. By making plugs which are fitted to the ears they are more comfortable and stay in better than other types. They also block water effectively by creating a customised fit. By using the supplied petroleum jelly whilst using the plugs you can improve the seal further, as well as keeping the plugs in your ears for longer.
Because you can reduce the size of the plugs you can allow more sound through if you need to, without the requirement for a hole through the centre.
As the plugs can be reused many hundreds of times and are harder to lose they are more economical and reduce plastic waste in the sea. The one-off purchase of a pair will stand you in good stead for years to come.
We have a production prototype of ZenPlugs Swim, as you can see from the photographs. We are ready to bring the product to market and need investment for printing, materials and for the first batch to be run at the factory.
ZenPlugs Swim are perfect for serious swimmers who do not want to miss training through time out of the water. They will give you peace of mind by protecting you against swimmers' ear whilst being cost-effective and kinder to the environment.
Dr Toby Bateson, Inventor Of ZenPlugs Swim
'ZenPlugs Swim are the result of years of experience developing and improving my ZenPlugs process and learning about the problems swimmers have with their ear plugs. Working as an Emergency Doctor I have first-hand experience of the causes and prevention of ear infections and frequently see ear infections as a result of swimming. These cause pain and illness and often require treatment with antibiotics. Wearing ZenPlugs Swim in the water will prevent this problem.'
For a pledge of £1 you will receive a Thank You on our website and/or you can register your interest to be an initial supplier of ZenPlugs Swim.
For a Super Earlybird pledge of £8 you will receive a pair of ZenPlugs Swim of your own, only 25 available.
For an Earlybird pledge of £10 you will receive your own pair of ZenPlugs Swim, only 25 available.
For a pledge of £12 you will receive a pair of ZenPlugs Swim.
For an Earlybird pledge of £27 you will receive 3 pairs of ZenPlugs Swim for you and your friends.
For a pledge of £30 you will receive 3 pairs of ZenPlugs Swim for you and your friends.
For an Earlybird pledge of £90 you will receive 10 pairs of ZenPlugs Swim for your swimming team or to sell in your swimming supplies shop.
For a pledge of £100 you will receive 10 pairs of ZenPlugs Swim for your swimming team or to sell in your swimming supplies shop.
About the project
ZenPlugs was founded eight years ago and has built up a huge loyal following of customers, as well as extensive experience of the ear plug market.
ZenPlugs Swim are the result of feedback from swimmers who found that existing swimming earplug products did not meet their expectations.
We have a production prototype and now need your help to raise funds to bring this to market.
We want to give you the chance to protect your ears from swimmers' ear comfortably, effectively and reduce waste at the same time. Funds raised will be spent on production and promoting the product to swimmers who will benefit from their protection. If you believe in our product please donate.
Risks and challenges
We have minimised the risks involved in this project by fully developing the prototype to the stage where ZenPlugs Swim are now ready for production. The earplugs have been designed with Dufort Associates industrial designers and their factory in Wadebridge, UK is ready to make ZenPlugs Swim as soon as the Kickstarter campaign is funded.
We have been producing and shipping the standard ZenPlugs Molded Earplugs for years now so we have experience of production, packing and shipping large numbers of items.
Dr Toby Bateson invented the patented ZenPlugs process 8 years ago and has been perfecting the product ever since, gaining a huge amount of experience in the ear plug sector at the same time. Working as an Emergency Doctor also gives him insight into the causes of ear disorders, prevention and management. He is also a Guinness World Record holder, having invented the world's smallest vacuum cleaner in November 2017.
Francis Dufort of Dufort Associates is a renowned industrial designer who has more than 40 years experience in product development and design. He has brought hundreds of products from concept to market and has a deep understanding of the processes involved. His team has been involved in the design, evolution and testing of the product.
We are confident that the design of ZenPlugs Swim is the best that it can be and that they will be the best swimming ear plugs you will ever wear. Please support our campaign with a donation to become one of the first to try this ground-breaking new product.