Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 17, 2013.

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Disentangle from the cumbersome earbud cord; add new functionality to your digital lifestyle. New from Timbuk2 founder, Rob Honeycutt.

Elroy on FaceBook   - - -   Elroy on Twitter

If you missed our Kickstarter, don't worry...

You can still pre-order on our MeetElroy website and still receive your order in August.  Thanks!


In the media...

Engadget - "Smarter than your average bluetooth earbuds."

Mashable - "[Elroy] aims to eliminate tangled cords forever."

Techtorial - "...smart functions without downplaying style."

Mocoloco - "Smartbuds!"

The Tech Spy - "Cool looking unit..."

Tech Nutty -  "Bluetooth ... with a clever twist."

Geeky Gadgets - "...rid yourself of the annoying cord."

Trend Hunter -  "...interesting that despite all the advancements in technology, most people are still tethered ... by wires. Elroy aims to change that."

GadgetSin - "...a tangle-free way to enjoy your favorite music."

Technology Tell -  "Elroy Earbuds Are Smart, Stylish, and Less Tangly."

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Made our $30k goal in 8 hours!  

Blasted through our $100K stretch goal.

Now working on creating our own custom Elroy earbud design.

Second stretch goal: $150K.

Backer reward for reaching $150K will be a high quality molded EVA travel case for Elroy.

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Wearable Bluetooth

If you use earbuds you know the continual annoyance of the tangled cord.  Our solution is to get rid of the lower 2/3 of the cord and replace it with a bluetooth unit clipped to your clothing.

Wearable technology is becoming an important new form factor in consumer electronics.  We're taking what would otherwise be a dull clip-on bluetooth unit and transforming it into something that becomes a piece of electronic jewelry.  Weighing about as much as two US quarters, you'll easily forget you're wearing Elroy.

A Home for Your Earbuds

Elroy gives your earbuds a place to live.  Elroy's patent pending magnetic docking points give a convenient and secure location to keep your earbuds untangled and quickly available when you need them. 

These docking points are also electronically activated to perform useful functions.  If you have an incoming call, merely removing an earbud answers the call.  Replacing the earbuds terminates a call.  If you're listening to music, placing the earbuds on the docks will pause your music.  Removing them again will restart the last song where it left off.

How many devices do you have?

Today, bluetooth audio devices need to be capable of serving all the devices in your personal electronic arsenal.  Elroy comes equipped with Multipoint and can serve up to 7 devices.  Watching a movie on your iPad when a phone call comes in on your iPhone?  No problem. Just click and answer.  Maybe you have to carry two phones, one for yourself and one for work.  No problem.  Elroy is connected to both at the same time ready to take a call.

Other Benefits

  • Easily answer your phone when it's docked into a speaker system
  • Can be used with any earbud or headset that uses a 3.5mm jack
  • Gets rid of the annoying cord when running or exercising 
  • Control volume, advance tracks remotely when your phone is docked to a speaker system
  • And, Yes, Elroy will work with Siri.  Just push and hold the answer button.

Configurations

We find it a little boring when there is little selection in a product mix.  Just doing a few colors doesn't cut it.  We want this product to have variety regardless of the level of funding.  This is why we are applying a production method called "late point differentiation" to create 6 different variations of Elroy.  (You can view all the configurations at the MeetElroy website.)


Engineering Elroy

To keep development simple and fast we are using a fully developed bluetooth module from Bluegiga.  This system is targeted specifically for high quality audio and phone applications. Bluegiga's WT32 audio module is built so that we can easily customize it, on an ongoing basis, to accomplish all the tasks Elroy requires. We currently have the bluetooth module up and running, performing expected tasks for Elroy.

By selecting Bluegiga, we ensure our primary goal of getting a quality product to our Kickstarter backers in the most timely manner possible.  Bluegiga gives us simplicity of development while still offering a powerful bluetooth solution.  

Technical Specs

  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR standard (See FAQ below for BT 2.1 vs 4.0)
  •   - Nominal output power +5 dBm 
  •   - Nominal sensitivity -87 dBm 
  • Class 2 - range up to 30 meters
  • Transmit power 7dBm, receiver sensitivity -87dBm
  • temperature range from -30C to +85C
  • Apt-X Audio Enhancement
  • Integrated 16-bit stereo codec
  • High Quality -95dB audio DAC
  • Fully differential analog audio inputs and outputs
  • Multipoint: Supports up to 7 devices
  • Low power consumption
  • >5 hours talk time
  • >100 hours standby
  • Supported Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP (v.1.5), SPP, OBEX OPP and HID
  • Elroy dimensions: 50mm X 20mm X 8mm (1.9" X 0.8" X 0.3")
  • Base unit weight: 12 grams
  • Earbud weight: 1.9 grams/each

Funding Goals

We've set a funding goal of $30,000.  That will be enough money to bring Elroy to market.  At this funding level, we include a standard set of high quality shorty cord earbuds from our Chinese supplier, based on an existing design.

If we are funded over $100,000 we will tool up and produce our own custom earbuds, designed specifically for Elroy.  

General use of funds will be for tooling up the external case, finalizing the PCB engineering, and testing Elroy across all platforms.

US Manufacturing

As mentioned in the video, I founded a company called Timbuk2.  I have over 20 years experience in a wide variety of manufacturing areas, both domestic and off shore.  The most important work I've done, as well as the work I most enjoy, has been in domestic manufacturing.  I love making stuff!

At Timbuk2, I applied Lean manufacturing techniques (as developed by Toyota) to sewn goods.  I was the first to marry those production techniques to mass customization concepts, as described in Joe Pine's book Mass Customization, in soft goods, and then the first to present that on the internet through a product customizer on the Timbuk2 website. With that system we were able to customize product, out of millions of potential combinations, and ship the product within 24 hours. That work became the inspiration for the NIKE iD program and a wide range of other online customization sites.  In 2008 and 2009 I also manufactured mass customized bags for the TED Conference through Rickshaw Bagworks.

I know how to manufacture efficiently and cost effectively in the US and that's the plan with Elroy.  I understand manufacturing on a visceral level, having spent well more than 10,000 hours doing actual line production myself.  I'm very enthusiastic about the opportunity to apply my manufacturing skills to Elroy. I believe domestic Lean manufacturing has tremendous untapped potential in the consumer electronics market.

These manufacturing methods are also effective for mitigation of CO2 emissions to address global climate change through elimination of transportation waste. This is a subject I've written articles on which you can read about here.

[Note:  I am no longer affiliated with Timbuk2, having sold the business to a venture capital firm in 2005.]

Elroy T-Shirt

Available in S, M, L, XL and XXL.  Black only.  Made in USA.  Available in all cotton or a high performance 60/40 Hemp cotton blend for $10 extra.  The hemp cotton blend shirts come from our good friends at Jungmaven.

Product design by Rob Honeycutt and Joe Urich

Elroy logo design by Middlecott Design

Videography by Harry Yuan

Soundtracks by:

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We've done our best to keep the risks and challenges to a minimum for this Kickstarter project. While technology projects can be high dollar endeavors, we're keep this project very simple with an off-the-shelf, pre-certified, bluetooth module designed for our intended purposes.

The delivery timeframe is achievable even with a few setbacks along the way. This project will be a challenge to accomplish if we just barely break our funding goal, but even at that, we believe this project can be completed in a timely manner.

We will be doing all the final assembly and packaging here in the US. The longest lead time process will likely be the tooling and molding of the external case. This would be the most likely point where we would expect delays.

This product will require extensive testing across platforms and configurations, but that should not affect lead times too much, since fixes will merely be firmware updates. We expect to have most all those issues resolved well before delivering product. Worst case we'll be sending out a firmware updates after product delivery.

Key to managing customer expectations is communication. As the project proceeds we will post updates every Monday. This way our backers won't be guessing what's going on or when you're going to hear something. If we have other big news to report, we'll do that as a "special update."

FAQ

  • The Bluegiga WT-32 is 2.1 + EDR. For audio applications this is the latest technology.

    Bluetooth v4.0 is the latest incarnation of bluetooth technology, overall. It includes a "Low Energy" mode of operation that allows for the transmission of small packets of data with ultra low energy consumption. This low energy mode is not meant to be used for audio applications, it is extremely low bandwidth. It is meant to be used on wireless sensors, like - temperature, humidity, heart rate, weight scales, etc.

    The confusion comes from the fact that some Bluetooth devices supporting the BT v4.0 Core Specification are "dual-mode", meaning they support both Bluetooth "Low Energy" and Bluetooth "Classic". A good example is an iPhone, which has an internal "dual-mode" BT system. With your iPhone you can connect to a Headset over "Classic" BT to answer a call or to listen to music. But you can also for example, connect to a Heart Rate Monitor via BT Low Energy. These dual-mode devices are also known as Bluetooth Smart Ready.

    Elroy does not need to be "dual-mode", it only requires the Bluetooth "Classic" functionality. Thus, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR is the current technology for this application.

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  • The answer button performs all the same functions as the mic controls on any standard set of earbuds. Double click to advance tracks. Triple click to go back a track.

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  • Yes we can. Before shipping product we will have a small unit that will attach to the cord of any existing pair of earbuds. This little tidbit will look like the magnetic piece on the back of the earbuds you see in this project, and will allow you to connect your own earbuds to the side of Elroy so that you can answer/terminate calls in the same way.

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  • Elroy can be charged via the USB port on the bottom. Elroy will ship with a short microUSB cable so you can charge in on your computer or with any USB equipped wall charger.

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  • Yes. Elroy will work with all bluetooth enabled devices.

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    Elroy T-Shirt. Okay, we're liking the Elroy logo a lot. Maybe you do too! You can support the Elroy Project by sporting this stylish Tee. All cotton. Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL. Also available in a 60/40 hemp cotton blend if you add $10. (These are really nice, high performance t-shirts from Jungmaven.) All Tees are made in USA.

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    Shorty cord earbuds ONLY. Maybe you're just looking for a pair of nice quality short cord earbuds? Look no further than here. These are high quality, in-the-ear style earbuds, that work with iPod Shuffle and Nano, or with any music device that uses a 3.5mm jack. Full length is 15".

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