About this project
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...
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."
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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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.
- 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.
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.)
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.
- 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
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.
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.]
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
Risks and challenges
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."Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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