Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on July 4, 2014.
About this project
NOTE TO BACKERS:
Due to an exciting recent opportunity, we are obliged to cancel this current project. The opportunity will result in a new version of the product with new associated software, resulting in new functionality and something we believe will be a game changer in the world of training and coaching. This new version is obviously not the version we are describing in this project and so we must cancel it. ALL BACKERS can still contact us via the website for a deal on the NEW VERSION. We already have endorsements for it in several fields.
Many thanks again for all the emails and support.
The VR2 wireless, smart sport headphones are a lightweight, water resistant and super comfortable new music player and training aid. They not only supply superb quality audio, but will also provide the user with the luxury of having their own personal trainer to customize any workout for any activity, including swimming.
By backing this project, you will enable us to produce for you a new version of our previous product, the VR1. The VR1 was on the market only for a short time, but has had great reviews and is now being used by several world class athletes. The VR2 is a new version of this requiring new development costs.
WITH YOUR HELP we would also like to develop the Workout Store. Imagine an App Store just for workouts, BUT APPS WITH A DIFFERENCE. Training apps that upload directly to a purpose made set of wire-free headphones - not to an often impractical phone. A huge database to browse and choose from! TRAIN TO YOUR MUSIC AND WITH YOUR OWN CUSTOM TRAINER, ANYWHERE! - even in the pool!
So what exactly can they do?
More Details Please!
- 8GB Premium Quality Mp3 Player built in [so no wires!].
- An extra amp on the electronic board boosts volume and bass.
- Text to Speech software voices your album names to you.
- Bass and Treble Settings.
- Custom Speakers.
- Next track, previous track, volume control, FF and REW within a track, Shuffle mode, Playlist navigation.
- Sweatproof/Rainproof. Specific measures have been taken to make the speakers and electronics resilient against sweat, rain and humidity.
- Secure and super comfortable fit. Adjustable if needed.
- 5hrs battery life using all functionality.
- Upload any custom made workout, in your own words, directly to the headphones. Instruction, time notifications, time countdowns and any personalised messages can all be input to play at designated times. Perfect for all forms of Interval training - HIIT, Tabata etc. Workouts are created using the simple and free to download, FX-Sport software. Track change/Playlist change still possible during the workout.
- Free access to the FX-Sport "Workout Store". Upload professionally constructed, pre-prepared workouts from the FX-Sport database. Many different categories and training programmes available. Weight training, circuits, cross training, running interval training, gym bike, skipping, kettle bells, soccer training, triathlon, workouts at home, swimming, etc. with more made available all the time. Beginner levels to Pro. Created by Nationally certified coaches and personal trainers.
- Race a Virtual Athlete - Race or Pace mode. Receive updates for the position of a virtual athlete in a virtual race. You set the parameters of the race.
- UK PATENT NOW PROCEEDING TO GRANT. Patent Pending in other regions.
- All training functionality applicable for swimming using the waterproof Silicone Skin Accessory [bought separately]. An extremely well tested methodology which delivers great music quality under and over the water, whilst remaining secure, comfortable and very resilient to water damage/ingress. Experience time notifications and instruction for any swimming interval session along side your music. Truly unique.
- [See more on swimming near the bottom of the page].
So what do I hear during my workout?
The system is based on text to voice software. So whatever messages you type are voiced to you, at the time you choose. When you are ready to go, you press the "RM" button and hear "Ready go". Then it automatically goes back to your music. The first message plays at the designated time, then back to your music. Second message at the designated time, then back to your music, etc. Change track/playlist - no problem. Up to 64 of your own messages can be input OR you can download the pre-prepared sessions from our "Workout Store" database.
You can also programme a virtual race and hear the progress of the virtual athlete - distance, speed and time.
Why is this of use?
We would all perform a better training session with someone with us, giving time notifications, time countdowns, instruction, motivating and encouraging us. The VR2 provides this. Many devices are out there that analyse performance data. That's great! They can however, just tell us how well or how badly we did. The VR2 motivates us to do a better session. It's a genuine training aid.
We believe the world has walked down the wrong path! Too many of us train with wires to our music or a phone on our arm/in our hand/pocket. Even bluetooth requires us to take another device. Why not have your music and your own personal trainer, on a purpose made, wire-free device?
How will you use the money?
With your help we can get the funding required to develop and create the VR2. Our problem is that in order to put the VR2 on the market, we need to make the software and electronics "bulletproof" against unusual activity, user errors etc. Our customer service is very efficient, but we need to have a software that fixes all scenarios a user may encounter - incompatible music tracks etc. We have learned much from our previous product.
We need to:
- Develop new firmware [software on the actual headphones].
- Redesign aspects of the electronics.
- Prototype the new electronic board.
- Test it all! Software and electronics can be EXPENSIVE!
- Further improve the swim accessories.
Development history and prototyping:
We initially started with a generic China design we liked the fit of and adapted it to our needs. Here is the original product.
Then we created the electronic board and firmware [software on the headphones] and prototyped the board.
We then had to adapt the mechanical design of the headphones to house the board and battery.
It all fits!!
So what will make the VR2 better?
This is a comparison of how the VR2 will rate against our previous VR1 model
VR1 - Slight battery drain, even when switched off - around 10-12 days. This is because the microprocessor has to go into "sleep mode" rather than fully switch off. The battery was a story in itself. Much optimization had to be done to get the battery to 5hrs. The board is very power hungry. A top up of charge the night before is usually needed.
VR2 - Drain time on the new VR2 battery would be 4.8 years [when switched off].
VR1 - Fairly rare, but settings changes on the user's computer, or unusual activity in the transfer of music [perhaps corrupt music files], could cause the headphones to freeze. The inbuilt reset solves this, but the reset only kicks in when the battery is drained. The issue rarely happens again, but the user may need to leave the headphones for a day or two to reset.
VR2 - Automatically resets immediately when detached from the computer [no data lost and is unnoticeable to the user].
VR1 - Button sensitivity for swimming. The headphones are put into the swim accessory and worn under the provided swim cap. This works very well. However, some users may pull the swim cap far down over the headphones. This extra pressure can cause the buttons to accidentally press.
VR2 - Sightly stiffer buttons. Works perfectly no matter how the swim cap is worn.
These are the main factors we need to correct. We already know how to do this - we just need to start it!
VR1 - Charge time is 5 hrs for 5hrs play time
VR2 - Charge time around 1hr 40 mins for 5hrs play time.
VR1 - Whilst attached to the computer, the red "charge light" stays lit, even when fully charged [battery not monitored].
VR2 - Red light goes off when fully charged.
VR1 - No "low battery" indicator.
VR2 - Low battery "beep" when 12 minutes remain. Beep is only at the end of a track or when a track is changed.
Swim accessory - New tooling to further improve the fit. Also the swim cap is now a Nylon/Spandex type which is more comfortable and easier to wear. The one on the right is a sample Nylon Spandex cap [will have logo].
"On the ear" versus "in ear"?
Some people like "in ear" some do not. Any "in ear" audio device to be used whilst training [AND SWEATING!] can be prone to fit issues. The fit seems fine to start with, but once everything is lubricated with sweat, the situation changes. The music quality is also affected once the seal of the fit comes loose. Logically speaking, it makes sense to create a design that would fit everyone and NOT SLIP WITH SWEAT, rather than an "in ear" design which many may struggle with. The user needs to enjoy the device and focus on their activity, not play around with an earbud that keeps coming loose.
Buttons or touch capacitance?
Easy Choice. Buttons are more tactile. Also, touch capacitance does not work well in conditions of moisture or sweat. Touch capacitance would certainly not work for swimming.
Are the headphones just for the elite and very serious athletes?
The user can programme an exercise session exactly to their own level or choose pre-prepared workouts to suit their requirements. Many sessions are time based, so for example you work to your own intensity for 30 seconds worth of sit ups. This is therefore appropriate for all levels. We have walking programmes, running programmes that involve jog/walk and couch to 5k in 8 weeks!
How do I create workouts or upload the pre-prepared ones?
Firstly, download our free software from the website. This can be used to smoothly transfer your music over to the headphones and also create/upload training sessions.
In the example shown, message 1 will play 15 seconds after the "RM" button on the headphones is single pressed and the words "Ready Go" are heard. Message 2, in this example, will play 15 seconds later ["Go squat thrusts"]. With this training session, each exercise is for 30 seconds, so 30 seconds later the next message says "Stop. 15 seconds rest then squat jumps next..." Also, simple messages for time notifications could be input - "last 15 seconds", or "10, 9, 8,...TIME!" All workouts can be saved, to develop a library of easily accessible workouts!
The Workout Store
This is our database of workouts created and verified by nationally qualified personal trainers. They can be downloaded for free and uploaded to the headphones. There are many categories and we are uploading more all the time. We have just now added four 12 week training programmes for runners of various standards participating in half marathon or 10k runs. Programmes courtesy of James Ellis.
Below shows a few examples of some categories and training sessions.
Here is the first video we did: Note, the silver ball on the headphones [attachment point] is now black.
What about in the pool? Is this REALLY viable for swimming?
Waterproof mp3 players are now commonplace. Manufacturers have mainly taken an mp3 player, made it fully waterproof and said "Hey, you can swim with this now!" It's not quite that simple.
Here are the current issues with other waterproof mp3 players:
- In ear: Massively dependent on the fit. If not perfect, water enters your ear and the sound is muffled. Results in a constant fiddling with the ear pieces.
- Bone conduction: Poor music quality when the swimmer's head is out of the water
- Generally "average" music quality: Waterproof speakers have to be resilient to water and the music quality is significantly compromised
- Product reliability and resilience: The device is usually waterproofed based on an IPX7 [1m depth for 30 mins] or IPX8 [usually stipulated, but often 2m depth for 1 hour] rating. The problem is that this does not take into account strong movements through water whilst swimming. The result is that after a relatively short time, you have a faulty unit and have to buy another. This doubles your cost and you still have a product with a short life span.
So why will the VR2 system be better?
- Firstly, the headphones are sweatproof and rainproof, but not designed to be fully submerged [without their accessory]. This means air can get to the speaker and we have great BASS [HOORAY!].
- Our system of external speaker and earplugs is the best method we have found for delivering great audio above AND below the water. Using the silicone skin, we are not limited by having to have a waterproof speaker which does not give good music quality. It is also more comfortable than in ear pieces,
- The flexible silicone case gives excellent water protection, to a device which is already water resistant. This makes for a much better "financial investment".
- The remaining air in the case is used by the speaker, so we experience the bass.
- Soft sponge earplugs are provided, to wear underneath, which help block water, but allow sound through. That material can also slightly enhance the bass.
- The end of each arm of the case is slightly thinner [but still resilient] to allow sound through optimally.
- The silicone swim cap [provided], keeps everything completely secure. It is custom made and a little larger to accommodate the silicone case. Recently we have found that stretch nylon/spandex caps work possibly even better. Those will also be available.
- You will have access to completely unique functionality for swimming! Coaching comments, instruction and time notifications can all be input and personalised.
The video below shows how the headphones are put into the case.
The first marketing video we used for the swimming aspect is below. The voices you will hear are examples of the personal trainer, as input by you!
Another swimming video showing the previous product. Remember the VR2 will be better!
Thanks again Touie!
Our previous product was well liked!
Below are a few professional and semi-professional athletes who have used the previous VR1 for many months now. Remember, the VR2 is a new version, so we can use what we have leaned from the previous product to improve.
The athletes have been dotted around the world recently, but we do keep in touch [thanks again guys!].
Sophie Hitchon - British Record Holder and Olympic Finalist for Hammer Throwing:
David Riley - National 400m Runner:
Lucy Gossage - Winner of the European Duathlon in Horst and 7 Ironman races completed:
Dalton Powell - 200m Gold medalist in the 2013 World Police and Fire games:
Cain Leathem - Master Personal Trainer. Runs trainer instruction courses. Studied Anatomy and Physiology, Massage, Exercise prescription, Nutrition, Supplementation, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Biomechanics, Phlebotomy and many related disciplines. 20 years experience. Athletes include over 80 British Champions, 14 World Champions, 6 Ms Universe Champions and 4 World Record Holders:
Paul Russell: CPsychol Registered Practitioner Psychologist Specialist in the Psychological Performance of Elite Athletes .
"I have been using the VR1 with a client for an upcoming boxing world title fight...We were able to work with the boxer and coach to integrate key coaching points into a script which was played through the headphones during training...we have been amazed by the results and how quickly the athlete learnt these new tactics and skills. ..a great addition to accelerate learning, improve concentration on the immediate task, provide motivation and increase confidence...there was a dramatic impact on performance. "
July 2014: Adaptation of the electronic board and work to improve the software starts simultaneously. We already know what to do here. The schematics are created. BOM [bill of materials] and Gerber details are established. Components and batteries are ordered. Packaging ordered. Production time is scheduled in with China manufacturer. A separate China manufacturer adapts tooling on the swim accessories.
August 2014: Board is prototyped locally on a fast turnaround and tested with the firmware. Sample finalised boards are sent to China with BOM and Gerbers for them to manufacture. Board is certificated. Plastic parts are made off the tooling. Improvements to swim accessories are verified.
September 2014: Assembly of headphones by teams of workers and quality control. Myself and a colleague will be there at that time to oversee this. Units are then sent to distribution centers in the US and UK to send to backers. Swim accessories sent to the same distribution centers.
Here are the baseball caps. Custom made and we think they look good. They are $25 + $4 shipping within the US or UK. Shipping is $20 outside those countries.
Carry Pouch is $3. Handy for the gym bag.
The VR2s at $99 will be black.
We will also be able to have some beautiful limited edition colours for the VR2 [$119]:
We have just now confirmed, we will also be able to offer a professional service to have your own custom inscription printed on the left headphone! Anything from "To my darling wife" to "GYM BEAST!".
You will have a choice of two fonts and a maximum of 35 characters. It will read on the outer circle, around the FX-SPORT logo. This will be on any colour VR2 you choose. Reward price, $189.
The first font choice is Collegiate Black:
The next font choice is Phoenix Script:
We do have plans! However, to start with we have two stretch goals:
$500,000: If we reach this, we can further improve the PC software to allow the user to input more messages, even quicker. You would also be able to programme music tracks to play at the time you wish. So if you want that Rocky track [or any mp3 file] to play at exactly 12 mins 30 sec, you can - and with multiple tracks. You could also have REAL VOICE coaching! Your own voice [or we would commission celebrity trainers] would structure training sessions around your music. The REAL VOICE messages would play at the designated times, rather than the text to speech voice. All programmes could still be saved for speedy uploading.
$750,000: Multiple workouts could also be held on the headphones. Scroll for your training session of the day, directly on the unit. Also a charging carry case could be developed to keep the headphones always full of energy.
Shipping and Logistics
We ship from within the US and from within the UK. Our manufacturer is capable of producing up to 20k units per month, depending on component lead times. Having visited them twice now, they are an extremely efficient company and we are lucky to be working with them. They actually supply Amazon with an accessory to the Kindle - that's how highly they are regarded.
We work with two logistics companies, one in the US and one in the UK. Shipping costs are to be added to the reward price. Within the UK or US it is $6 for the headphones and $4 for the baseball caps. Add $20 for other countries.
Considering all the factors, over 5 years, that have gone into getting this product to market, no-one will ever know the extent of heart and soul that has gone into this project. Let's hope that all that talk of "going the extra mile" is indeed true!
Many thanks again for your support.
Duncan, Jane, Grace, Phil, Dave, Matt, Mark
Risks and challenges
We have mainly overcome our obstacles in getting the VR1 to market. Tooling is complete and reliable component suppliers are sourced.
For the VR2, the 2 main things to consider are:
1. Maintaining the highest possible quality control in the manufacturing process.
2. Keeping a constant eye on component lead times.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (40 days)