About this project
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What is SwimEars™?
Designed for swimmers and triathletes, SwimEars™ ear plugs protect your ears without affecting your hearing. Being able to hear what’s going on around you, SwimEars™ improves safety in open waters and allows you to hold a normal conversation with your coach or fellow swimmers. Cleverly designed with changeable parts, SwimEars™ lets you customize the plugs to fit perfectly in your ears, ensuring great comfort, seal and fixation.
Why use ear plugs?
Many swimmers and triathletes regularly suffer from inflammation in the outer ear canal, also called 'swimmer's ear'. If you haven't yet and spend a lot of time in the water, it's probably just a matter of time.
Even worse, swimmers who frequently expose themselves to cold waters (below 17°C) also run a higher risk of developing 'surfer's ear', which is a form of abnormal bone growth in the ear canal, only to be fixed by medical surgery. It's common to experience dizziness and a sensation of extreme cold, or even pain when cold water enters the ear canal, which is another reason to wear ear plugs.
How does it work?
A key element in SwimEars™ is the acoustic mesh, specifically designed to keep water out while letting sound pass through, allowing you to hear almost as well as without ear plugs. Consisting of a fine mesh with open air structure, sound permeability is far superior to competitors using closed membranes to seal for water, yet it's completely water proof. Applied with a hydrophobic coating the mesh repels water efficiently, which would otherwise stick to the surface and prevent sound from passing through.
Another unique feature with SwimEars™ is that you can customize the plugs to fit perfectly in your ears. Larger ear canal in one ear? Not a problem. Combining the three different sized sealing gels and two different fixation wings you have six possible size combinations for each ear. We're pretty sure you'll find a great fit.
We also decided to include an optional leash so you'll never have to lose your plugs. Even though the fixation wings keeps the plugs well in place even under extreme activities, many people prefer to use a leash just in case. The leash is flexible and can be adjusted to fit snugly behind your head. It also comes in handy when carrying the plugs to and from the water as you can simply put it around your neck.
Whats in the box?
Each set of SwimEars™ contains:
- A pair of SwimEars™, pre mounted with size M sealing gels & fixation wings
- Two support wings, size S
- Two sealing gels, size S
- Two sealing gels, size L
- A removable and adjustable leash
- A neat storage case so you won't lose your plugs
We're still working on the final packaging, but it will probably look a lot like this.
Evidence that it works.
Independent tests performed at an acoustics lab in Lund, Sweden, show that SwimEars™ have far superior performance compared to similar products on the market. SwimEars™ show close to zero acoustic loss in the frequency range of human speech while the best competitor cuts away about 20-30dB. To give you a reference, 30dB is roughly the difference between the loudest and lowest volume setting on your smartphone. That’s a pretty big difference.
Our functional Quick-dry T-shirt is the perfect companion to your SwimEars™. Use it during exercise or wear it casually and show that you helped us make this project reality. Made from cotton / elastan mix the Quick-dry T-shirt is ridiculously comfortable, breathes well and dries much faster than regular cotton.
Meet the team
We’re a team of professional product designers but also passionate swimmers, triathletes and surfers with more than 30 years in the water. We know from experience that a vast amount of water athletes are suffering from ear problems, preventing them from enjoying their sports. This is something we deeply care about and want to change.
Our team has extensive experience from designing, developing and manufacturing high tech consumer electronics and sports equipment. Our office is located near the sea in Malmö, Sweden where we occasionally take a dip to test our latest creations.
You can read more about us and our work on frankly.se.
We chose to launch SwimEars™ on Kickstarter to:
- Secure funding for the final production investments required to go into mass production
- Create exposure and make sure that as many people as possible know we exist and can benefit from this great product
- Simply because we think Kickstarter is an awesome way to kick off a project!
Please note that we're offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on all products when ordered through Kickstarter. This is an exclusive opportunity which you won't find anywhere else, and will end when our campaign is over.
Risks and challenges
Our project team has many years of experience in project management, design and manufacturing of consumer products. We know the processes very well and also the risks involved.
The key challenges we see ourselves facing going forward are:
1. Production & supplier management
Making a working prototype is one thing but manufacturing the product in large volumes is another. Unexpected issues do pop up every now and then with risk of adding cost and causing delays in production.
With a background in companies like Nokia and Sony our team is used to handle projects of much larger scale than SwimEars™, literally managing production lines spitting out several hundred thousand products per week. We have the tools and processes to control the suppliers, the production output quality as well as the best possible experience to solve any potential upcoming manufacturing issues.
As always in R&D projects, the project schedule is compressed as there's a rush to get the product out on the market. We're luckily at the very end of the R&D process, but even at this stage there are many things that can interfere with the schedule: material shortage at the supplier or sub-suppliers, production quality issues, customs not releasing parts, faulty or late shipments and so on.
Again, we've done this on a professional level for a very long time (we have guys on board with 18 years in Nokia) and if anyone can handle it, we can!
With previous experience from retail we know how much work it takes and how hard it is to manage world wide shipments without eating up too much profit from products sold, and ensuring timely deliveries on orders.
We are working with a few strategically located warehouses / fulfillment centers that gives us full control over shipments to a reasonable cost, and with a manageable effort.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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