Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 13, 2013.

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A wireless headset without speakers? Discover how Sound Band can open your ears...

Kickstarter, first and foremost, thank you!  Thank you for the opportunity and the “kickstart” to allow us to bring Sound Band to the masses. 

Alas, our Kickstarter campaign is over, and Sound Band’s journey begins its next phase.

Sound Band will continue to evolve with new features, new uses, and a new way of appreciating the audible world around us.

We would be honored if you continued the journey with us at our permanent home on:

www.soundband.com

The fridge is stocked, and the door is always open!

Cheers,

The Hybra Team

Ryan, Joe, Marty, and Meagan

Say "goodbye" to ear buds, and say "hello" to the future of personal audio!

Are you tired of your ear buds?  Tired of putting them in and taking them out?  Tired of removing one (or both) of your ear buds so you can interact with someone or something in the real world?  Or are you simply tired of that constant aching feeling associated with ear buds jammed in your ears?  

Introducing Sound Band, the long-awaited solution to ear buds. Sound Band is a wireless headset that doesn't use speakers, so it doesn't block your ears.  Let us explain how...

Since Sound Band uses surface sound technology (not speakers), your ears are left open to the world around you.  That means you no longer have to remove your ear buds to have a conversation, order your third grande latte of the morning, or listen for your stop on the train!  With Sound Band, you can still hear the world around you.

Sound Band doesn't block your ears
Sound Band doesn't block your ears

Sound Band's unique combination of surface sound technology, leaving your ears open to the world around you, and delivering sound to both ears (as opposed to just one ear) provides a headset experience like no other.  Imagine wearing a headset, but experiencing the audio as if it were coming from your home theater system; you can still talk with other people in the room, hear the baby monitor, or answer the door when the pizza guy buzzes in.  That's what Sound Band brings that other headsets can't.  (And, of course, you can always crank the volume and rock!)

Imagine a family of four on a road trip in the family car, with the dad listening to his favorite sports radio program, mom listening to an audio book, son watching a movie, and daughter listening to the latest teenage heartthrob. When Mom asks "Who wants ice cream?", everyone can answer "I do!", and not one of them has to push pause, say "Huh?", or pull out their ear buds. (Of course, the kids might have their Sound Bands turned up so loud that they can't hear Mom anyway, but that isn't Sound Band's fault!)

Perfect for music, phone calls, video conferencing, gaming, intra-office communications, GPS, audio books, news feeds, meeting reminders, or any other wireless personal audio, Sound Band is (literally and figuratively) ready to rock the marketplace.

Sound Band goes everywhere you go!
Sound Band goes everywhere you go!

Waves MaxxBass®

Sound Band utilizes Waves MaxxBass® for psychoacoustic bass enhancement for a more powerful low end.  Check it out!

Breaking the status quo

The current choices for wireless headsets are either mono or stereo, meaning you have a choice between just-plain-bad and just-no-good. Using a mono headset is like watching a movie while wearing an eye patch; you only get half of the experience. Using today's stereo headsets means your ears are plugged...plain and simple. Sound Band is the first of its kind to deliver audio in stereo while leaving your ears open to your surroundings, just like Mother Nature intended!

Ear buds are OLD!!

It may come as a surprise to learn that ear buds were mentioned in print as long ago as 1926! Also from 1926: Winnie the Pooh is first published, NBC is launched, and Mussolini takes control of Italy.

Photo showing ear buds featured in Science and Invention Magazine in May, 1926
Photo showing ear buds featured in Science and Invention Magazine in May, 1926
Ear buds are old, Sound Band is new!
Ear buds are old, Sound Band is new!

The concept

It all started with an intense conversation regarding concept headsets of the future...what would they look like, how would they work, what would you do with them when they weren't in use?  Smartphones, tablets, and computers are getting smarter, faster, incorporating higher-resolution displays, each version with new visual and tactile interactions.  So we set out on a quest to create a headset to match these advances, a headset built for today's increasingly mobile world.  A headset that would compliment, not complicate, your life. One that didn't rely on speakers, that didn't block your ears, and that kept your sound to yourself.  No distractions.  No interruptions.  Eventually, you wouldn't know you were even wearing it.  We called it Sound Band.

Version 1.0

We began with sketches, clay models, and a solid year of emails and phone calls to companies and individuals, anyone who would listen. We met with engineering firms, design houses, and scientists, all over the world.  We experimented with traditional speakers, directional sound projection, bone conduction, and eventually surface sound (this is when it became really exciting…yeah, we geeked out!).

Version 1.0
Version 1.0

We built our first proof-of-concept prototype, trying magnetically attachable ear loops and adaptors for glasses.  Audio performance was poor, the microphone pick-up was even worse, surface sound was still somewhat science fiction, and the earpieces were way too clunky behind your ears. Oh, and they were really ugly :) Even with the obvious challenges the Sound Band was facing, we knew we had something.  The Consumer Electronics Association knew we had something too.  That was the year we received an Innovations Design and Engineering Award at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Talk about the right push to get us off and running! 

Version 2.0 

We spent the next three years experimenting and prototyping with different shapes, sizes, materials, surface sound suspension, microphones, batteries, and software. 

Audio performance improved and the form-factor had an overhaul.  Sound Band was clearly still a prototype and nowhere near ready for manufacturing, but we were making progress.  The time came for experimenting with materials and finishes.

Version 2.0
Version 2.0

Version 3.0 

By this time we were getting into our groove.  Sound Band became more slender (a lot more), the buttons were enlarged and moved to a more ergonomic location  for ease of use.  The overall strength and manufacturability of the housing design was greatly improved.  Contact to the ears for audio delivery improved.  We adjusted the design for weight balance. We finalized the wire restraint grommets and changed microphone positioning for better audio pick-up.  Testing, testing, and more testing.  And all the while we knew that Sound Band would change the way you listened to your personal audio forever. We knew it would have a huge impact on your life.

Version 3.0
Version 3.0

Version 4.0 Ready for Production

Surface sound suspension has finally been perfected. Audio is amazing. We nailed it!  The slim, discreet design fits comfortably behind your ears and is ready when you are.  Buttons are easily accessible and with defined purpose.  Whether you’re on the phone, listening to tunes, playing a game, driving, translating with an associate, or not using it at all, Sound Band has redefined personal audio.

Two multi-directional MEMS microphones are ported and tuned for maximum audio pick-up, boasting noise reduction and echo cancellation technologies.  Sound Band's design provides a completely unique user experience, one that you will never forget once you experience it. The uses are seamless and endless.  I think we can say it again, we nailed it!   Get ready to Open Your Ears!

Version 4.0
Version 4.0

(check out Ryan demonstrating surface sound)

Sound Band finishes
Sound Band finishes

NEW STRETCH GOAL!!

If Sound Band's campaign reaches $525,000 pledged, EVERYONE getting a Sound Band will get the option of three additional finishes: Cherry Sizzle, Blue Moon, and Lemon Zest.

Sound Band Stretch Goal Finishes
Sound Band Stretch Goal Finishes

Even with the campaign ending soon, getting to the $525,000 stretch goal...no prob!  Let's all help spread the word about Sound Band!

Stretch Goal!! **ACHIEVED**

Stretch Goal: $400k

Wired/wireless option + charging while in-use, both via a 3.5-mm jack

What this means for you: Sound Band can be used as a wired headset or a wireless headset! One Sound Band, two ways to use it!

Upgraded chip package for reducing power consumption

What this means for you: Sound Band gets leaner and more efficient!

As we've been saying, WE ARE LISTENING.  Your comments have been insightful, challenging, and thought-provoking.  THANK YOU for helping us make Sound Band a better product!

AND....A Special Gift for You!!

We are pretty sure that your Sound Band is going to quickly become your favorite new gadget!  So what better way to keep Sound Band safe and secure?  A Sound Band hard-shell case!!  No more worries when it isn't on your head....which we do realize will be almost never :) As of right now, every backer getting a Sound Band will be getting a Sound Band case; all past, present, and future backers!  Woohoo and cheers to security!

A snazzy hard-shell case to keep your Sound Band safe and secure!
A snazzy hard-shell case to keep your Sound Band safe and secure!

Help spread the word!

The Hybra team truly believes in the power of the Kickstarter community, and now we would like for you to join us in spreading the word about Sound Band.  So...send your friends and family a link to the Sound Band Kickstarter page, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and help us get the word out!  You have the power!!

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hybrasoundband

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hybrasoundband

Check out our website: www.SoundBand.com

Apps and the open SDK

Sound Band's unique method of sound delivery allows for equally unique mobile apps.  We're offering an open software development kit (SDK) so anyone can create cool Sound Band apps.  We're excited to see what you, Sound Band Nation, are able to come up with!

Compatibility

**UPDATE - Aug. 9th -  Sound Band will be compatible with Android, Apple, RIM, and Windows operating systems upon release!**

Sound Band connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth (certification pending) in the standard "sync" fashion.  Upon release, Sound Band will be compatible with Android and Apple operating systems  We plan to pursue compatibility with RIM and Windows operating systems once we reach our funding goal.

"I'm with the Band" t-shirts

While Sound Band is certainly the main attraction, our t-shirts are too cool not to share!  The back of the shirt includes a Sound Band logo underscored by "Kickstarter Backer - 2013", so the whole world can know you helped Sound Band get launched!  Available in white or black, XS - XL for women, XS - XL men, XS - L for kids.

Kickstarter funds will be used for:

Short answer: certifications and manufacturing

Long(er) answer: 

1. Various wireless certifications (FCC, Bluetooth, etc.) and additional operating system compatibility  (RIM, Windows)

2. Component procurement

3. Board and wire harness fabrication 

4. Surface sound component fabrication

5. Audio fine-tuning and audio software uploads

6. Plastic mold injection

7. Assembly equipment

9. Testing equipment

10. Packaging and shipping

Manufacturing plan

Hybra has a network of mechanical/electrical engineering teams, software developers, and contract manufacturers currently engaged in Sound Band.  The full suite of mechanical drawings, flow simulations, and P20 steel production tooling are all complete.  Gerber files, schematics, and wiring diagrams are all finished.  After prototyping with several partners both domestically and abroad, we will produce Sound Bands in-house to facilitate extremely close oversight; how better to guarantee the highest level of quality controls?  We have modular designed assembly cells and are prepared for scaling as needed.  Additionally, we have other manufacturing partnerships to help ease the load as demand increases. 

Sound Band product flow diagram
Sound Band product flow diagram

Our commitment to you

While there may be set backs and unexpected hiccups along the way, we are very confident in the relationships we have built over the last few years with our various teams.  We can handle it.  We are ready to step into Sound Band's next chapter with gusto, and there is nothing more that we could ask for than to share the journey with you.  We want you in on the story, the conversation...even those not-so-pretty late-night photos.  We want you to know what is going on, so we vow to keep you in the loop.  Plus, it’s about to get way too exciting around here; our small team might just burst at the seams if we can’t share it!  With you by our side, what is there that we couldn't possibly handle?  So let’s do this!

Meet the Sound Band team

Ryan, Joe, Meagan, and Marty head up the Sound Band team
Ryan, Joe, Meagan, and Marty head up the Sound Band team

Ryan Wells: Co-founder/Managing Director

Ryan Wells is co-inventor of Sound Band and captain of the Sound Band project.  Using his background in design, business development, and finance, Ryan keeps all of the different facets of this complex project in motion from prototyping to production, marketing, budgets, and systems management.

Joe Thiel: Co-founder/Managing Director

Joe Thiel is co-inventor of Sound Band.  Using his background in engineering and lean manufacturing, Joe plays a vital role in design,  development, and manufacturing processes.

Meagan Thomas Wells: Director of Communications

Meagan Thomas Wells keeps the conversations going about Sound Band.  Using her varied background in communications, visual arts and marketing, Meagan oversees the designed message of the Sound Band project.

Marty Stevenson: Director of Operations

Marty Stevenson manages all of the systems and logistics involved in the Sound Band project.  Using his attention to detail and engineering background, Marty makes sure that the team’s efforts remain focused, we’re on time/under budget, and moving forward with the Sound Band project.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Regarding the product itself, there aren't really any risks and challenges remaining. However, there are a few loose ends to tie up, including final audio tuning (tuning is only needed again at this phase since we've moved past prototype materials and into production materials) and undergoing various certifications that are typical of wireless headsets (FCC, Bluetooth, etc.). We do not anticipate any delays beyond the normal application periods.

FAQ

  • Yes, Sound Band works fine with glasses as well as without!

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  • Yes, we have designed a wired version of Sound Band. Great stretch goal idea, right?

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  • The battery doesn’t get hot enough to cause any sort of discomfort. That’s why certifications are required for wireless headsets!

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  • The fob doesn’t move as much as you might think when turning your head side-to-side, and the design purposefully includes the fob on the back of the neck for weighting and balance, ensuring proper contact with your ears.

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  • The battery will last 5+ hours of continuous use on a full charge.

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  • The entire Sound Band weighs approximately 35 grams.

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  • Sound Band's lithium ion battery is rechargeable, not replaceable. The expected minimum number of cycles for Sound Band’s battery is 1,000, as is standard for the electrochemistry of lithium ion batteries used almost exclusively in the consumer electronics industry. With that said, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves…

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  • Sound Band’s range of sound is from 86 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Sound Band demonstrations always include amazement at the clarity of the sound. To further promote the low end often absent in ear buds, Sound Band incorporates psychoacoustic bass enhancement produced by Waves Audio. To understand more about Waves Audio MaxxBass, check out the video we posted above or head over to www.waves.com/plugins/maxxbass.

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  • Once the funding period is closed, we will contact backers to pick their finish choices.

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  • Sound Band is great for many physical activities (hiking, cycling, walking, living, etc.). Accessories and solutions for use during higher impact sports such as running are in the design queue.

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  • Sound Band is Bluetooth 3.0 compatible.

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  • Upon release, Sound Band will be compatible with Android and Apple operating systems We plan to pursue compatibility with RIM and Windows operating systems once we reach our funding goal. If the campaign keeps going like it has...the sky is the limit on what we can incorporate!

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  • The consumer electronics industry as a whole is always evolving. Components are always getting smaller and faster! We will continue to follow suit and deliver to you the smallest, most efficient, Sound Band possible. We will be sure to keep you updated on the advancements as they occur!

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  • Bluetooth is not line-of-sight communication and has an industry standard, strong three meter range. It is the choice for almost all wireless speakers, remotes, etc..it is ubiquitous technology on all current and future smart phones. There is no other serious choice for high-end wireless stereo headsets intended to complement consumer electronic products.

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  • Sound Band has so many uses, yet there are always variables that effect each situation (the snugness of a helmet, the speed of the activity, the amount of rigorous bouncing...etc.). Sound Band, although may not be perfect for EVERY moment of your life, you will certainly find it blends seamlessly with most.

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  • Surface sound is designed to deliver sound only you can hear by organically shaping the sound so that your eardrum naturally picks it up. Sound Band can deliver audio as loud as conventional ear buds, and if you choose to do so at max volume, a small amount of sound may “bleed” to the surrounding environment So it really just depends on how "max" your max volume is:)

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  • Sound Band combines a great sounding headset with a unique user experience and it doesn’t obstruct your ear canal, so you are aware of the world around you.

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  • Surface sound directs micro-vibrations through the bone and tissue in your head and into the inner ear through the pinna (back of the ear). There aren't speakers that function with pistons and magnets. It is a truly unique experience and one we hope changes your life!

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  • Sound Band charges using a micro-USB port.

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  • Sound Band is water resitant to the point that it is not affected by sweat from active users, or from a little water spilled on it. We do not recommend wearing your Sound Band while swimming, while in the shower, or using it to mix your drinks!

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3,982
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    You rock! You've achieved "Sound Band Supporter" status. You've scored an official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirt (only available via Kickstarter), and your name will be enshrined on SoundBand.com!

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    Congratulations; you can now proudly proclaim that you joined the most exciting headset revolution ever as a "Sound Band Early Majority" member! Choose from onyx, jasper, or sterling finishes.(one Sound Band - retail value = $189)

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    One Sound Band, no t-shirt. (While the "I'm with the Band" t-shirts are awesome, there are some who feel their t-shirt collections are already too big!) Choose from onyx, jasper, or sterling finishes. (one Sound Band - retail value = $189)

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    One premium-finish Sound Band, no t-shirt. (While the "I'm with the Band" t-shirts are awesome, there are some who feel their t-shirt collections are already too big!) Choose from birdseye, carbon, or kevlar finishes. (one premium-finish Sound Band - retail value = $204)

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    148 backers

    Welcome to the Sound Band Nation! You've successfully joined the revolution in personal audio delivery. You'll receive one Sound Band (choose from onyx, jasper, or sterling finishes) and an official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirt. (one Sound Band, one t-shirt - retail value = $209)

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    206 backers

    Personalize your revolution by selecting one of three premium finishes for your Sound Band (birdseye, carbon, or kevlar), and pair it with your official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirt. (one premium-finish Sound Band, one t-shirt - retail value = $224)

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    Be one of the few who can display a numbered, limited-edition lithograph, and announce to the world that you were one of the first to support Sound Band! (Besides being numbered as #001 of 300, #002 of 300, etc., the lithographs are also labeled as "Kickstarter Backer - 2013".) You'll receive two limited edition lithographs, one Sound Band (choose from onyx, jasper, sterling, birdseye, carbon, or kevlar finishes), and two official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirts. (retail value = priceless!)

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    Want to be one of the first 100 people on the planet to get your hands (and ears) on a Sound Band? Become a part of our uber-exclusive beta testing group. You'll be the recipient of one of the first 100 Sound Bands ever released to the public, a "Certificate of Awesome" stating that you were in the Sound Band beta test group, an official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirt, and a phone call from one of the inventors that have made Sound Band a reality! (retail value - priceless!)

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    Techie Pack - Are you a developer with an itch to work on apps for a revolutionary product? If so, this is the reward for you! Become one of the driving members of the revolution with entry into our exclusive Sound Band app R&D forum, one Sound Band (choose from onyx, jasper, sterling, birdseye, carbon, or kevlar finishes), the Sound Band SDK, and two official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirts (one white and one black). And if our app development team is impressed with your skills in the forum, who knows what can happen? (retail value - whatever you choose to make it!)

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    Would you like to join the Hybra team in Las Vegas at CES 2014? Be at this exclusive, industry-only event as a Hybra insider, and witness Sound Band creating havoc among the show's attendees! We'll take care of the travel (domestic travel only), lodging, and meals for you and one friend, and throw in some entertainment too; you just need to have fun and enjoy the experience! You'll also receive one Sound Band (choose from onyx, jasper, sterling, birdseye, carbon, or kevlar finishes) and two official limited edition "I'm with the Band" t-shirts. Open to US residents over 21 years of age only. (retail value - priceless!)

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Funding period

- (45 days)