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:
The fridge is stocked, and the door is always open!
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'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 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.
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.
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!).
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!
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.
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 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!
(check out Ryan demonstrating surface sound)
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.
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!
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!
**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
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
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.
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 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
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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