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The new edition 2016 Hibermate Sleep Mask with Ear Muffs progress report...

Posted by Chris Thomas on June 06, 2015. 6 Comments

Each year I'm going to try and update the Hibermate until it's as perfect as I can make it.

Innovate or die!!!!

It's definitely come a long way since the first wonky prototypes were put together prior to the Kickstarter Campaign.

The current 2015 model is by far and away the best, but there are still criticisms from some customers and I'm super-grateful to them for letting me know where we need to improve.

I use a public form of Eric Reiss' The Lean Start-up methodology (great book by the way, if you're into product development), the loose idea being that I take each negative review or email feedback, distill down to what the top issues are and prioritize.

It helps you focus on exactly what you need to do and it's definitely not rocket science.

If you look down through the negative Amazon feedback, there's no doubt that side sleeping comfort is an issue, as is a need for more sound blocking.

You're never going to please everyone so you do need to be mindful not to change things around too much or get distracted just because you have 1 or 2 'squeaky wheels' that can easily lead you in the wrong direction.

Use the data you collect to make decisions objectively.

So while I was out at the Hong Kong Electronics Show back in April, I met up again with my great friend George, inventor of the super smart SIM card holder case - as well as some other cool stuff. George and I hung out and went to visit another friend of ours, Linda at Clave who make amazing headphones etc.

Linda took a look at the new 2015 Hibermate and I told her about all of the negative feedback it had received since launch (in a positive way!) .

Linda loves to innovate and she also has a lot of great connections. I left her with a Hibermate and a week later she emailed me saying she'd developed a new prototype of the ear cushions (not the cups yet, just the cushions).

A couple of days later, in the mail was a package from her with the new ear cushions inside.

Here's what they look like! (current ear cushion on the left, new 'ear pads' on the right and bottom)


I have to say that they are by far and away the best thing, like, ever.

This new ear 'pad' solves 3 issues simultaneously!

  1. They help reduce tons more sound and I do mean a LOT more.
  2. They 'spread the load' so side sleeping comfort is massively improved.
  3. They solve a lesser issue reported by some folks with larger sized ears who noted that the current ear cushions were a bit too small for them.

The only down-side is that they're more expensive as they use more of the high-end, moisture-wicking protein leather material.

The current protein leather ear cushions cost USD$1.70 each (not a pair) and the new ones will be approximately USD$2.00. Side note, I love the mark-ups on these components by other manufacturers. A replacement set of Beats Studio 2.0 ear cushions (basically the exact same as the ones in the Hibermate) retail for about USD$60.

Anyway, no big deal. Hopefully what we lose on the swings, we get back on the roundabout, as you'll see in a sec...

I caught up with Linda for breakfast at the Novotel in (Wan Chai, Hong Kong) on Friday morning and we're next working on the cups. 

She has a copy of the CAD file we currently use and will have her designers have a play with it.

The main thing we're looking to do is to change the material we use from medical grade silicone to a soft Poly Urethane.

Poly Urethane (or PU) is currently used in most ear muffs on the market as it has inherent sound reducing qualities. Silicone isn't the best material for sound reduction, which sadly I've discovered since we started using it.

PU's also a lot cheaper (less than half the cost), not as heavy, doesn't feel as 'sticky' as silicone and doesn't attract as much dust.

The current Silicone cups cost USD$2.70 each (not a pair) so PU will reduce costs which I can pass on to customers.

Even though we'll likely be using a soft PU material, it 'should' block more sound. Linda's feeling pretty confident!

The first step will be to make a small batch of prototypes of the current ear cups to assess if there's more sound reduction.

If there's more sound reduction, we'll work to redesign the cups so they're lighter and smoother as well as try to make the cups a little more 'slimline'.

I love this stuff. 


je souhaiterais avoir le suivi de ma commande en date de 12062016 pour l’achat d’un casque anti bruit merci
Posted by PETIT Sylvie on June 15, 2016
Devorah Steinberg bought the hibermate for me. You have addressed my two concerns with the product with your newest prototype you describe here. Sidesleeping was very uncomfortable and they needed more sound dampening ability. I would love to playtest your latest prototype and give you feedback!
Posted by Steve Gordon on October 01, 2015
I’m so excited to hear about these improvements! I’ve been really pleased with the 2015 version, but as a woman just entering menopause – it gets hot. Not just the muffs but the face mask, as well. Any way to extend the moisture wicking material to the eye mask? Truly my one and only improvement. I love this product and being a consumer just watching and experiencing the progress of The Hibermate has been so much fun. You keep innovating and I’ll keep buying and spreading the word!
Posted by Nikki Atkinson on September 24, 2015
Really like the new ear pad design! 2015 model pads are a little rough if you sleep on your side with a firm pillow. I’m thoroughly looking forward to trying out 2016 model
Posted by Britt Hewitt on September 24, 2015
Hi Eric, I am so sorry to hear about those crazy neighbors of yours! Thanks so much for your interest and support as I keep ‘sneaking up’ on the ultimate solution….! I’m really hoping that we could have the new model ready by November or December this year in readiness for 2016. Please keep following for updates – I’m about to take a break for a couple of months – heading back to Australia for a long family holiday on Sunday (5th July 2015) and back later in August 2015. Just as a heads up, I’m about to announce a new product – a compact latex travel neck pillow – which works really well with the Hibermate – bit hard to explain why right now, but I’ll be posting about the plans to massively expand the range of premium travel and sleep-related products for the next couple of years in the coming weeks as time permits…
Posted by Chris @ Hibermate on July 02, 2015
Even though I returned my hibermates due to side sleeping issues, I check back here often to track progress on the 2016 models. I have four 20-something neighbors with different schedules and thin thin floors. I’m desperate for peace and quiet. It’s crazy how little there is out there to deal with noise when sleeping. In any case, exciting to hear that the side sleeping issue is trying to be resolved. Will it be 2016 or possibly earlier when these are ready? Thanks!
Posted by Eric B on June 21, 2015

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