Back to Guangzhou!
Posted by Chris Thomas on November 15, 2015. 3 Comments
A month or so ago I sent an email survey out to my previous customers asking them for feedback on what could (or should) be improved with the new 2016 model I'm working on at the moment.
The response was phenomenal!
It was clear that improved sound reduction and better side sleeping comfort were number 1 priorities for the new model.
People were also keen for a single band mask to be created but also with a headband that would enable people to wear the cups without the mask.
Last time I met with Linda at www.claveproducts.com, we worked out how much customer feedback we could introduce into the new model without risking too much in development costs (the budget is tight and basically designing everything from scratch isn't cheap).
We decided the first step would be to focus on the cups and make a simple change to start with.
We're working to simply change the cup material from silicone to Poly Urethane (or PU for short).
It requires new tooling and a few rounds of prototyping to come up with the best combination of 'hardness' (trying to keep them as soft as possible for side sleeping comfort) and 'sound reduction' (making the cups as thick as possible to help absorb and reduce more noise).
It's a tricky balance, but I think Linda is almost there. I'm looking forward to heading back to Guangzhou on Thursday this week (19th November 2015) to see and assess the prototypes myself.
Here are some photos:
And the outside...
You can see that even though they're prototypes (not finished product and a little rough) they're smoother and won't attract as much dust as silicone.
They're also a LOT lighter and block more sound than silicone.
Combined with the new ear "pads", I'm really hoping we've got a major comfort and sound reduction upgrade coming in 2016.
New ear pads:
So I guess you're wondering, "what about the single band?"
OK, we decided to ensure that we can stay in production in future, changing from Silicone to PU with minor changes to the existing design was the best initial step with minimal risk and cost, hence the 'new' cups look pretty much exactly the same.
Now that we're close to doing that, I can work with Linda in earnest to create a single band cup design as well as a new single band mask and headband to suit!
These prototypes you've seen in the pictures above may never see production!
It just depends on whether we can get a new single band cup and eye mask/headband design up and into production before current stock runs out of the 2015 model.
The new mask is also in 1st round prototyping stage and looks like this:
It'll change quite a bit as we go, but it's a good start with molded eye cups to allow full eye opening and eliminate the mask touching your eyelids etc. There's also molding to reduce pressure on your ears!
The sad news for me is that we have to move back to Australia at the end of December this year (2015) so my time in Hong Kong will come to a close very soon.
I'm pushing as hard as I can to get as much done here before we have to leave.
Still, Hong Kong is only a 9 hour flight away from my home town of Melbourne and I'll be back at least 2 or 3 times next year to work with Linda on not only the new 2016 Hibermate, but also some exciting new products we've got planned...
All will be revealed...
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