Bose tries crowdsourcing to develop sleep improving earbuds
Bose is a tried and trusted name when it comes to noise-cancellation technology, with its Quiet Comfort headphones being among our favorites. Now the company wants to help folks get some quality sleep. Though many folks would likely pop in some foam plugs to try and drown out bumps in the night, student parties or the clatter of a two-stroke as a scooter rider zooms past an open window, Bose wants to fight such noise with sounds. Soothing sounds to be precise. The project is still at the prototype stage and Bose has turned to Indiegogo to build a test bed of users that will help with product development.
Bose has made a batch of sleepbuds prototypes available to Indiegogo pioneers for an "exclusive price," hoping that they will share their thoughts and experiences to help Bose refine the buds prior to global release.
So why is a big company like Bose essentially crowdfunding product development? "We acknowledge that we don't need the money like a typical startup does. However, quite candidly, we're charging a discounted price for the prototype because we believe it's the best way to find highly motivated testers. We believe that testers who pay for the prototype are likely living with a severe 'noise in the bedroom' problem, they're going to use the prototype rigorously, and they'll provide more and better feedback to help us improve the product and user experience."
The sleepbuds look similar to truly wireless earphones. But instead of rocking you out, they're designed to rock you to sleep, replacing the sounds of bustling traffic below an apartment window, noisy neighbors or even a snoring partner with sounds to soothe you into a peaceful slumber.
The sleepbuds pair with a smartphone running a companion app – so you'd best leave your phone on charge all night to ensure unbroken slumber. Snoozers personalize the Sleep app by choosing their own ideal sonic soothers from 10 pre-loaded options (such as nature sounds or red noise), the volume level and play duration. The sound bank is divided into noise-masking and relaxation categories, which suggests that the sleepbuds might also be useful for meditation. And the app can also send a wake up sound through the sleepbuds to get you out of bed in the morning.
If all this sounds eerily familiar, you'd be right. We tried out some Hush smart earplugs last year, which were also developed for the same purpose. Bose now owns Hush, and has merged its audio know-how with the strides already made by Hush to develop the sleepbuds.
Normally, this would the point where we would list pledge levels available to backers. But the project has already proven to be such an attractive proposal that, with 2 weeks left to run on the campaign clock, all of the available test slots have been snapped up.
Intrepid sleepbuds tester will get their development kit – which includes a pair of sleepbuds, different-sized tips, a charging case and a travel pouch – in February 2018. Bose plans to launch in the marketplace later that year.
The video below introduces the project.