Kokoon April Update
Welcome to another Kokoon update! In this update, we’re going to talk about the progress we’ve made with mechanics, electronics and our app, after having faced some unexpected issues. We’ve also included some cool videos we shot while visiting our suppliers last week and given an overview of backer testing which is currently underway.
In the past few weeks we have been ramping up our in-house comfort testing as we finalise the headphone design. Settling the design has also included doing further CAD reviews with our manufacturing partner and DFM reviews with suppliers. These reviews and tests have led us to make a couple of small mechanical changes, to improve the design both for comfort and ease of manufacture.
One of the changes made, after further consideration of the manufacturing process, was to the end cap bottom covers. In our previous design, this cover was made up of two separate parts. We have now modified this to be one piece, as you can see from the photo below.
Further cushion improvements:
In our last update, we showed you photos of our new audio cushions, which were introduced to improve comfort and audio performance. After comfort testing the headphone with our new cushion, we found that space for the ear had been reduced as the cushion encroached on space thus not leaving enough room for the ear to fit underneath. We have improved the design to create more space for the ear within the cushioning, thus improving the comfort of the ear cup.
The electronics have had a tough couple of weeks following our previous update, facing unexpected difficulties. We have successfully implemented and tested a suitable fix in response to these issues, ready for the first off tooled samples.
Extensive testing of the flexPCBAs threw up a bug with our Bluetooth module, which was causing surprising module resets and issues with USB recognition. After extensive evaluation, our team pinpointed the issue and have reworked the design accordingly. This has included introducing new battery charging circuitry which is separate from the Bluetooth module. We have also re-configured the Bluetooth module’s power supply configuration.
These changes make for a more robust design solution which will allow proper USB charging currents from laptops, better USB charging indication to the user and simple Bluetooth control. This has caused us some stress over the past few weeks, but we are happy to have faced this issue and resolved it before committing the old PCB design to mass production.
Earlier this month the App team successfully demonstrated an ‘Alpha’ release of the App to the rest of the UK team. This alpha version will be used for internal testing and development until we are happy to release a beta for external testing. This is a big milestone for the team as most of the key functionality has now been implemented.
The key functionality that was demonstrated included:
+Latest ML based algorithm
+Sleep summary The App team are now integrating the App with our cloud services for audio content auto-scoring. We will be focusing on this over the next few weeks and we look forward to sharing more on this with you! The beta release is planned for later in April so keep an eye out for that.
Since our last update we have been asking some of our UK based backers to take part in a round of testing, by taking home a prototype of the headphones to sleep in for a night and providing their feedback. This is a particularly exciting time for us at Kokoon, as this will be the first time our backers have had the opportunity to take the headphones home with them, and we’re looking forward to the feedback. Testing has been going well so far, with testers coming in daily, and is set to continue over the next few weeks.
We saw a fantastic uptake in response to our request for testers, for which we’d like to say a huge thank you. Your enthusiasm is great to see and we really appreciate the time our testers are taking out of their days to take part. Unfortunately, the high number of volunteers does also mean we have had more backers sign up than we can realistically take in this round of testing. For those of you who have missed out in this current round of testing, we will be conducting a full beta test soon, so please keep an eye out! We’d love to meet as many of you as possible over the coming weeks of testing.
Following progress with tooling, and the refinement of our mechanical design, we can share an updated timeline reflecting the outlook for the coming months. Our latest estimate puts the shipping date 5 weeks later than previously planned, moving from mid June to end of July. Compared to the previous occasions when we have had to announce a schedule change, the movement here is much smaller. We know some of you will be unhappy that we’re moving from June to July, but hopefully you’ll understand that we are doing this to ensure we can maintain the focus on a great product you’ve seen through our updates.
We have had to face design challenges in mechanics and electronics which has had an unavoidable impact on the schedule but on the positive side, this time has enabled us to work more closely with tooling suppliers who have inputted lots of valuable feedback into the design and are adding to the overall production quality.
As promised, we’ll finish now with a few videos taken by the team during a visit to some of our potential suppliers out in Shenzhen last week. These videos feature some of the machines in use around the supplier’s factories, some of which we will be using to manufacture our headphones.
A look inside potential metal and plastics suppliers
In the video below, we can see a supplier’s sheet metal stamping machines and CNC machining of an aluminium block.
Here, we have some footage from a potential plastic supplier showing a dual shot plastic injection moulding machine, silk screen printing on plastic and fingernail scratch testing: