Factory prototype progress
Welcome to the latest Kokoon update. This time we will start with a short frequently asked questions response then get into the detail around Engineering Sample 2 (ES2). We’ll look at what was good, what needs reviewing and what it all means for Kokoon’s development programme.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: ‘Will the new ventilation holes significantly decrease noise cancellation and increase sound leakage?’
A: Not at all – Our inner audio seal is used to block sound not the external cushion part.
Q: ‘Why be such perfectionists?/I’m worried about feature creep’
A: We felt it was very important to address this given the changes in our timescales. The Kokoon team are not being perfectionists. We have firm set of requirements for the feature set and level of performance that the Kokoon headphone must meet. We know our backers have high expectations and we want to ensure we meet them with a device that is reliable. Our headphone has a lot of new technology within it and these new technologies require extensive testing and development. We are not just re-using established technologies in a new configuration.
We would be the first to admit that we significantly underestimated the amount of time it would take us to get the headphones working reliably to our specification and for that and the delays which have resulted we are sorry. However, we think the most important thing is to ship a high quality device which our backers will be thrilled to use. Therefore, we do not want to compromise our specification to get the devices shipped faster.
Q: ‘How is the lucid dreaming feature of the app coming along? Will it be implemented?’
A: Our internal software team and our partners in Poland are putting their full attention to getting the basic functionality of the app working and ensuring the app’s user interface is easy to use and reliable. This is to guarantee that we ship the device with the ‘Smart Sleep’ features working and also a great audio library in place.
Once these requirements are met we will start working on the additional functionality around Lucid Dreaming and others. This will likely be shortly after launch. We will also be releasing our SDK quickly after launch and will start working on exciting new features with our new developer community.
These past few weeks we have been waiting to get the latest samples (ES2) back from our factory for testing. Drum roll please….
ES2 sample review
We received the samples around the middle of September and Richard and Dave have been hard at work with our factory in China reviewing them against our specification. From our limited testing ‘Initial Review’ of the new samples we have this feedback so far:
The good points:
– Initial EEG system testing has been promising – the EEG system works at a level at least on-par (if not better) than all our UK made prototypes to date.
– Comfort testing has been good. We are happy with initial test results. So far meets our specifications.
– The headphone’s aesthetic has made great progress. At a short distance we are happy, however the ‘Devil is in the detail’. We have included a number of pictures below to show some the issues ourselves and the factory will be addressing. (This is not an exhaustive list but a few examples of the aesthetic/part issues present in the ES2 sample).
Cushion edge finishing
The intending ‘heat sealing’ process was not executed for the received parts used with the ES2 sample. Further work with the cushion part supplier needs to be undertaken to get the samples to the specification set down. The team in China are now working more closely with suppliers and the Mechanical team in the UK is now spending the majority of its time in China where these kind of issues can be caught earlier.
End cap fitting
The end cap assembly does not join. This is due to a difference in expected thickness of the top fabric. Should be straight forward to address. This is why you can see tape used to hold the end caps together.
Where the top and bottom parts of the fabric sleeve join there is visible fraying. Fabric silicon overmould details (to prevent fraying) not present in sample.
Major issue uncovered with ES2 sample:
– Assembly – Simply put, it takes too long. It is unfeasible to produce in the quantities needed quickly, reliably and in budget. We can achieve this by using the factories expertise in updating the design for manufacturing efficiency. This includes breaking the device down into sub-assemblies and reducing the part count where possible. By doing this, the factory will be able to work on multiple sub assemblies at the same time and with less parts which will allow them to work much faster.
Next steps and updated timeline:
The challenges around manufacturing described above can certainly be met and we are positive that the headphones core functionality (EEG system, materials, comfort performance) appear to be working to specification from our initial tests. We are increasing the size of the team working on this phase in order to ensure we meet our next set of milestones.
This phase of work to improve the design for manufacturability is unfortunately not a work package we had accounted for in our current timelines. We therefore expect to incur a delay in the region of 5 weeks. This is a typical penalty of ‘re-spinning a design’ due to the fact that once the re-design is done (typically 2-4 weeks) you have to include the time of prototyping and testing (typically 1-3 weeks) Giving an approximate 5 week total delay before we can verify the design and go to full scale tooling.
We appreciate that this will not come as welcome news, however as mentioned at the start of the update, our number one priority is delivering all of our backers a headphone that works and delivers the latest in sleep technology as our backers expect, and the timeline above will allow us to do that.
All the best,
The Kokoon Team