Kokoon Christmas update: ES3 Sample
Welcome to another Kokoon update, we hope you’ve been enjoying a festive break wherever you are. In this update we’re going to talk through our busy December, update on progress with our latest sample, audio tuning, share our latest timeline and also give a brief overview of our software progress.
New (‘ES3’) samples
In update #31 we said we planned to update before Christmas with pictures of our new ‘ES3’ samples – sorry for the delay. Our aim was to have all parts with us in China by the 12th December, ready for assembling and feedback to our factory. Unfortunately, this wasn’t possible due to some parts coming back to us either late or not to specification.
The last few parts have arrived in the UK on the 29th and we’ve been busy building them up since.
James and Manon inspecting some of the parts when they arrived
Close-up of one of the new earcups
Tim performing some last minute tweaks to the fabrics!
James testing the electronics
Overall we are happy with the results and we have made great progress against the previous (‘ES2’) sample. ES3 is:
+ More comfortable – much better silicon parts for the earcups
+ More comfortable – Headband cushion extends all the way to the end of the headband
+ More reliable – Simpler electronics outline and less folds in the flexible parts
+ More robust – improved rib cage (guide on top part stops it slipping out)
And a few more photos:
Tim wearing the white and holding the black version
The white version
From the front
And from the side
As is clear from the photos the new samples are not quite finished yet. We have only just started the testing (finished assembling them today!) but there are some clear improvements that need to be made. Thankfully all of these fall into the category of ‘minor changes’ which can be resolved in the coming weeks. They include:
End cap fitment is not up to standard. You can see in the picture below it doesn’t close correctly and fits slightly crooked. Some changes to to change shape of headband sock and tweaks to the location of the fabric hem should fix these.
End cap finishing issues
EEG sensor has integrated well, however as you may have noticed in the images earlier there are issues with fitment of the fabric around. We had to modify this after the parts arrived leading to the scruffy finish. This shouldn’t be hard to fix, but it is important the final finish is up to standard.
Close-up of the sensor and fabric
Audio seals are not sitting quite right in the earcup with their current design. This is partly due to issues with assembly but there are also some minor changes we are going to make to ensure they sit neatly. You can see in the image below that one side of the audio seal sits much higher off the cushion that the other
Finally, there are some minor issues with parts not being made correctly. For example tolerance issues with buttons mean they don’t operate smoothly. The cushions that you see in the images are also not the final heat sealed versions hence why you can still see messy finishing around the edges.
Next steps: As mentioned earlier, these are all fortunately relatively simple parts which can be swapped out and tuned in the next month. We are now working on making the changes needed and getting the relevant parts created by our partners in China.
As the mechanics has reached a good level of maturity we have been able to start audio tuning.
In the image below, the yellow line represents the frequency response of the Kokoon headphones. There is no digital tuning in any of these graphs – which means that the ear-cup is driven directly from the test source. (The green line in both instances is the frequency response of a similar price point high quality ANC Bluetooth headphone offering (for context)
Yellow line: Kokoon headphone – first pass test
Blue line: Kokoon headphone – second pass test
These audio frequency responses are just to give an idea of what has been happening and they show that we are already achieving good results and comparable performance to other high quality (big brand) headphones. We are doing more audio testing and tuning (improving mid and hi ranges) through January so will be able to give you more information as we receive it ourselves.
Our big focus is to get the ES3 sample to a ‘Golden Sample’ standard before Chinese New Year.
A Golden sample is a sample the factory use as the target for each of the units that they produce. This means that the Golden sample has to be 100% perfect – every feature and design element fully verified and quality inspected.
The big outstanding issues to get ES3 to Golden Sample are:
+ Testing of our new EEG head sensor design – confirming the new (more manufacturable) design works as effectively as the previous design
+ Testing the new sample is as comfortable as our previous ones
+ Finish audio tuning (and any audio seal/acoustic chamber changes)
+ Finish Active Noise Cancellation tuning (can start once ‘audio tuning’ is complete)
+ Small mechanical issues (issues described above)
Due to Chinese New Year approaching (late Jan/Early Feb) it is important the team focuses to get us through these final hurdles to Golden Sample. During Chinese New Year the UK team can then focus on testing samples so that we can make any last changes (very minor at this point) before starting to cut tools on the 13th February.
As promised, after reviewing this sample and discussing with our factory, we can now share an updated timeline, which you can see below.
29th December 16 – Timeline Estimates:
Unfortunately as you can see this now has us shipping the units in June. We mentioned in previous updates that we expected the shipping date to slip from our previous updates, we are however confident in this new timeline.
We’re sorry that it has slipped 2-3 months further than we hoped, however we hope you can see from this update that the team here continue to make big strides forward in development, and that we are now in the final stretch before we can go to tooling.
It is critical to us that when we get the headphones to you, you are thrilled with the finished product. We know how frustrating delays are, but we know the frustration would likely be greater if you’re not satisfied with headphones when they arrive. We hope you understand and rest assured that we continue to work day and night to get the headphones finished.
Project Update (London, UK)
The software team in London have been making steady progress.
This previous 3 weeks have seen them:
+ Android test application preparation for Electronics verification work (– On board multiplexer configuration and continued functionality towards iOS KAPI level)
+ iOS KRelax app initial headphone sample integration work
+ Firmware porting to new FlexpCBv0p2 electronics and continued testing for electronics verification
The next 2 software sprints will focus on:
+ Further algorithm testing and signal conditioning to be tested on 3rd party data
+Integration with all headphone features: EEG, accelerometer, test interfaces and error handling.
Thank you all again for your patience, support and understanding. We appreciate that the latest timeline won’t be welcome news, but we hope you are assured that our attention to detail and focus is driving the project towards a great outcome.
Have a great week.
The Kokoon Team