Best buds Kickstart production on magnetic earbuds that won't slip out
Two friends are turning to Kickstarter in their efforts to mass produce a superior earbud for athletes.
Like many runners, James Bell-Booth prefers to train to a soundtrack, but he hates it when the earbuds constantly pop out.
"Even the newest, high-quality earphones on the market eventually fall out or loosen when you're running. And the last thing you need when training is your earbuds annoying and distracting you by falling out or getting the wires tangled."
So he teamed-up with John Grayson to come up with a wireless earbud that was the best fit possible for runners.
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"Earshot" headphones feature arms that fit over the wearer's ears. A pair of magnets on each earbud then lock them in place, so they won't fall out, no matter how much they're jostled.
Bell-Booth said Earshot was now ready for production, but after funding three years of testing and development themselves, the pair were almost tapped out.
"We've managed to make $20,000 worth of pre-sales before we've even launched the Kickstarter, so we're really getting the ball rolling now."
Bell-Booth first realised his idea had legs while training for the 2015 T42 Tongariro trail run. His earphones seemed to be popping out every few steps.
"I thought, there has to be a solution to this. But no-one had one, so I went out to make my own."
He turned to Grayson, an engineer who had been a close friend since they met while travelling the world selling software and technology eight years ago.
Grayson and Bell-Booth set to brainstorming a way to hold earbuds in place and eventually settled on magnets.
Ove the next three years, they spent hours hand-molding different earbud designs at the kitchen table and tinkered away for days in the garage to perfect Earshot.
Along the way they tested the earbuds with sportspeople, from skaters to marathon runners, including Palmerston North ex-Black Stick Sheree Horvath.
"It has taken us hundreds of prototypes, thousands of hours of testing time, many sore ears, hundreds of discussions and testing sessions with various athletes and we finally cracked it."
Once production was up and running, the pair planned to sell Earshot sets in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK.