Kokoon progress update: latest mechanical development - Dec 2016
It has been a very busy few weeks in Shenzhen as collaboration between the Kokoon team and the factory team ramped up to tick off all tasks and issues on the to do list before sending out the 3D data for our final prototype.
Our two previous updates #29 and #30 detailed some of the issues our team out in China has been working on; in this update, we will take a more top-level look at the mechanical development to give you all a view of the bigger picture.
Following building and testing of our previous samples, the mechanical team had a great big list of issues to solve before hitting their next big milestone. This was ranging from small CAD changes such as increasing clearances or checking tolerances through to large issues such as ‘Assembly too complex’ (which was of course eventually broken down into a long list of more tasks). As we mentioned in previous updates, we can now definitely confirm, having the team out in China meant that this task list could be worked through efficiently and effectively, with four work streams working in parallel: the ear cup work stream, the end cap + electronics interface work stream, the headband + EEG work stream, and the cushioning + fabric work stream.
Ear cup Work stream
Mechanically speaking, the ‘ear cup’ consists of the acoustic chamber (front and back parts), the acoustic seal, the extension arm mechanism, and the ear EEG sub-system. Although significant changes were not needed for this part of the headphone, improvements have been made to the acoustics and assembly of these parts. Acoustic and ANC testing has continued. We have also made some changes to the acoustic chamber to ensure the mechanics of these parts will allow for all necessary acoustic tuning.
End Cap and Electronics Interface Work stream
The changes to the end caps and electronics were described in the previous update; since then the new concept has been prototyped and tested, and improvements have been made to the top fascia to ensure the fabric and end caps are consistently neat and easy to assemble.
Testing the new end cap design and assembly
Headband and EEG Work stream
Most of the changes to the headband stemmed from manufacturing and assembly issues. As we are housing our electronics and EEG subsystem in the headband, this part of the product is much more complex than usual headphones. Headband parts have been combined to reduce part-count and increase reliability, and a lot of work has gone into material selection and sourcing for these parts to ensure they comply with our force, robustness, and flexibility requirements.
Cushioning and Fabric Work stream
The cushioning and fabric work stream has been an exciting one as we have been working directly with our suppliers to select materials and manufacturing methods for some of the most critical parts of our headphones. Our fabric and cushioning supplier provided several samples of various removable earpad options, and we will be testing these samples with our next prototype so we can select the most comfortable (and user-friendly!) option. As you know, for Kokoon, comfort is everything! The material of our ear-cup cushion has now also been selected and we have finalised the design to allow for easy manufacturing and attachment to the other parts of the earcup.
Headband fabric selection
All these improvements had our team working day and night to finish up the final CAD which is now with the factory to get prototyped. Our next update will have some photos of this final sample! We are looking forward to sharing these with you.
Project Update (London, UK)
The software team in London have been making steady progress. This previous 3 weeks have seen them:
+ OverTheAir firmware update (we can change headphone code without disassembling then assembling) COMPLETE
+ Android test application (get the android KAPI up to the standard of the now mature iOS KAPI) 75% COMPLETE
The next 2 software sprints will focus on:
+ 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
In the last update we mentioned that we would update project timelines ‘when we have reached tooling and have a firm idea of the impact on our predicted timeline’….
We have still not reached tooling but as is clear from this update, we have made a lot of progress and are much closer to knowing a timeline with high confidence when we test the latest factory made samples.
We fully expect to be able to update you all in our next update (pre-Christmas) with an accurate timeline.
As ever, we appreciate everyone’s patience, support and understanding of our overwhelming ambition to bring you a high quality product as soon as possible.
The Kokoon Team