Tasked with creating the first Bluetooth audio entry into the Fitness market of the Wearable space for Samsung, we chose to target the young professional Millennial using an aesthetic that melded jewelry with technology.
With an initial project timeline of 6 weeks, early design variations received positive feedback and the timeline expanded to 12 months from inception to market launch.
Initial battery life targeted 8 hours, exceeding the competition by 35% and allowing for a single LiPo cell in each earpiece. Usability via an external button for voice-agent integration, with volume toggle buttons, and power on/off. A Hall-effect sensor coupled with a permanent magnet enabled state awareness to filter ambient versus active use and reduce power consumption, while simultaneously creating a clasp that facilitated the necklace configuration.
Charging was enabled via a micro-usb directly to the bud or via the cord. The permanent magnet and a pogo pin interface allowed both buds to charge at once.
03. User Interface
Usability via an external button for voice-agent integration, with volume toggle buttons, and power on/off.
A Hall-effect sensor coupled with a permanent magnet enabled state awareness to filter ambient versus active use and reduce power consumption, while simultaneously creating a clasp that facilitated the necklace configuration.
Numerous prototypes were tested for the fit of ear buds with the ear canal. Adjustments in stem length and angle from the ear bud body had to be balanced with its affect on the closed necklace configuration. Cord Length was prototyped for multiple users using the 50th percentile female to 95th percentile Male human factor proportions.
We experimented with the cord’s cross section variation to optimizes for comfort across the back of the neck, and to eliminate spring-back that might pull the device from the ear canal, while draping vertically down from the ear.
Ultimately two lengths if cords were proposed, and prototypes were made in a variety of materials using both real leather, simulated leather with and without stitching. CMF strategy included a series of saturated colors, and anodized exterior finish with polished details and chamfered highlight accents.
Product mock-ups were constructed in Seoul S.Korea, from CNC machined ABS and aluminum, with cast silicone necklace cords. CMF strategy of saturated dirty colors, matching across silicone casting and anodized aluminum with polished details and chamfered highlight accents.
Production design and engineering was executed in Korea. Battery life was upgraded to 1 week by HQ product planning necessitating a significantly more massive battery and the departure from a streamlined cord.
The added battery mass placed in the middle of the cord proved to be problematic, as it forced the device to slide down the back of the user and pulled the device off the users ears. A rigid plastic part was included keep the battery from distorting the cord.
The budget for the battery shifted resources from the dual-sized interchangeable charging cord. The CMF strategy was simplified to Black, White, and Blue in injection molded ABS with communized cable larger that required a larger section for strain relief.