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Heari - Your New Ears

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In our last blog post we had a summary on the unique features of Heari, our upcoming wireless neckband.  Now I’d like to focus on our most unique features that really enhances your hearing experiences, almost like having a new pair of ears.  I am talking about our patent-protected Tailored Audio and Audio Transparency.

 

Tailored Audio

This is the foundation of Aumeo.  Everybody - every ear - hears differently because we are human and not machines.  However a song or movie can only be have 1 production cut, tuned to sound good for the average ear.  Aumeo’s Tailored Audio turns this one-size-fits-all situation into for-your-ears-only.

The user first goes through a measurement process that is clinically proven to be up to 97% accurate.  The result is used to fine tune audio to best fit your hearing - analogous to how glasses sharpen images for your sight.  Depending on your hearing, It can work magic for you. Just ask music producer Andrew Huang.

Aumeo’s Tailored Audio will be a core feature for Heari.

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Audio Transparency

Have you ever wanted superhuman hearing?  Imagine able to highlight just the person talking with you in a noisy restaurant, or pick out the sound of approaching cars while you run.  That is Heari’s Audio Transparency.

Heari has a set of 3 built-in microphones that work in concert to capture sound from your environment.  The front mic is unidirectional, designed to focus on your front and pick up face-to-face conversation .  The back mic is omnidirectional, able to scan and highlight sounds from behind you. The 3rd mic sits comfortably close to your face to listen to whatever you have to say without literally getting in your face.

On top of that, we are adding expertly crafted and tested audio algorithms to let you control what sounds to highlight in different situations.  Combining that with Tailored Audio, you are in for a real-world listening experience like never before.

 

Sounds good, but will it sound good?

That’s probably the “best worst” sub-heading I’ve ever wrote but I couldn’t help myself :)  What I mean is all that space-age tech still depend on good-old audio components like drivers and earbud choice to shine.  Fear not my friends! We will dive right into those next time, and I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised!

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Introducing Heari

Heari - the neckband headphones for your online and offline life

Last time I summed up the insights and feedback you all gave us on our Aumeo device, and this time it’s finally time to tell you about our next star - the Heari neckband headphones!

 

Who is Heari for?

Simply put, Heari is for people who want the Aumeo device built into a pair of wireless headphones.  But it is also soooo much more! Let me count the ways...

 

Tailored Audio

Tailored Audio

AUMEO: World’s 1st Tailored Audio Device.  That’s the innovation that put us on the map.  Tailored Audio is our patent protected, clinically proven hearing measurement technology that optimizes audio based on each individual ear’s hearing abilities, similar to how glasses adjusts light so each eye can see sharply.  Tailored Audio is built right into the Heari to make sure you hear every note the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed.

 

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Audio Transparency

This is by far the most requested feature from our customers.  They love the way Tailored Audio improves their music, and they’d love to do the same for their real life, “offline” experiences.  Live concert, face-to-face conversations, a walk in the autumn woods. Audio Transparency is exactly that!

 

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Exceptional Headphone Driver (Choice of Single or Dual)

Headphone drivers are the crucial to the quality of sound in any headphones.  To make sure Heari has the best sound in its class we worked for almost a year to source and tune our headphone drivers.   In the end we found 2 winners - a single driver with rich, full sound, and a dual driver that delivers exceptional sweetness and clarity at all frequencies.  We decided to offer both as a choice for you! We will publish more details on these drivers very soon.
 

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MMCX (Our earbuds are swappable!)

If you are like me, sometimes the “freedom of choice” makes me second-guess my decisions.  To make sure you can have your cake and eat it too, selected models of Heari will support MMCX, short for Micro Miniature CoaXial.  It is a connector standard that allows the user to swap the earbuds, you can switch between all our earbuds, future or present.  What’s more, premium brands like Shure also adopts the MMCX standard, so you can even try on your Shure earbuds with our neckband with Aumeo technology!
 

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The Best Bluetooth DSP with aptX & 24-bit Audio

Heari is powered by CSR 8675, the most advanced, premium Bluetooth DSP chip by Qualcomm.   This chip is used only in the most premium wireless headphones. Same with Heari. This means the Heari neckband will support aptX and 24-bit audio, the best any wireless headphones could offer.
 

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Wireless Freedom | Next-to-Weightless | Advanced Circuitry & Microphones

We put a lot of thought into the form factor of Heari.  We love the wireless neckband because:

  • Enough space on the band to pack sophisticated circuitry for optimal audio performance

  • Ability to put 3 microphones to provide the best Audio Transparency experience

  • Most of the weight is in the neckband and distributed across your shoulders, so your ears will only feel the scant 13g of the earbuds
     

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All Day Battery

The neckband form factor also allows us to put in a big fat battery and supply at least 10 hours of operation.  So you can enjoy all that Tailored Audio and Audio Transparency all day long!

 

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Future-proof with Software Upgrades!

Last but certainly not least, we have designed Heari to receive software upgrades.  Features that cannot make the production deadline will have a chance to make it after all!

 

More Details Every Week

I will be doing more in-depth write ups for each of these features in the coming weeks.  So stay tuned (pun)!

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What's Next, Aumeo?

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What's Next, Aumeo?

Our Aumeo device has been shipping for more than a year and it’s been an amazing journey.  From customer feedback we now have a good idea on what we have done right, what we need to improve on, and the direction you want us to take.  Here’s what we’ve learned and, more importantly, what we are going to do with this knowledge.

 

People Love Aumeo!

The recurring theme is that people love Aumeo, especially the concept of Tailored Audio!  Before Aumeo, most people don’t realize that everyone hears differently, and there’s a better way than One-Size-Fits-All audio.  Once you’ve taken the red pill (does this show my age?), there’s no going back.  Check out some amazing Amazon reviews:

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People Want More!

More convenience

Our 1st product launch goal was to introduce the concept Tailored Audio, and the best way is to show how much better audio sound when it is personalized to your years.  That’s why the Aumeo device was designed as an add-on to your existing gear and make them really sing (haha).

 

Our next product’s mission is to reach more people, so convenience and ease-of-use is key.  Many of you have been urging us to build Aumeo into a wireless neckband earbuds, and this is exactly what we are going to deliver by teaming up with MF Jebsen (more on this in a second)!

 

Better wireless range

This one is the #1 most frequently requested improvement.  Lots of our fans double Aumeo as a “wireless adapter” for their wired headphones and they wander about the house.  The Aumeo device’s range could be better if we used a plastic enclosure, instead of the aircraft-grade aluminum (or aluminium for you Brits).  It was a design choice to allow Aumeo fit in better with premium hi-fi setups as an “add-on”.

Now that we are making a standalone wireless earbuds, we are going to choose high quality material that feel great to the touch while allowing maximum wireless signal passthrough.

Don’t stop at music!  What about real life? - this is another much requested feature.  Why not make Aumeo work for face-to-face conversations?  We agree it’s a great idea too so we are building this right into our upcoming earbuds products!

 

So who’s MF Jebsen?

Why, I thought you’d never ask!  MF Jebsen is a multinational company with roots go back more than a century.  Group Chairman Markus Jebsen has seen how the Aumeo device transformed people’s listening experience and wanted to help spread the technology to more people.  They are throwing their weight behind our wireless neckband earbuds product. Their economy of scale means better quality and features at a lower price for you. And we are very excited about it!

 

Stay tuned for our next update

Things are really heating up behind the scenes and I can’t wait to share more info with you!  In my next update I will dive into the features and design of our next big thing. Make sure you subscribe to our mailing list and stay tuned!

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Getting the Most Out of Your Audio

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Getting the Most Out of Your Audio

Ever since we revealed our design of Aumeo to the world, the top request we hear is this:

It would be perfect if you produced a headphone!

The benefits of a headphone product are obvious: nothing extra to carry and charge.  Convenience.  Yet we debated long and hard and we decided a stand-alone device would better serve our initial core audiences - music lovers and audiophiles.

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We as humans assume that everyone hears the same way.   As a result the first community to really get Aumeo’s “Tailored Audio” concept will likely be people who care about their audio experiences.  Those who understand that every equipment in the audio chain affects the quality of the output.  Those who can immediately understand that the human ear, the final canvas of sound, is the critical piece of equipment that is completely unaccounted for.

These are also the people who will already have their audio setup meticulously tuned over the years.  So, who are we to pop into the scene and tell them that our headphones are better than their headphones/speakers (which is likely to be more expensive than my car)?

Hence the Aumeo.  A stand-alone device that completes your audio investment, without replacing anything.  On top of that we also decided to include AptX Bluetooth as an audio-in option, effectively adding wireless capabilities to your favourite wired headphones.

So try it on your favorite headphones!  Who knows, you might find even more reasons to fall in love with them again!

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The Superior Aumeo Hearing Assessment

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The Superior Aumeo Hearing Assessment

Aumeo has a clear and unique goal - to make sure each listener’s unique hearing is accurately measured and considered to achieve the fullest audio experience.  We call it “Tailored Audio”.

The quality of any tailoring boils down to 2 essential parts: accurate measurements and expert fitting.  For this post I’d like to focus on Aumeo’s hearing measurement technology and the story of how we achieved 97% accuracy proven in our clinical trial and peer reviewed scientific medical publication

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Our core value was placed on the most accurate hearing assessment possible.  With this aim, co-founder Prof. Andrew van Hasselt and our team of hearing experts set out to design the best solution.

There are a number of established hearing test methods in the field of audiology.  From medical and field experience we looked beyond a number of interesting methods that are ultimately unsuitable for our use.  For example, Otoacoustic Emission Test (OAE) can check the user’s cochlear (inner ear) status without manual interactions, but it’s largely only good for detecting the presence of hearing in uncooperative subjects (e.g. babies who cannot provide feedback, or to prevent fraudulent deafness insurance claims), but falls short when it comes to hearing health accuracy.  Speech-in-Noise tests are language specific and cannot serve our global audience.  Lastly, we decided against using short musical snippets because even a single piano note has lots of harmonics, meaning we are only measuring the ability to hear across multiple frequencies.  It’s like measuring the feet of 5 different people to average into a single sized shoe.

In the end we settled on Pure-Tone Audiometry.  PTA is by far the most common and well-established method of hearing measurement, and is the predominant method used when fine-tuning hearing assistive devices.

Once we decided on PTA, the team worked hard on distilling their years of clinical experience into a simple-to-use yet highly accurate app.  One key design decision was to incorporate as many of the industry standards recommended by the British Society of Audiology (2004) as possible.  This not only gave our app a strong foundational reference, but also allowed for continuous clinical verifications down the road.

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Our very first clinical trial was conducted to find out how accurate our hearing assessment technology was compared with a professional hearing test.  The trial was conducted at the Audiology Clinic of the Price of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong.  We invited 100 people to first take a standard hearing test to establish their official audiogram, or hearing profile.  We then ran them through our hearing assessment app using an iPhone with the standard Apple earbuds in a quiet room.  The results stood up and showed that our technology is 97% accurate when compared with a standard, professionally administered hearing test.

It took more than 2 years to design, develop and finally verify our hearing measurement technology.  The effort gave us rock a solid foundation and the confidence to move forward.  Only then were we assured that our users would enjoy the optimal benefit from our medical expertise in audiology and hearing health, together with our engineering expertise in audio equalization and amplification, tailored to their individual needs.


 

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