earHero Sports: An Origin Story, Part Two
The Origins of earHero...
Every hero has an origin story. Superman has Smallville. Spiderman has Uncle Ben. earHero Sports has a ski trip to Sun Valley Idaho
Join us as we tell the story of how earHero Sport went from a spur of the moment idea to an internationally in demand product. When we left off last week, earHero inventor Matt Murphy had just returned from a ski trip to Sun Valley, ID where he came up with the idea to create an earphone that would let the wearer listen to their favorite music while still hearing everything around them. If you missed Part One you can check it out here.
Let’s continue our story with Part Two.
“The Long Road Home”
What started out as an idea on a mountaintop in Sun Valley, Idaho was now on its way to being a reality. But having a great idea and producing a top notch product are two completely different things. Plenty of people have great idea. Very few produce the end product. The difference is a lot of hard work and perseverance.
When Matt returned home from his Ski Trip in Sun Vally, Idaho he set to work putting together a prototype of his new earphones. Finding parts quickly became a problem. Only four companies worldwide made the balanced armature speakers needed for his idea to work. They were essential in getting the earphones to rest inside the ear canal while allowing ambient noise to pass.
Worse yet, since very few companies employed balanced armature speakers in their earphones, the parts needed to make Matt’s earphones were hard to come by.
Not to be deterred, Matt resorted to buying headphones from local stores. He would tear them apart and scavenge various parts from each sample. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error he was able to put together a very rough sample. But it was light years away from anything he could actually use.
Luckily, fate stepped in again in the form of Boise State University’s Tech Help center. Matt’s alma matter facilitated a state assisted program that assisted inventors by providing engineering assistance. Students in the program were able to work with Matt on design drawings, engineering input and assistance locating some hard to find parts. Most importantly they were able to help Matt build several unique “one off” pieces needed to create moldings for the earpiece.
During this time, Matt also obtained a patent for earHeroes including 22 unique product claims. The process took over 5 years and required several revisions to the product claims but Matt was finally successful in securing the patent needed to set earHeroes apart.
Now that he had a working prototype and a patent, Matt set out to secure the manufacturing needed for production runs. While Matt was able to build one or two of the earphones, he’d need some serious manufacturing mettle to handle the thousands of units he was hoping to move. After an exhaustive search and negotiations with manufacturing centers around the globe, Matt finally found what he needed with a plant in Zuhai, Guangdon Province China. They were able to provide the high quality manufacturing needed at a cost that would keep earHero earphones affordable. The first order was placed in November of 2011 with the first shipment arriving in early 2012.
Eight years after the first idea struck him on that mountain top in Sun Valley, ID, Matt finally had his dream product in hand. The journey from mountaintop idea to earHero was complete. The first earHero earphones were released to the public in the spring of 2012.
Sales quickly materialized all over the globe. Customers from the United States, Canada, Australia and more loved the new earphones. Finally, there was a product that let the wearer listen to music while still hearing their surroundings. Athletes loved them for the ability to safely listen to music while training. Security personnel loved them for their comfort and for the increased tactical awareness.
Customers remarked on the sound quality. They lauded the comfort, some even remarked that earHero earphones felt like they weren’t wearing anything at all.
Matt was elated. His dream had become reality. All the hard work had paid off. earHero earphones did exactly what he’d set out to provide. From now on, no one had to leave one earbud out when skiing, or running, or cycling.
earHero’s journey was complete.
Then one day, the FBI called.
Check back next week for the conclusion in earHero Sports: an Origin Story, Part 3.