Two years ago we discovered a rather remarkable set of smart earplugs from a company called Hush that could silence the noise around you as you slept. Then the company suddenly went quiet, and stopped returning our calls. Now we know why: Hush was acquired by Bose, which has resurrected the noise-masking buds with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
Here, take a look at Sam Byford’s test of the Hush buds from the CES 2016 tradeshow (with me yelling at him in the background):
The new Bose “Sleepbuds” have been significantly redesigned since the Hush days, but the promise of the underlying tech remains unchanged: block sleep disturbing sounds like snoring, barking dogs, amorous neighbors, and road traffic through isolating eartips and soothing sounds tuned to mask the noise. The Sleepbuds come with a case good for one full recharge and additional tips to find the right fit. Oh, and don’t worry, it’ll work with an alarm that you set in the Bose Sleep app.
You might rightly be asking why the hell is Bose, an established brand with a healthy revenue stream, crowdfunding its new Sleepbuds on Indiegogo? It certainly violates the bootstrapping spirit that crowdfunding communities were built upon. Fact is, that spirit’s been dead for years now. Sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have morphed into the ideal venues for established companies to test new products and gauge market interest with the help of enthusiastic fans. Then, after the bugs are worked out, they can open up the product for worldwide distribution (or kill it off as a failed venture). It’s a high reward low risk platform for companies like Bose, so you can’t really begrudge them.
Bose has already raised nearly half-a-million dollars from a few thousand backers. In fact, every pricing tier (from $150 to $185) is completely sold out even though the campaign has 24 days left and won’t be delivering product until February 2018. But who knows, maybe they’ll open up additional tiers soon to match the robust demand.