Challenge 9: Boost 2.0

by baltringer

Jason, Sofia, Snow, Luis, Andrew, and Govind decided to revisit Boost to try and develop ways to improve what we thought was one of our best products. We began by broadly defining our criteria for improvement, namely ease of use, adaptable and customizable design, and power from real technology. We thought that any improvements we make focusing on these three areas would be the most effective for adding to the desirability of our product. In terms of ease of use, we decided to go back to our prototype and see what the biggest user pain points could be. Our previous headphone-within-band idea seemed to be a bit difficult to put on and uncomfortable to wear. Also, though we’d spoken about swappable layers, we didn’t consider that potentially both layers would need to be washed if the users engaged in considerable physical activity. To allay this, we decided to ditch the headphones and put removable “Boost Pods” in zippered pouches beside the ears. These pods are essentially small speakers that would sit on top of ones ears in zippered pockets in the headband and play music for the user to hear. The pods connect to the band through a set of pogo pins embedded in both the headband and the Boost Pod for ease of swapping, and these pins can also be used to charge the pods using a wall charger. Additionally, this change allowed us the freedom to easily expand to a range of products including hoodies and beanies because one would only need to buy one set of pods (or more if the user breaks them), and these pods could be quickly and easily swapped into any of our compatible garments. Not only does this expand our current offering of apparel products, but it also gives users the freedom to choose garments they actually like if they aren’t interested in the idea of a headband, capping off our second criteria for improvement: customizable design. Regarding our third element, power from real tech, we decided to further flesh out some features we thought were not defined particularly well. We decided that the Pods would connect as a pair to the user’s phone via bluetooth, and that BoostMode would use a mobile app to sync a runner’s music with his/her/their partner. Finally, we decided we’d see what we could do to make our previous prototype more compelling. We decided to actually add real 3M reflective strips to the conductive fabric, showing what our true product would look like with reflective elements in place. We think that the improvements we made to our product help make it even easier for our users to throw their running clothes on, pop the Boost Pods in, and go!

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