ZYGO
Underwater Audio

Submersible Streaming Audio Done Soundly

Challenge
Create an underwater communication device for swimmers and coaches
Solution
The Zygo is the first underwater communication system that streams live audio, two-way communication, and supports custom content
Impact
A practical communication device for swimming coaches
Create an underwater communication device for swimmers and coaches
The Zygo is the first underwater communication system that streams live audio, two-way communication, and supports custom content
A practical communication device for swimming coaches
Industry
Electronics
Consumer Products
Sport
Expertise
Market Analysis
Consumer Insight
Concept Development
Industrial Design
UX / UI Design

Everybody Into the Pool

In 2017 Zygo founders Charlie Melvoin and Shera Gorin saw a need for a company that made swimming fun again. While spinning, running, and other land-based activities had become social and entertaining—even spawning multi-billion dollar fitness crazes—swimming had been overlooked by major trends and remained a relatively solitary, boring, and silent activity.

In response, the pair developed a program called SwimTeam, a 45-minute guided exercise group swim class, with real-time instruction and encouragement set to music.

But they quickly realized their concept faced some challenges, particularly the inability of the coach and swimmer to effectively communicate underwater. Undeterred, the pair decided what they needed was an innovative new underwater audio system that would allow swimmers to clearly communicate and hear instructions in real-time. So they turned to Boombang for help.

By the Numbers

1ST

Of its Kind Fully Submersible RF Streaming Audio With no Latency, Drop-Off or Distortion

28M

Estimated Number of People Who Swim for Fitness in the U.S. Alone (2018)

Strategy

The Deep Dive

The first thing we did was take a comprehensive look at the industry and the major competition in the field, including the Aftershokz Xtrainer, Sony Waterproof, H2O Audio Stream, Finis Duo, and many others. We literally tore apart any and all products that existed in the market to see what made them work, (or in this case, not work). We examined the capabilities and limitations of each product, ranked them in terms of ease of use, comfort, and sound quality, and came up with a checklist of needs for a new product based on those findings.

Execution

Breaking the Waves

While all of the competitors possessed some features for underwater sound and communications, none of them had all the qualities in one cohesive package that we were looking for. In fact, none of the competitive set streamed live audio, supported custom content, or allowed for live communication. So we set out to create one that had all those capabilities in both a pool and open water.

Execution

Synchronized Swimming

The Zygo system features two components (three if you count the phone needed for Bluetooth connectivity). The first is a handheld waterproof transmitter that connects via radio signals to a headset. The transmitter also acts as a live communication "walkie-talkie" controller for the coach and swimmer to talk in real-time.

The second piece of the Zygo system is the ergonomically designed, one-size-fits-all headset with an internal gripping mechanism that loops around the wearer's ears to withstand the rigors of swimming laps or even doing a flip turn. The headset features bone-conducting vibrational technology which leaves the ears open.

Best of all, the entire Zygo is wireless, waterproof, and streams any audio or speech two feet below the water's surface at a distance of 50 meters, or above the surface for half a mile.

Standing Out

Creating a Design Splash

Finally, all of the pioneering tech and revolutionary design comes together digitally in the Zygo app which contains pre-recorded workouts for all levels of swimmers. Trained instructors provide inspiration and advice via content paired with music. As Zygo likes to say, it's not just a headset, it's a mindset.

Even the Zygo carrying case was considered. The entire system can be stored in an elegant, compact, and conveniently lightweight carrying case that also serves as a charger.

Onward

The Tip of the Iceberg

While Zygo’s initial idea was to focus on swimmers and coaches as their prime customers, with Boombang's help, they quickly realized there was a much larger potential audience that could apply to many other water activities, including swimming, windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, rowing, sailing, and many others.