Tangled wires and aural discomfort could be things of the past thanks to San Diego tech startup OwnPhones, which has developed 3D-printed tailored earbuds with a range of pretty impressive features.
It works like this: using an app (currently only iOS, Android on the way) and the help of a friend, users take a short close-up video of each ear. This is uploaded via the app to the OwnPhones server where it’s converted into a 3D model and printed using the latest 3D printing technology.
Not only are the earbuds wireless (using Bluetooth 4.0), but users can select from an array of colours, styles and materials, so you can accessorise a sporty look or go for something more subtle.
The customisation doesn’t end there: there’s some super-smart technology being taken advantage of in order to personalise the product even more. Using an add-on called OwnErgonomics, users specify their activities – such as parkour, athletics, skiing or snowboarding – which will determine further tweaks to the earphones. Someone partaking in high-impact activity, for instance, would benefit from earbuds made from a softer material to act as a shock absorber.
There’s even technology to legitimise selective hearing. Through the app, users can control whether to shut out all external sounds, allow just “Real World Notifications” like transport announcements, phone calls and doorbells to override the music, or choose to blend a mix of sounds from the outside world with their tunes.
If you want, you can even use OwnStatus LED, a “traffic light” system which indicates your availability to people approaching you (red=busy; amber=busy but can disturb; green=fine to approach). This could be handy for gym workouts where you see lots of people you know!
If you’ve ever struggled to find a comfortable style or been frustrated by earphones popping out when you go for a run, then this invention will be music to your ears. The only question mark is the cost, which will be revealed once OwnPhones’ Kickstarter campaign goes live in July. But they’re offering a huge 50% off online to “early bird” buyers, so our guess is they won’t come cheap …