Jan 5, 2017 | By Julia

Ill-fitting, uncomfortable earbuds have been a common affliction since the tech was first invented. But earnotz, an American startup specializing in custom 3D printed earphones, is one of the few companies doing anything about it. Specifically, the startup has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to get its product to market.

“At earnotz our Tech Director was always complaining about his standard earphones: they were uncomfortable, always falling out, [and] they don’t fit his ears,” the campaign text explains.

It’s a typical qualm for music listeners everywhere. “Either the earphone is the wrong fit for your ear or your ear is not suitable for standard earphones,” earnotz’s website tells us. “As a matter of fact, your ears are different from someone else’s. ‘Standard’ earphone sizing is very often a source of major discomfort.”

After over a year and a half of research with audio engineers, hearing aid specialists, and 3D modeling and 3D printing company so3D, the earnotz team has announced it’s ready to tackle the challenge. By 3D printing earbuds that match the exact dimension of the user’s ears, earphone discomfort can apparently become a thing of the past – that is, if the startup reaches its goal of $295,000 USD.

The customizing process begins by printing a paper scale on your home 2D printer. After placing the scale on your ear to precisely measure its dimensions, the earnotz mobile app guides you to capture the whole setup via photo or video. The images are sent to the earnotz team, who then convert the data into 3D printable files.

A 3D print of your inner ear is manufactured using bio-compatible material. Electronics are then inserted into a shell which matches up with the 3D printed ear. Earnotz also offers a customizable shell design from their design library, although selecting a design requires your own software.

Pending a successful Kickstarter campaign, delivery is estimated for late 2017.

Perks of the 3D printed earbuds include: high-quality sound from six tiny speakers and passive noise reduction; physiological sensors to measure your effort duration, heart rate, distance, and calories burned while exercising; and impressive connectivity, featuring a simple tap-motion to make or receive calls.

Any backer who pledges at the $263 level will get a pair of earnotz. Purchase comes equipped with your own customized earphones, a charging case, a USB cable, foam and silicone tips, and the mobile applications earnotz and earfitz. A HiFi MMCX cable and security link are optional.

With only about $1,400 pledged so far of its $295,000 goal, we’ll have to see how Earnotz’s success measures up to its ambitions. But with 27 days still to go in the Kickstarter campaign, the American startup may well re-invigorate the earphone industry yet.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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