From large desktop computers going down to laptops and tablets, learning to embrace the Blu-ray disc if you were once an avid VHS devotee, to the behemoth cell phones of the late 90s, complete with pull-out antennae, shrinking to the size of your hand, bigger does not always mean better when it comes to technology.
I’ve been on board for most of these changes, but one I had trouble with was earbuds. I’ve always been a fan of giant headphones – maybe I’ve never had the proper fit, or I just have weird ears, but I’ve never enjoyed having to jam tiny pieces of plastic into my ears in order to listen to music. While I have a better pair now, the ones I had before never felt secure, especially if I was exercising. So wireless earphones really throw me for a loop – unless you have a solution like M3D’s Air’rings, how do you know for sure that they won’t fall out of your ears? Enter earnotz: personalized, wireless earphones that are 3D printed to the exact size of your ears, and promise to be comfortable, stay in place, and provide a high quality listening experience!
earnotz, with offices in France and Delaware, was founded a couple of years ago and recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. The company was created through cooperative research conducted by 3D modeling and printing company so3D. The tech director was constantly complaining about his uncomfortable standard earphones, so they decided to create earphones that were personalized just for him, using their 3D printing and modeling skills. Once they realized this was a common problem for many people, they decided to go bigger.
It’s easy to get a pair: 2D print the provided scale, and position it on each ear, so the team at earnotz can get your exact dimensions. Then, using your smartphone and the earnotz mobile app for guidance, you or a friend will capture photos or video of both of your ears. earnotz converts these into data for their professional 3D printers. The conchus (inner ear) piece is 3D printed using biocompatible resin, and assembled with the personalized shell, which holds the electronic equipment.
A note about the shell: you will be able to choose the design from the earnotz library, but it is not complete yet. At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, you will get to pick your design and color. You can also design your own shell, but you’ll have to take on that project using your own software, as earnotz does not provide drawing or software support.
earnotz provides a 2D template file in PNG format, and a 3D template file in OBJ, for personalizing your earphones. The 2D template can be used to add a photo to the top of your earnotz, and will provide the acceptable outbound photo limits. Just edit the template with your drawing software, and after any necessary resizing, insert it within the limits of your photo. The 3D template is used with your 3D drawing software when you want to design your own shell top with shape and dimension. You just need to make sure that whatever object you design is water-tight and fits within the limits.
Each earphone contains three sub-miniature audio speakers, based on balanced armature technology that is designed for in-ear applications. The professional grade foam and silicone ear tips provide passive noise reduction, and come in three sizes. The speakers are tuned for the best sound and come with MMCX cables that disconnect the Bluetooth link when connected to a HiFi source, letting the full audio signal be connected to the six speakers; they also come with a plane adapter. earnotz provides up to four hours of nonstop play-time, and the buffer battery gives you five full charges before needing a recharge. Use the earnotz mobile app to manage your audio environment, by increasing or decreasing the power of sound waves.
You can also use the earnotz to improve your workout! The earphones have “physiological sensors to measure your effort duration, your heart rate, your distance and the calories you have burnt.” The earfitz mobile app compiles all of your fitness data and and displays effort graphics and tables, and all of the measures are stored in the app. If you need to take a call while working out, a simple tap on the earnotz can answer or place a phone call, and the CMOS/MEMS microphone reproduces your voice with fidelity. If you’re worried about the earnotz falling out while you’re going for a run, an optional security necklace is available. earnotz are also waterproof up to one meter, so you can wear them while completing your daily laps.
- a pair of earnotz earphones
- charging case
- USB cable
- foam and silicone ear tips (small, medium and large)
- earnotz and earfitz mobile applications
Beta trials for the earnotz begin in July, with pre-production tests commencing in August. If you want to be one of the first to get a pair of earnotz, pledge $263 to the Kickstarter campaign now, and save $129 off the retail price! The estimated delivery for this early bird special is October of 2017; earnotz are expected to begin full production in February of 2018. Check out the earnotz Kickstarter video to learn more:
Discuss in the earnotz forum at 3DPB.com.