Do your off-the-shelf earbuds fall out during javelin practice? Did the wings you taped to your bluetooth headset rip off once you started working on the pottery wheel? Do you struggle to find tasteful, elegant earrings to comfortably cram inside your ear canals? Let OwnPhones take the pain away, and make you look super glam while they're at it, with wireless 3D printed headphones modeled to your own ears. And there's no mail-in ear putty involved. You gather your ears' data points using nothing but your smartphone, their app, and an object used for size-reference.
Much like our musical tastes, our ears vary wildly in multiple dimensions. As pointed out in their flashy project video, offering just a couple sizes to meet the needs of such dramatically different users leaves a lot of room for improvement. And that's just fit! Most earbuds range from nondescript to pretty ugly. These wireless headphones offer good sound quality and fit, but are also customizable in intense ways. There are four types available: Fit, Designer Fit, Smart Fit and Jewelry. Those correspond with basic 3D-printed plastic blob looks, more complex printed shapes, super-futuristic glowing cyborg styles with added processing power, and bold stately jewelry in precious metals. OwnPhones sport a built-in microphone for calls, Bluetooth 4.0, app-controlled variable noise cancellation and the ability to set exceptions for specific sounds (like an alarm clock)... so you never ever have to take them off. There are even optional colored LEDs that can signal whether you're available or busy, stoplight style. It's not quite an android plug-in for the brain, but it sure looks like it.
The scanning and printing might sound wild, but it's just building on (arguably more high-minded but less sexy) well-established methods in hearing aid design and manufacture. Over ten million custom 3D-printed hearing devices are already out in the world, based on detailed imaging photogrammetry techniques similar to those in the "patent pending" OwnPhones app.
While video is a little over the top, a lot of us must be fed up with our boring, poorly-fitting headphones—the campaign is close to doubling its goal with just under two weeks to go. If you're going to live life plugged in constantly, you might as well flaunt it.
See also: Hearing Aids As Phones, for Everyone