Headphones are a gadget that over the past 20 years has become part of the basic equipment of the inhabitants of more than half of the planet. The market is highly competitive, and engineers and inventors regularly present new solutions for the headphone and wearable device market.
Headphone housing design: typology
- In-ear headphones, which are located inside the ear canal, and earbuds, which are placed inside the auricle.
- On-ear headphones that can cover your ear in whole or in part.
- Bone conduction headphones that do not make contact with the auricle.
The change in the shape of the headphones is associated with innovative developments and new human needs. So, the popularization of bone conduction headphones is due to the fact that they are convenient for runners and motorists. Such a headset allows you to hear the sounds of the surrounding world and communicate with others without interrupting the music.
In terms of construction, the design of the headphone housing that transmits sound through the bone has its own “sharp corners”. The main problem is fixation on the head, if there should be no problems with wearing on short-cut hair, then slipping can become a problem for long hair.
The development of headphone casings that translate sound into bone suggests that half of the target audience of the product does not wear short hair. This means that the mount should not slip.
The second relatively new development is wireless headsets, which were given a second life by Apple and their Apple AirPods. Now bluetooth headsets are no longer associated with the 2000s and people of characteristic appearance who loudly swore at themselves while walking down the street. Apple, as a company that innovates and makes the ordinary, made everyone joke about their AirPods, and also created a new media image of the wireless headset.
Apple AirPods and JBL Free Headphone Case Design
Interestingly, the reaction to the gadget was ambiguous, although in theory it solves one of the main problems of headphones – tangled wires that make users nervous and lead to faster wear of the gadget and new financial expenses. Many manufacturers are working on this problem less radically: they change the design of the wires. However, as shown by the visual experiments of the editorial staff of Look At Me, such wires still get tangled.
If you have an innovative development that will allow the wires not to get tangled, contact the Kiev industrial design studio KLONA. Here you can order the creation of a headphone case, which will complete the image of an innovative product.
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Headphone Industrial Design: Testing the Promotional Promises of Bowers & Wilkins C5 and Bose SIE2i Sport Headphones
At IFA 2017 in Berlin, manufacturers presented several notable competitors with wireless AirPods. Among them are JBL Free (the JBL brand specializes in audio electronics), Samsung’s Gear IconX 2018, which are already the second generation of this model, Sony wf1000x and Bandwagon Dowson Airplay E8.
They each have technological advantages over AirPods. Before designing a headphone housing that could compete with Apple, engineers, designers and marketers studied their design and looked for ideas for potential difference. So the Samsung model is protected from water, it is not worth swimming in it, but they are not afraid of rain or sweat, Sony headphones take on their noise-canceling properties. However, all models presented are in-ear headphones. But there are no earbuds on the market that would become a worthy replacement for AirPods.
Headphone manufacturing: how to create a case
The mechanics of the production of the headphone housing is simple: you need drawings, then the industrial designer will use them. creates a 3D model headphone cases. At the design stage, it is important to think over all the technical details – earphone attachments in the ear, placement of sensors (if it is a wireless device), buttons, adjustment options, whether they will fold and bend (for massive devices).
After the final version of the 3D model of the headphone case has been approved, printed on a 3D printer and get a prototype. Usually in the case of developments like wearable devices, one prototype will not be enough. It will take 10 to 50 devices to test their work and understand how you can improve the device. If 30 or more prototypes are required, it will be better to make the headphone case not by 3D printing, but by silicone castings …
Creating a 3D Headphone Model: The Bowers & Wilkins Case Study
Then corrections are made to the 3D model, one or more final prototypes are printed, and tested for operability. If everything is in order, then one of the prototypes is turned into a master model: they grind, polish, apply shagreen. Further, in its likeness, a metal mold is cast, with which you can make a large batch of products.
Specialists of the CLONE industrial design studio will help with all this. We know how to design a headphone housing that is technically flawless. Contact the manager and let us know your plans!
Read also: Methods and terms for the production of plastic products: 3D printing, silicone molding, injection molding
Headphone housing development: finding a chip to conquer a saturated market
To compete with hundreds of successful manufacturers that have been in the audio electronics industry for more than half a century like the aforementioned JBL or flagships of the smartphone industry like Apple and Samsung, you need a distinction. It can be an innovative development, a unique design idea, unusual materials, or a well-presented brand story. For example, this fact may be the place of origin of the company. I would like to look at the design of Ukrainian headphones, which will show the character of the nation not with embroidery or a trident instead of a logo, but look deeper.
Read also: 8 rules for designing wearable devices
Chant, House of Marley: Design Headphones Using Recycled Materials
House of Marley is the business of Bob Marley’s son, the very fact of which makes the brand more interesting. The Chant model is doubly remarkable: it is made of
secondary materials: recycled fabrics and wood. The color scheme is also not accidental: the headphones repeat the colors of the Rasta hat Gauze, which has long become a thing in itself, a recognizable visual symbol. The edges of the case are decorated with patterns and a logo that add tactile properties to the headphones.
Read also: Wearable device market: an overview of new products
Develop headphone product design: bet premium on materials
Bandwagon Dowson Airplay E8 are wireless headphones that the authors presented in September 2017 at the Berlin IFA. They impress the consumer not with unusual properties, but with luxurious materials. The storage and charging case is covered in leather, and the earphone itself is made of matte plastic and aluminum. At the same time, they are technically weaker than analogues, although they are more expensive. This gadget is a fashion accessory, its price is € 300, which is higher than the cost of AirPods. It is aimed at consumers who want to show others their status by choosing this brand and model, and not for those who are looking for a model for active sports or those who are chasing better sound reproduction.
Read also: Six design strategies for creating durable products
I.am + Buttons: vinyl-inspired headphone housing design
I.am + Buttons headphones are wireless and are based on AirPods, the idea of their design is the work of a music producer, rapper and, more recently, designer will.i.am. The motivation that inspired him is the desire for the headphones to fit the person in the style of clothing and the vision of himself. In his opinion, the classic popular plugs do not allow self-expression, and by creating I.am + Buttons, will.i.am plans to change this.
An interesting solution here is the headphone connection, which has a purely decorative function. However, remembering that one of the main ridicules of the AirPods was the thought of the fear of losing the earpiece and not finding it, the decorative elastic necklace has a practical purpose. As you can see, it also has buttons, which is a strange solution: wireless headphones mean that you can reduce the sound with your voice, lightly touching the structure or pressing on the phone to which they are connected.
The second thing that sets the headphones apart from the classic Airpods is the large metal disc. Here it is a reference to vinyl records, the fashion for which returned about 10 years ago.
Proffie-oriented: industrial design of the Master & Dynamic headphone housing
The last example is headphones, which are made for those who are primarily interested in sound and at the same time are a fan of beautiful things. Their feature is the retro style in design, which the creators have combined with new noise reduction technologies. And in the design they used soft sheep leather and aluminum. These headphones are comfortable to wear around the neck, as you can see in the photo, the outer part is movable. Although they are primarily designed for listening to music, a microphone is also built into the headphones. So you can interrupt listening to music to talk on the phone.
If you have an idea that can give the market something new and find your audience, contact the KLONA studio. We will ensure its high-quality implementation !
+38 (044) 338 88 02