Progress: Multi-size earbud design

July 03

In our Loud & Clear blog we indicated five areas we are focused on improving in Gen3.  One of those areas is providing multiple earbud sizes for different ears shapes and sizes.  The below outlines the progress we have made in the area.

The goal for Earshots: deliver MagFit in a small earbud that can be adjusted for different ear sizes

Development journey for Gen2...

In Gen2, we used a mechanical solution to give the earbud rotation with the goal that this rotation would deliver a fit for different ear sizes.  The mechanism we designed was a world's first.  Feedback from our customers pointed to us needing more variability in size so we have gone back to the drawing board and are rebuilding the earbud from scratch.

The starting point for Gen3...ear moulds and ear studies

We started by taking basic moulds.  And accessing a database of ear shapes and sizes.  From here we made hundreds of hand molded earbuds to conduct volume studies.

Earshots are different from any other earbud in the world...why? Because we secure to the back of the ear, not the front. 

Because Earshots fixed point is at the back of the ear.  This creates a unique opportunity to design something completely new for our customers.  This means, Earshots earbuds needs to allow for two variables:

  • Ear canal size
  • Distance from back of ear to the ear canal (as shown in the above image)

Miniturising a magnet and speaker

The hardest part of miniaturising the earbud for multiple ear shapes and sizes is combining a magnet and a speaker really close together.   The reason for this is that speaker/drivers have magnets in them.  When two magnets get close together they can magnatise...and this poses a whole number of challenges we need to over come. 

Easy fitting first time

Further challenges we have discovered through observational testing in the Gen3 programme, is that a lot of people are struggling to fit Earshots correctly the first time.  There were two things we observed:

1. It's not immediately apparent that you pull the earbud apart from the hook.  ...check out the video below from our testing lab. 

2. The earbud shape is a subconscious cue for how to fit the earbud

 A glimpse into the future

We have been able to design, test and prove that we can make a much smaller earbud, with a soft cushioned tip, that will allow for significantly larger range of ear sizes.  The below images show a vastly different earbud design..BUT NOTE: This is not the final design...we have progressed significantly on from here but this gives you a flavour.  

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