nuraphones

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  • 2018

  • Product Design
    Consumer Electronics

Designed By:

  • Office for Product Design
  • Tricycle Developments
  • Nura Design Team

Commissioned By:

Nura

Designed In:

Australia

The nuraphones are the world's first headphones to automatically learn and adapt to your unique hearing. When you first put them on they collect a signal in your ear called the OAE (Oto-Acoustic Emission) and use it to craft your unique hearing profile and balance your music perfectly.


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  • Our main challenge was to develop a technology that could detect the really subtle OAE and could fit into a wearable device. The first prototype were earbuds that plugged into a PCB the size of a shoe box. Another challenge was to ensure the device was comfortable for prolonged listening sessions which involved 300+ user tests and 100+ iterations of the Inova structure (the silicone pads with integrated earbuds). In addition to ID challenges, we also had to overcome UX and programming obstacles related to the companion app that guides the user through the creation of her/his hearing profile.

  • We began by measuring over 300 peoples ears in size and shape and by recording their Otoacoustic Emission. This required unique sound isolation as the recorded OAE signal is 10000x quieter than the frequency played into the ear. Our patented Inova architecture combines in-ear buds for clarity of melodic tones, and an over-ear cup that delivers haptic bass you can feel. This combination provides the passive isolation required to record such a subtle signal, and has been compared to the isolation of Active Noise Cancellation products.

  • The nuraphones redefines an industry that has remained largely unchanged for over a century. By using the OAE to create user' sound profiles, we have given older users with mild hearing damage the experience of listening through teenage ears again, and younger users no longer need to listen at damaging levels. The nuraphones poses the question "Did you know we all hear differently?" - This unique solution to personal sound makes consumers question how they lived with standard headphones, and as the word spreads, more and more people will make the transition to personalised sound.

  • Aside from perfect sound profiling, and Inova™ architecture, another issue we had to overcome was reducing heat build up around users ears. For this we used Tesla Valve technology created by Nikola Tesla in 1920. By moulding passive valves into the nuraphones' ear cup, the motion of the bass driver pulls in cool air from the bottom of the cup, and pushes warm air out of the top. This kind of cooling is another world first in wearable technology. The nuraphones' packaging explores nura brand notions of "adaption" & "personalisation" using contours that are used throughout the brand. Three dimensional waves cradle and protect the product inside and create an unboxing experience that reflects the uniqueness of the product. The use of an unprinted pack saves on material waste, and also creates a point of difference from competitor brands, made possible due to the online retail strategy. The pack is produced from Paperfoam which is made from potato starch making it 100% biodegradable