Custom-Fit Affordable Earphones to be 3D Printed on the Form3B
Sennheiser’s AMBEO division have partnered with Formlabs to develop affordable earphones, that customers can personalize according to their own ear shape. These custom fit earphones, currently still in the prototype stage of development, will offer an immersive sound experience. Ears are unique to the individual, to the point where they could even be as useful identifiers as fingerprints. Until now, the audiology industry has taken a one-size fits all approach. Thanks to the mass customization offered by 3D printing, Formlabs is on track to change that, with their Form3B printer.
“Our technology collaboration with Sennheiser seeks to change the way customers interact with the brands they love by enabling a more customized, user-centric approach to product development,” said Iain McLeod, Director of Audio at Formlabs. “Formlabs’ deep industry knowledge and broad expertise in developing scalable solutions enable us to deliver tangible innovations to our customers. In this case, we are working with Sennheiser’s AMBEO team to deliver a uniquely accessible, custom fit experience.”
Sennheiser’s AMBEO division will use Formlabs’ Form 3B printers to fabricate the ear tips of the earphones. The Form 3B is compatible with a wide range of materials, including BioMed clear resin, a biocompatible material that has previously been used for dental applications, but is also well suited for hearing aids, ear protection, and consumer audio.
Using their smartphones, customers will take a scan of their ears and send them to the company, which will then use the scans to fabricate the custom fit earphones. The printers and their accompanying processes will be automated and used in conjunction with Formlabs’ integrated digital workflow. The Form 3B uses Low Force Stereolithography (LFS), a derivative of classic stereolithography (SLA) designed to reduce force exerted on the part during printing processes. Thanks to this technology, the Form 3B is able to replicate the exact geometry of a human ear, offering accuracies as low as 0.25 mm. It will also be possible to personalize color and engraved initials of the earphones.
Véronique Larcher, Director of AMBEO Immersive Audio at Sennheiser commented: “We are very excited about the concept of custom fit to deliver a custom experience to further enhance immersive listening. Formlabs shares Sennheiser’s drive for innovation – and improving the customer experience through this prototype is a testament to that mindset.” You can read the full press release HERE.
*All photos courtesy of Formlabs
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