Thanks to 3D printing it has become relatively easy to manufacture personalized objects, such as personalized meals, personalized jewelry and even personalized mouthpieces to fight something like sleep apnoea. A new company called Normal used this “personalizing” principle to create something totally not normal: 3D printed, personalized earphones. We would certainly give them bonus points for their hilarious advertising video, but hey – there’s more to it than just a good video.
After reading something about it, we have to admit that Normal could really fit a hole in the market. Imagine a random advertisement of – let’s say – Apple to promote their earphones. Imagine a person jogging while listening to songs on his or her iPhone through Apple earphones. If you’re a frequent jogger just like me, you know this image we just pictured ourselves is not at all realistic, because these earphones simply are unable to stay where they need to be: in your ears.
This is how the Apple ad goes in real life: I once had to run without my ear-covering headphones, so I had to use my earphones, which fell out of my ears every ten seconds. It came down to running with my hands to my ears, which looked ridiculous, so I turned off the music. Running without rock-‘n-roll, instead of running with the devil – something like that.
Of course, of course: these are all just first world problems. That being said, what Normal does is very handy. They use 3D printing technology to produce earphones that are tailored to one’s individual ears, instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. Every ear is shaped differently, so earphones should be too. Users could use a mobile app, which was launched yesterday, and shoot images of their ears. The images will be used to create the personalized earphones.
Normal ships the earphones in just 48 hours and they cost 199 dollars. This may seem a little pricey, but take into account that before Normal such earphones used to cost as much as 2,000 dollars and took three weeks to produce. Shame on anyone who has ever spent 2,000 dollars on a pair of earphones. Really. Maybe you still think 199 dollars is too pricey, but the development is what this is all about: will all earphones become personalized goods in about ten years?
Normal definitely thinks so. The company has its headquarters in Manhattan and was founded by Nikki Kaufman (pictured above). She used to work for a company called Quirky, which sells a lot of 3D printed high-tech-ish solutions, such as a smart airconditioner or a triangle-shaped socket. There she learned a lot about 3D printing and came up with the idea to start a business in 3D printing herself. Now ‘one size fits none’ is her new motto and Normal it is. Below you can check out the company’s funny ad:
Image credits: Normal.