Sylvie Barak created a custom pair of earmuff headphones to keep her ears warm while she listens to her music. She bought a pair of cheap headphones and hacked into them to cut out the speaker. Once the speakers were out, the speaker wires were soldered to the plug connections and the jack. She sewed the speaker into a faux fur muff, and a PCB board was added for support. The speaker muff was attached to a headband wrapped in fabric to complete her funky stereo earmuffs. Sylvie says the headphones can be customized in many ways and is even considering incorporating them into a hoodie.
I think the Ear Muff Headphones are Gadget Freak worthy because of the construction build process Sylvie outlined in article. Also, gadgets are cool devices individuals create to solve problems. The ear muffs allow warmth in winter season while the headphones allow listening to your favorite music. This product has a wearable electronics theme which is Gadget Freak content!
Tim, I agree. The ear muff headphones concept is pretty cool. The next product evolution would be incorporating a radio with internet capability so you can listen to Pandora during those cold winter months!
Good point. The process makes it Gadget Freak worthy. But, the concept has been done before--commercially and DIY. From my reading, Gadget Freak items have that "Why doesn't that exist yet" quality to them. There are a lot of better moustraps here.
I think this is a cute gadget, especially for young women, but why do you need to hack up a headset? Why not add the faux fur and the decorative (headband) ribbon to an existing, unmodified headset? I think it would be more comfortable than having your ears pressed up against the perfboard disks (what she calls PCB boards). Also, no soldering would be required. Also, while rewiring the headset, one must maintain the polarity of the speakers, or the sound will be messed up.
That was my point...although not the "especially for young women" part.
I've seen teens (both genders) customize their headsets over the years. It's really popular at certain DJ concerts. The headsets are still functional and unique. I first saw the earmuff variation in Tokyo a few years ago. It gets very cold in the winter.
mrdon has a good point that the construction build porcess makes it freak worthy.
PCB boards is a misnomer. They are not printed circuit boards. There are no electronics involved. The purpose of the perfboard disks is to hold the speakers in place, while letting the sound to pass through the tiny holes, where components would normally be mounted.
That's a very nice project for someone who wants to DIY...
I hacked up an old headset way back around 1970. The speakers were then mounted in a piece of medium hard foam which was then in turn wedged inside the fluff of my pillow. The rest of the family stopped telling me to turn down/off my music at night after that.
If I had been able to toss and turn with the headphones on I would have never had the personal satisfaction of that little project.
I also hacked the phonograph so that it would play the stack of LPs as usual but the last one would keep repeating until I shut it off. Good reason to save my fav for last...
It's "Mr." Spock, if you are making a reference to the Star Trek character, not "Dr." Spock. Dr. Spock was a pediatrician who gave child-care advice.
As one of your other readers pointed out, furry ear-muff headsets are not a new idea. It would be easier to simply cover a pair of headphones, rather than disassemble them and modify them. Is it too easy?
nice idea.. looks decent too (especially like the idea of a hoodie mod)
did similar headphone hacking up in the 1980's while in the Army. mounted the speakers in my kevlar, ran the cord under my web gear and put my Walkman in my ammo pouch (other pouch held spare batteries/casettes)..helped keep me awake on late night guard duty. Also had the added benifet of being almost invisible to any roving officers. :)
Ordinarily I am not critical of any of these gadgets, but this appears to be way more work than required to achieve the same effect. What would be great is headphone that turn themselves of when someone wants to talk to the wearer. I do not know when it became the rule that you had to have some noise in one's ears 24/7. Okay I usually have the radio or pandora playing when I work, but I am in an office by myself and do turn them off when people come in.
Come up with head phone that shock the youthful wearer when they use them to igmore parents and you got a winner.
I like that idea....have a mic that picks up voices and such and mutes the volume. It would come in handy when the phone rings! Well, since I don't listen to headphones much...it would be nice to plug in the sound to a device and when the phone rings it mutes it. Just a thought for the gadget guys.
I agree, this is really cool and the hoodie idea is a real keeper. I have an EE friend working for TVA who spends a great deal of time inspecting power stations. He would really appreciate this concept--warmth plus "tunes". Great post.
Eleven years ago one of those rare, brilliant moments emerged from the crack staff of Design News: Let’s put the tinkerers among our audience community to work in designing and building some truly wacky devices. And Gadget Freak was born.
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