Graduate displays 2015: these headphones by Royal School of Art graduate Gemma Roper clip to a cycling helmet and perform music by way of the wearer’s cheekbones so they are nevertheless in a position to pay attention out for automobiles (+ movie).
Roper, who studied on the RCA’s Design Items course, produced the Secure+Sound headphones right after noticing a huge variety of cyclists sporting earphones although travelling on London’s busy roads.
“Eliminating your sense of hearing puts you and other folks about you at tremendous threat,” she stated. “However I can totally comprehend the desire to move to music.”
Her remedy was to design and style a pair of headphones that transmit vibrations by way of the wearer’s cheekbones to the inner ear, which adds a layer of sound rather than blocking out other noises.
“I would compare it to being in a room exactly where music is enjoying via a speaker,” said Roper.
This frees up the eardrum to select up sounds from approaching or passing cars, as nicely as other likely obstacles – operating in the exact same way as headsets created to aid blind individuals navigate cities.
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“The volume of sound when you’re cycling is not loud ample to drown out the external noise external noise will get precedence, which is pivotal,” Roper mentioned.
Two bone-conduction transducers, which convert electrical power into vibrations, are each and every positioned beneath a neoprene pad that is porous sufficient to transfer the sound. These modules attach to the straps of cycling helmets with silicone clasps modelled on removable bike lights, and are positioned to sit on the wearer’s cheekbone.
“Bone-conduction headphones previously exist but they are targeted at a tech market and are pretty unattractive in comparison with other headphones that are often noticed as a status symbol,” Roper said.
At first created as a prototype for her own use, Roper designed the model by taking apart and rewiring present pairs of bone-conducting headphones with “extremely tiny aesthetic appeal”.
Her aim was to generate a set that have been both stylish and secure for cyclists, and that could also be employed as a more standard above-ear design and style after the wearer has dismounted their bike.
“There seemed to be an opportunity to mix the two and design a pair that was ideal for these two environments,” said Roper.
The modules can be popped into aluminium instances, using the silicone straps to attach them to a headband and enable them to be adjusted up and down.
Despite the fact that adequate volume is presented by means of bone conduction, Roper admitted that the sound high quality of the headphones when worn more than the ears even now requirements additional growth.
“I would like to function with an audio engineer to refine the sort of speaker membrane that would resonate sound from the bone conductor,” she stated. “I consider that with greater high quality elements the sound could be improved dramatically.”
Roper’s ambition to develop each style- and security-oriented cycling accessories is a sentiment shared with other designers, who have produced reflective materials, higher-vis garments and waterproof attire – all aimed at urban cyclists.
“Merchandise concerned with bettering safety usually compromise on their aesthetic,” explained Roper, “but it seems to me that if you want people to adopt some thing that will improve their security it wants to be aesthetically pleasing and desirable, otherwise they won’t want to use it.”
The headphones had been presented at this year’s Show RCA graduate exhibition in London, which took spot from 25 June to five July 2015, along with projects that included a personal tattoo machine and a staircase that straps to tree trunks.