True-wireless buds have sent ear infections spiking around the world, but a Samsung-backed startup may finally have a solution that can save you a trip to the emergency room. At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Linkface, a company spun out of Samsung’s startup accelerator program, C-Lab, showcased a wearable that can dehumidify and disinfect your ears.
Called DearBuds, these devices can easily be mistaken for traditional wireless earbuds. But they’re what Linkface calls an “ear-care device” that goes in your ears after you’re done listening to music on the earbuds of your choice.
When you wear earphones for too long, your ears suffocate as the airflow path is blocked. It prevents ventilation and shoots up the humidity levels, which is what ultimately fosters an environment for fungal and bacterial infection in your ears. Over time, it leads to itchy ear canals and even pain in some cases. It also leads to a jump in earwax — the nasty brown stuff you find on the tip of your earphones.
With a click of a button, Linkface’s DearBuds monitor the temperature and the moisture inside your ears, and based on what they discover, will automatically tune the humidity levels in your ears to the optimal levels so that they stay fresh and don’t become a petri dish for bacteria.
DearBuds work by releasing and circulating up to 3 liters of air per minute in your ears to discharge any excess humidity. A series of LED lights warm up the air and a set of fans helps effectively dry out any sweat and moisture in your ear canals. On top of that, a noise reduction filter makes sure the fans aren’t too loud. Linkface says, “DearBuds won’t be louder than a normal conversation you’ll have on an average day.”
The whole process takes less than three minutes, and once it’s done, you can go back to your usual earbuds. It’s a clever approach to a problem that’s only going to grow as more people work remotely. Linkface claims in its tests that DearBuds were effective for most earbuds, including Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro.
DearBuds will hit the market via crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo in late Q1 or early Q2 this year. Early bird pricing for bakers is set at $54, while the retail version will cost $89.
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