These 3D-printed wireless earphones are tailored to your ears and your lifestyle

ownphones 3d printed wireless earphones 1 edit
Earlier this month we learned about a project called Normal that lets customers create custom in-ear headphones from anywhere via 3D-printing technology. Now comes a slightly more ambitious endeavor from San Diego-based OwnPhones. The company’s own in-ear ‘phones are not only 3D-printed shells, they are wireless with Bluetooth 4.0 technology, extremely customizable aesthetics-wise, and have some pretty damn cool features. The undertaking is currently gathering funding via a Kickstarter campaign.

A potential customer starts by using the OwnPhones mobile app to upload a short video of their ears, which is then converted to 3D data by OwnPhones’ servers. The user then chooses from a selection of styles, materials, and colors to create their custom pair of earphones. But the app’s usefulness doesn’t end there.

There’s still some customization to be done even after you’ve received your custom-fit cans in the mail. The device’s “SoundScaping” feature is designed to lower environmental noises like traffic or the hubbub of a crowded restaurant, but just which sounds are filtered is up to you. OwnPhones claims users can use the app to let through certain requested sounds: your alarm clock’s signature buzz, your friend’s voice, a car horn (when you’re biking to work), etc. The company refers to these as Real World Notifications that “let you disappear into your music while letting you also pay attention to what’s going on around you.” The app is a huge part of the Ownphones design, and without on board controls, essentially functions as the central control panel for the buds.

Another useful feature is the “OwnStatus,” a function that lets the user set their earphones to glow one of three colors to broadcast their current status while in the workplace, at the library, or on the bus. A red light signifies “Leave me alone,” yellow says “I’m busy, but you can interrupt if it’s important,” and green means “Let’s chat!” Of course, that all depends upon the outside world knowing your secret headphone code. Maybe hand out a leaflet to your office mates?

As for audio specs, the OwnPhones boast a claimed 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, aptX for CD quality sound transmission from compatible devices, and a max volume level of 100.5dBs. The battery life is estimated at 4-5 hours, and the earphones charge via Micro USB in 1.5 hours.

While there are a lot of questions about the OwnPhones unanswered by the Kickstarter page, one potential red flag we noticed is the low price-point; shoppers can pay an Early Bird price of just $150 to secure a pair for delivery next spring. That seems a bit low for a fully wireless pair of earphones (most wireless buds are connected with a tether for stereo audio), 3D printed or otherwise.

However, the various pledge options are not all for the same pair of ‘phones, accessories, and features. For $150 you’ll get the “Ownphones Fit,” which doesn’t appear to come with any of the aforementioned filtering features, just the customized fit. $175 will let you modify the appearance, and the $200-plus price-point is where you’ll start to see the features that really make OwnPhones sing. That actually sounds more in line with a quality device that boasts these kind of ambitious features, and the top-tier model will cost $300 once the Early Birds are gone, with an expected $400 MSRP once they hit the open market.

Plenty of people seem to have faith that OwnPhones can deliver on their promises, however. At the time of publication, the earphones have reached $175,000 of their $250,000, with 30 days left to go. If you have faith, you can pledge your donation now.

Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Gaming

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can browse profiles, trophies, and other content directly on your mobile device.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Home Theater

An acclaimed Apple analyst says the new AirPods are coming in 2019

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Mobile

You may soon be able to listen to your own songs on Spotify’s Android app

If you love Spotify's streaming, but also have a large collection of niche music, then it can be hard to marry your two passions. Thankfully, Spotify appears to be testing the ability to import local songs to its Android app.
Computing

Block out the sun and drown out the haters with Bose’s new AR sunglasses

Bose has announced its quirkiest listening device yet, a pair of headphone-integrated sunglasses that allow you to meander the brightest places with your favorite tunes in tow. Called the Frames, the glasses will sport 3.5 hours of battery.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Home Theater

Spotify Wrapped reveals rad facts about your musical tastes and habits

The website may be a bit tough to find at first, but Spotify Wrapped tells you awesome facts about your year in listening. From how many minutes you spent jamming out to your top artists, and beyond, there's a lot to dig into.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Music

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Music

The best new music this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, Eddie Palmieri, and Jacob Collier.