Canned Audio

Vie Shair Headphones with 3D Printed Sonic Cages

Vie Shair

Do headphones hurt your ears and cut you off from the outside world? Kickstarter Vie Shair uses 3D printing and Yamaha audio to fight back.

A new campaign on Kickstarter wants to re-invent the headphone. The Vie Shair includes a 3D printed “cage” from Stratasys that allows the cans to rest above the ear without ever touching it.

The idea comes from former Jazz drummer and Warner Music executive Yazz Imamura, whose dream is to make a more comfortable headphone. While the Vie Shair looks a bit strange at first, they pledge to offer a unique “pain-free social headphone” experience… which actually makes a lot of sense.

Another selling point is that the Vie Shair headphones will feature audio technology from Japanese audio maker Yamaha. With Yamaha’s high-quality MACH-5 audio module, users can change the “character” of their sound, based on their personal preferences.

Interesting, weird, possibly practical headphones Image: Vie Shair
Interesting, weird, possibly practical headphones Image: Vie Shair

Design Features of the Vie Shair

The headphones focus on comfort using an “open air” system. For those who work in the music industry or spend a lot of time listening to music, headphones can cause real pain. Ordinary headphones can press down on the ears, applying pressure and causing discomfort over time.

The Vie Shair, on the other hand, is designed to sit comfortably around the ear, without touching it, and distribute most of the weight to the headband.

The air frame system simply means that, because the headphone is not pressing against the ear, outside sounds are not completely blocked out. Social headphones would allow you to switch back and forth between outside world and music in a snap. Runners, gamers, ordinary employees could all hear their surroundings while having headphones on.

Wait — we know, this sounds like a bad idea. You don’t want the whole world to hear when you’re grooving along to Abba. To remedy this, Vie Shair has also designed a set of directional flat speakers, directing the sound to your ears, and (supposedly) maintaining your guilty secret.

At least one problem that simply can’t be evaluated without a proper test run is whether they really are more comfortable. Even if they spare the ear, anyone who has ever worn headbands know that things strapped to your head hurt.

Nonetheless, Makerbot and Stratasys 3D printers allowed for rapid prototyping, allowing the team to test and check each part before moving forward. If the Vie Shair headphones do succeed, there won’t just be happy music listeners, but another creative role for 3D printing in the field of production.