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Video Making Earbuds That Fit (Video) 104

Decibullz creator Kyle Kirkpatrick talks as fast as an old-time carnival barker and is as enthusiastic about his product as Dr. Ironbeard was about his potions. A lot of people are probably satisfied with $10 earbuds, but it's kind of a cool (more accurately a warm) idea to have earbuds you can heat in your microwave, then shape and reshape as often as you like to fit perfectly in your ears.They're just one of many interesting items on display this year at CES (annoying sound if you click the "CES" link).

Timothy Lord: So Kyle, what are we looking at here?

Kyle Kirkpatrick: Well, this is Decibullz. Decibullz are custom molded earphones. You mold them at home. It only takes about five to ten minutes. Basically, it comes with a whole kit. You get an earphone, your Decibullz custom molds as well as an earphone case and everything else you need to mold them basically.

Timothy: Okay. So what distinguishes this from your typical earbuds in the market?

Kyle: Well, really it is the customized fit that we have going for us that is way different than anything else on the market. These are molded directly to your ears by you. A lot of the other competitors out there will also have something that is a one-time mold. Ours can be remolded as many times as possible. If you don’t like the fit, you want to tweak it a little bit, you say okay, they are not quite what I want, I want them in a little bit deeper, you remold them, you get them exactly the way you want them, and it is infinite. You can remold them as many times as you want.

Timothy: What makes that possible?

Kyle: It is basically our specialized material. We have a thermoplastic that we can color pretty much in any color. We have black, glow in the dark. You name it, we can make it. And it is a hard thermoplastic. It is not like silicone, it is not like anything soft; because actually we find that it is more comfortable in the ear, when it is a harder plastic. It is also easy to clean and easy to work with.

Timothy: So you are an inventor by trade?

Kyle: I am actually a professional gymnastics coach, but I invented these out of necessity. I really needed something that didn’t fall out when I was, you know, being crazy or doing the stuff I normally do in everyday situation. So I hit the books hard, did some research, tried I mean hundreds of different prototypes, hundreds of different materials, everything from silicone to you name it. I had some material from sawdust built in there that didn’t work out too well, but I stumbled upon this, found out that it really worked and people really liked it.

Timothy: But what was the process like? Did you hire materials engineers or how did you come to your material?

Kyle: Research. Mainly research. I found some materials that were okay and then basically dug in and rewired the chemistry a little bit actually to make this blend that worked for this application. And, like I said, it was a lot of trial and error.

Timothy: How many cycles can you microwave these and remold them?

Kyle: We have yet to find the limit. As far as we know, it is infinite. If the molds get too far bent out of shape, you can actually separate the cone piece.

Timothy: I didn’t know that.

Kyle: And we have instructions on our website how to start all the way over. So you can basically start over something very similar to this shape. So if it is way too bent out of shape, you separate it, throw it back in the microwave, and you can start all over.

Timothy: And if I can zoom in a little bit. Can you tell us about the more detailed construction of this?

Kyle: The construction? It is a two-piece construction. We have a soft, this is the soft cone piece, so it is easier to insert in the ear, it doesn’t hurt, and this is the hard thermoplastic casing basically around it.

Timothy: So what goes into the microwave?

Kyle: Just this piece. You mold them one at a time. Basically in about half cup of water, you drop it in, then you heat it up for about 2 to 3 minutes; that is all it takes.

Timothy: Cool. All right. Anything else I should be asking you about it?

Kyle: They sound really good. It is hard to tell people over anything or over this type of media, but if you try them, we really spent a lot of time. We didn’t deal with a cheap headphone, and we also designed the headphone so it sounds better with our molding piece. But they sound really nice; you get a full rich experience.

Timothy: How well do they block outside sounds?

Kyle: Very well. You know, I am actually not allowed to use them in the house because my wife can’t communicate with me. She yells at me across the room, I am pretty ignorant to all of that.

Timothy: Being a hard plastic, are they essentially waterproof?

Kyle: The molds themselves are waterproof, yes, and the headphones we have done everything we can to make them sweat resistant, but the headphones themselves are not waterproof.

Timothy: Okay. These aren’t for swimming with?

Kyle: They are not swimming yet.

Timothy: Okay.

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Making Earbuds That Fit (Video)

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  • by Zaatxe ( 939368 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @12:44PM (#42558897)
    Tinnitus has a lot of causes. I had my ears tested for the constant hiss I hear in my left ear. After having my ears tested, we discarded the usual suspects (like a tumor in the auditory nerve or lesions in the internal ear), the doctor said that there are over 200 possible causes for tinnitus. The most common apart the ones I already told are: insuline peaks (caused by not eating for too long and then eating a lot of carbs), and teeth grinding. In my case is a combination of these two last ones. Besides grinding teeth while sleeping, I feel the urge of being biting something all the time (stress-related). When you bite with too much strenght, you press the auditory nerve, causing the hiss.

    Earbuds are not always your enemies.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.