Nikki Kaufman was suffering from a pretty prevalent modern problem. Like many of us, the founder of consumer-designed product company Quirky was having trouble finding earphones that would sit securely in her ears.
Determined to locate a listening device that would lay cozily in her lugs without falling out, Kaufman concocted a plan. She headed down to the doctor’s office to get a silicon mould of her ears to manufacture made-to-order earpieces specifically for her. Three weeks and $2000 later, she decided this was neither an efficient, economical nor expedient way to get a personalised pair of pint-sized amplifiers.
This led her to found Normal – a trouble-free technique for the particularly pernickety and fervently fussy music fan to order tailor-made earphones.
All you have to do is take a photo of your right and left ear using the Normal app, available free of charge from the iTunes App or the Google Play stores. You send this data off to Normal HQ in New York City, where the team 3D print your pair and ship them back to you for $199. At its quickest, the whole process takes a mere 48 hours. Normal uses a Stratasys Fortus 250 MC printer to make key parts of its products, which includes the ABS soft touch coated ear form that holds them tightly in place.
Explaining the philosophy behind her new business, and the usefulness of 3D printing in its processes, Kaufman says:
What you may not realise is that your ears are quite unlike anyone else’s. Completely unique. Employing innovative technologies across 3D printing and mobile commerce, we’ve developed a product that is completely personalised for you.
Though the first batch of Normal Earphones won’t ship until the end of August, you can pre-order your pair from today. Kaufman also plans to launch a flagship store in Chelsea, New York next month.