Printable Electronics Make These Headphones Just 1mm Thick

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While an ordinary pair of headphones might consist of 50-something energy-intensive components from various manufacturing processes, this ultra-thin design uses printable electronics to cut that number down to an incredible 8. The ‘roll to roll’ process uses technology as the main material for the design, simplifying its composition and cutting out all unnecessary parts.

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Designer Maxime Loiseau explores the adaptability and flexibility of printed electronic circuits in place of wires, used in conjunction with a plastic welding process that joins together larger, simpler pieces rather than a bunch of small injection-molded components. That means the whole product can be made on a single production line.

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The wireless Bluetooth version is only a single millimeter thick, including the speakers, which rely on the vibration of a piezoelectric cell to produce sound that’s comparable to more conventional headphones. On the wired version, a single paper-thin cable hangs from one side, leaving the other free. The junction of the cable and the speaker is highlighted in a bright color to spotlight just how flat it is.

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“The project doesn’t change the way we will use headphones,” says Loiseau. “The purpose here is to offer a reflection about producing electronic devices in a smarter way. The more materials are advanced, the more they are paradoxically easy to work. Through one production process, we can then using less process, less material, energy and pieces. At the same time, I tried to use the possibilities of the process to create an aesthetic result from it, a more fair product, with no superfluous parts.”