Innovative technology for music lovers


(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 1 2019)

Anyone looking for the right pair of headphones is spoilt for choice nowadays: in-ear, on-ear or over-ear? With or without noise cancellation? More bass or a clearer sound? Not to mention other factors such as brand affinity, price, shape and colour. These decisions are set to become a bit more difficult in future, as the new headphones by nura guarantee an unprecedented and unique listening experience. What makes them so unique is the fact that they adapt individually to the user’s sound profile.

Nura, an Australian company founded in Melbourne in 2016, had the idea of developing smart headphones that create individual hearing profiles based on so-called otoacoustic emissions and self-learning technology which are able to adapt the sound output accordingly. The technology merely takes 60 seconds to create this hearing profile. In order to do this, the headphones play a series of frequencies and then measure the otoacoustic emissions that are played back. These emissions allow the technology to detect the reaction to various frequencies before subsequently calculating individual profiles. “A person’s hearing is just as individual as their face, fingerprint or voice. Trying to develop a perfect sound system without taking into account the listener’s hearing would therefore be like trying to make glasses without asking ‘who is going to be wearing them?’ according to Dragan Petrović, nura’s CEO. The launch was preceded by a Kickstarter campaign, which was Australia’s biggest campaign so far with 1.8 million US dollars.

The individual sound profile is subsequently used in order to adapt the music to the listener. Three separate profiles can be stored so that the headphones can be shared with other users. The accompanying iOS and Android app also uses visualisation through which it depicts the individual hearing profiles. The setup of the headphones also helps individually adjust the sound output. It features a combination of in-ear and over-ear headphones in order to play the melodic sounds through the in-ear part, on the one hand, while the deeper sounds are played through the over-ear part, allowing the bass sound to be delivered to the skin. The headphones isolate exterior noise with this dual system while simultaneously ensuring that no sound is leaked. The noise cancelling level can be adjusted freely.

The developers have placed particular emphasis on comfort. The headphones are light, while the music-driven cooling system provides comfort even after hours of listening to music. The headphones are, of course, wireless and automatically switch off when they are taken off in order to preserve the battery. The nuraphone headphones are available for 399 euros and anyone not satisfied with them after a 30-day test period can have the purchase price refunded.

Picture credit © nuraphone

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