SEARCHING FOR A MORE COMPACT WAY OF FOLDING HEADPHONES.
Large style headphones have over recent years seen an increase in popularity over earbuds, but unlike earbuds they present limited portability. The aim of this project is to diminish this problem by making it possible to fold headphones more compactly in an easy manner.
The ideation process started with the basic notion that the head strap connecting the speakers only needed to bend one way, an aspect that upon first glance seemed underutilized. By making it collapsable in one direction the hope was to achieve greater foldability for large-style headphones.
The Armadillo Design
Named after the animal, the Armadillo design is the final output of the development process.
The head strap of the headphones consists of a serie of links that are connected in such a way that the structure can bend inwards while not bending outwards, which makes a new more compact way of folding possible.
Bending the structure inwards makes the head strap wrap around the ear-cups and keep the folded state by joining the magnets on the sides of each earcup.
Less Wasted Space
A market study that tested the foldability of different headphones identified the AKG k618 dj headphones to be the most compact ones. A comparison in wasted space between those headphones and the Armadillo Headphones can be seen above.
The links of the head strap are connected to each other by a metal wire that goes around each link creating the rotational axises for the following link.
This method of attaching the links to each other allows for easy fastening of soft cushions to the headstrap. By having the leather that wraps around the padding-material go up on both sides of the link it is possible to fixate the whole cushion by simply tightening the metal wire over the leather flaps.
This makes the need for glue minimal and makes it possible to secure the pads without impeding the movement of the mechanism.
The final design improves not only upon the portability of over-the-ear headphones but also their durability as the stress in the headband will be much smaller in a folded state than in an unfolded state.
This project was later turned into a 3D printable version. You can find more information here.