The Intuitive Headphones – Twist. Bend. Play

At Pilotfish we make quick, experiential prototypes to explore and understand the value of newly proposed user experiences in our ongoing conversations with our clients.

30th October 2015 - The Intuitive Headphones are a demonstration of how a new, smart material, the Light.Touch.Matter material (LTM), can enable a more intuitive way to interact with your music, aside from acting as a distinctive brand identifier.

At Pilotfish we make quick, experiential prototypes to explore and understand the value of newly proposed user experiences in our ongoing conversations with our clients. We often use these experiential prototypes to validate our ideas with the target user and collect valuable information on how to improve the experience and our proposal.

Proof of Concept 

The first proof of concept prototype was built in order to understand the possibilities and constraints of the Intuitive Headphones. How do we really experience a headset that would start playing music by simply putting it on your head? We were also interested in how the light feedback would be perceived by the users and the people around them.

Using bend sensors, LEDs and Arduino, we simulated the flexible Piezo Sensors and OLEDs that would be part of the LTM material. The POC helped us to verify that the proposal is valid and that end-users will intuitively control music by picking up the headphones or by twisting it.

Also, we learned that the user does not see the visual feedback on the headphones. The visual information shown on the headphones is most useful when acting as a warning light and to express the customer’s identity to other people, rather than to themselves.

Glimpse into the future 

To take a step closer towards the final design vision, a second prototype is being build, combining a smart LTM strip on top of headphones. By packaging Electro Luminescence strips (instead of LEDs) and other sensors into an autonomous strip assembled on the headphones, we can also understand more about the constraints related to the composition and production of the smart material.

More on our findings from this prototype will be explained in our next post.

LTM_Street

About Light.Touch.Matters 

Light.Touch.Matters is an EU funded research project in which designers and material researchers joined forces to develop a completely new generation of smart materials that can sense touch and respond with luminescence.

The base technologies are novel Piezo plastics and flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Being thin, flexible and formable, these ‘light touch materials’ promise to revolutionize product design by integrating luminescence and touch in such a way that eventually the product becomes the interface.

During the project, various technology demonstrators will be developed to show the potential of these novel interface technologies, principally within the domain of care and well-being, although opportunities for spin-off to other domains (e.g. automotive) will also be addressed.