A Sound Change: Gadget Turns Ear Buds into Headphones

The “Ear Adapter” is a creation of Paris-based designer JC Karich. The 3D printed device is meant to give you the best of both worlds, if your worlds consist of ear buds and headphones. Maybe you’ve splashed out a lot of money on a pair of high-quality ear buds and love the way they sound, but hate the way they feel in your ears. Or maybe you’re worried that shoving little speakers into your ear canals will damage your hearing.

Karich’s invention lets you put your favorite pair of ear buds into a sort of headphone framework. The newly-minted headphones are more comfortable than ear buds and let you remain aware of your surroundings while listening to music in a way that ear buds, which totally block the ear canal, do not.

The Ear Adapter is still in development, with Karich trying out different types of manufacturing methods before he offers a commercial version. Anyone with a 3D printer can try it out now with this free download from Thingiverse.

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See more in Audio & TV or under Gadgets. May, 2012.