Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit
music through clear plastic band

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Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across acrylic glass band

ECAL student Renaud Defrancesco has designed a transparent acrylic glass headband that passes music vibrations across its surface to the ears.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

"It's a new way to listen to music," Renaud Defrancesco told Dezeen. "You are bathed in music without being isolated like with normal headphones, which can be dangerous because you don't hear what's around you."

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

His Vibso headphones play tracks via Bluetooth and create sound using a vibrating electromagnet hidden in the top of the headband, beneath an opaque plastic cover. Similar to how a speaker works, the electromagnet moves a connecting element that in turn causes a membrane to pulsate.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

However, instead of a black round plastic layer used in traditional speakers, this surface is formed from two-millimetre-thick transparent acrylic glass. "The membrane is in acrylic glass because it transmits the sound well, has a good flexibility and it's easy to thermoform," explained Defrancesco.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

The vibrations spread across the curved membrane down to the sections that cover the ears, where they are heard as music without the user feeling the tiny movements. "The shape of the headphones directs the sound inward, so a person close by will not hear the music," said Defrancesco.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

Comparing his design to large padded noise-cancelling headphones, Defrancesco's list of advantages includes being able to share music with others if they touch their ear to the other side of the headband and not causing sides of the head to overheat.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

The band can also be covered in padded fabric for added comfort. Defrancesco showed the project at the Ecole Cantonale d'art de Lausanne's Half-Time exhibition earlier this month.

Headphones by Renaud Defrancesco transmit music across plexiglass band

  • Romain_M

    How do you adjust it? Does it work in stereo?

    While I’m not on board with the overall form factor and I’m not sure we should ask users to balance a heavy magnet on top of their heads, this idea is interesting nonetheless.

    Could the principle be applied to safety helmets for communication purposes? Perhaps for motorcycle gear where the bulk of the magnet would be better integrated to the whole and when sound restitution isn’t as much a key issue ?

    I also wonder whether this could be used for underwater communication since chances of waterproofing are higher.

  • smack

    My ears don’t look good enough to merit being put on display, unfortunately, but this is pretty cool.

  • iag

    Because everyone hates not seeing peoples ears when listening to music, right? Right?