Hi, I’m Nick and I’m designing my own pair of custom hearing-enhancing wearables in my bedroom. Last time I went out in public wearing these prototypes and I talked to some strangers and I think the general feedback I got was they look kind of like earbuds and it’s a bit rude to be wearing them while I’m talking to people. So I think the design still needs some work.
And thanks to the hundreds of you commented on the last TikTok video sharing your ideas of how you would like them to look. Some of the ideas were really cool so keep them coming.
Gray and I were looking at some of these comments and we were thinking, how can we make these look less like earbuds and more like extended-wear wearables. So things like. Like jewellery, like watches, stuff like that. And I’ve got this pair of sunglasses that I really like, and I like that they are transparent. I like that you can kind of see some of the metal coming through as well. So inspired by these we’ve come up with a new prototype.
Now we’re going to do some slightly different user testing this time where I’m just going to wear these all weekend. I’m not really going to mention them unless someone asks and I think this way I’m going to get so much more natural feedback while I’m wearing them.
I spent a whole weekend out and about and cafes, shops, bars, parks. Being constantly around people. And what I was really aiming for was someone to say "what exactly are they?" Because that means they don’t instantly think they're earbuds or hearing aids. The challenge with this kind of testing though, is that the majority of people were far too polite to go up to a random stranger and say, “hey, what are you wearing?” So I was really looking out for people’s reactions when I spoke to them, whether their eyes kind of glanced to my ears or not.
I noticed a few people in the train looking over curiously, but any time I was talking to someone, they didn’t appear to obstruct the conversation in any way, which was great.
A friend invited me to a barbecue on a boat with around 15 people who I’d never met before. I turned up wearing these prototypes and only after a couple of hours, and a couple of drinks, some people politely asked the golden question, “Hey, do you mind me asking, what are they?" When I said that they're hearing aids, some people were like, “Oh really? I’ve never seen anything like that before”.
A few people thought that they could be some sort of hearing device. A couple of people thought that maybe they were some noise canceling devices of some sort like air plugs and a few said that they didn’t even notice them. But ultimately this design achieved the two goals which I set out to achieve. They didn’t look like hearing aids and they didn’t look like I was listening to music while I’m talking to people. Maybe some people were just being polite, but when I told them what they were, everyone said, “Wow, they look really nice.”
So this is really good. We’ve got a design that fits that doesn’t look like hearing aids or earbuds, that looks good and most important I felt completely comfortable wearing these in public, around people that I’ve never met before. And this is the whole reason why I started this project. So I’m really happy with where we are. I guess the next step is to put some electronics inside these now.
I have actually no idea how to do this. So I’m going to need some help...