The Silence of the Future

Image result for galaxy buds
@9to5google

We’ve all seen the AirPods. Everywhere. The little white sticks that awkwardly poke out of people’s ears. My roommate has a pair – and she owns an Android. They’ve taken over the market in one fell swoop, and as you can maybe tell by my tone of voice, I’m slightly displeased about it.

I’ve loved Apple for years, but what irks me most about this trend, is that the design hasn’t really changed – if at all (I’ll admit I haven’t done a lot of research on them) – from their original headphones. It seems as if they chopped off the chords, packaged them in a fancy Tic Tac box, added another zero to the price tag, and called it a day. And everyone went freaking nuts.

I’ve tried them in person (thanks roomie), and I don’t hate them. But quite honestly, I’ll stick to my normal buds, or my big noise-canceling headphones. Which takes me to my topic of the day: what should headphones do when they’re not playing music?

Insofar, headphones have been meant for mainly one thing: music. As somewhat of a purist, I’d argue that maybe that’s all we should be looking for in these products. But wait…there’s more! I’ve seen an increase in the amount of headphones that now have specific purposes. My sister received a set of ear pods as a gift last year. Which, by the way, has there been an official ruling of what to call wireless headphones yet? “AirPods” are strictly Apple, “ear buds” have been around for years so it still connotes wires/cords, and just “pods” sounds strangely biological and invasive.

I’ll be calling them “ear pods” for the remainder of this post, even though I don’t enjoy that either. Regardless, these things she had received, were only meant to play different white noise sounds. I forget the brand, but the premise behind their product was to create a wireless headphone that would put you to sleep – blocking out your immediate surroundings – and gently wake you up. The app that came with it gave you noise options to choose from: waterfalls, crickets, brown noise, white noise, rain, wind, etc. And then it gave you alarm options.

I tried these out – mid airplane flight was probably not the best scenario – and found myself indifferent. Now, if I lived in an extremely busy city with sirens and barking dogs and yelling neighbors, maybe I could see myself wanting to block all of that and fall asleep with these plastic blobs in my ears. I’m still not convinced there’s enough of a reason, or genuine personal curiosity, for me to go out and buy a pair right now.

But, I will say, there is definitely a market for companies to improve upon the horrendous (merely personal opinion) white ear sticks. Take Galaxy for example:

Hopefully you watched the video, because this post is already dragging on, and I won’t do it justice. It’s an interesting idea – having a music-playing product become something that only creates silence. The visuals are great, the technology is cool, and maybe down the line, I’ll understand what the hype is, and pick a pair of blobs up for myself. Until then, I’ll stick to my corded headphones like a 2000s peasant.

Treasured Waste

@gomi.design

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I’ve previously posted about garbage becoming art, and how transformative the hands of an artist can be. Although there is a special and significant role of fine art in this world, some may argue that art – just for art’s sake – is a form of consumption that cannot necessarily be repurposed. Art pieces are meant to prosper, but what comes of it when the life cycle is over? Unfortunately it becomes trash, just like any other product.

Insert a design company called Gomi. They’re currently still on Kickstarter (check it out here), but they are selling portable speakers made out of 100% recycled plastic. Not only do they look mesmerizing, but they are all handcrafted – every single piece is completely unique. In this day and age, it’s inevitable that we all have clothing, accessories, tech gadgets, and more, that are all mass produced. As someone who despises matching other people, I avidly seek out thrift stores and original-esq pieces that are curated to my lifestyle. So, me, being someone who clearly has individuality issues, this company speaks to me in many ways.

Not only is their philosophy of sustainability fantastically refreshing, the process of their work really speaks to their passion and craft. Exhibit A: they hand collect all of the flexible plastic (plastic bags being one of the worst cases of non-recyclability today) around their city in Brighton, UK; once collected, they melt it down (about 100 bags per speaker) and press it in their molds; each piece is then signed by the artist that creates it, adding, yet again to the uniqueness factor.

I really hope this company succeeds in their fundraising goal. It’d be amazing to see this product shake up the art and design industry!