Bone Conduction "Bionic Ear"

This is an early prototype "v0.01a" design for a discrete bone conduction headphone that can be attached using a subdermal magnet. I used a Cynaps tester kit and some LEGO pieces to cobble together an enclosed device, that connects via USB and 3.5mm and works like a charm. Obviously there is a ton of unused space, but I'm going to order a Cynaps Bluetooth model for the next iteration and I have a feeling this may actually not be big ENOUGH.

The idea to build this came from looking for a decent bone conduction headset to use with my iPhone, only to find that there really aren't any. There are "sport" headphones that use bone conduction, but they're all wraparound and kinda suck. There are bluetooth headsets galore, but they all stick inside the ear and interfere with ambient sound. So, I wanted a device that left my natural ears unobstructed, and allowed me to select audio input to pump through my skull. In addition, folks here have been exploring implanted audio devices, and I wanted to approach it from a different angle - leave the audio hardware external so it can easily be repaired and upgraded, and just implant an attachment point for a hybrid device. This way, your bionics don't obsolesce and a much greater degree of customization becomes possible, since you are really just using a magnetic implant (which has become somewhat commonplace among grinders) to hold a device of your choosing.

This version is obviously kind of huge and ugly, but I'm going to refine the design and tryt to make it into something that might be desirable to other members here, and then I'm going to do a "how-to" writeup for anyone else that wants to try it.



  • Love heow it is going out!!
  • edited July 2014
    Well, the bluetooth version is actually much more compact than I expected based on the images on their website. This unit is about 1x1.5x2", and has a battery, the board, three pushbutton controls, one transducer, and a microphone. Pairs over bluetooth and works like a charm.

    I'm thinking maybe a good approach to an enclosure is to just use a soft fabric "sleeve" of some sort, so it's comfy and the controls are usable through the sleeve, and have a close-fitting pocket on the inside so the electronics slip in and are held in position and can be easily moved from one sleeve to another. That way, as with any article of clothing, people can tailor it to their own tastes.
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