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Week 13 Progress in Design

This week, Team Synergy made great strides in our final project and we now have a better focus for our next few steps. Despite our initial struggles with other project ideas, designing ergonomic headphone attachments has been a very successful and informative process. The focus of our project will center around the short waiting period for customers to get their Air Pod attachments. We hope to create three different sizes for our Air Pod attachments, small, medium, and large, allowing us to quickly print the design and deliver to the customer. We hope to print each design in fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Upon reflecting with my team, we have decided the best long-term business strategy is to create a website or app to order the prints ahead of time and pick it up from the lab. Thus far, we have created our own design and printed a fully functioning prototype. The first iteration of the making process has been completed and we are now moving on to the crucial processes of perfecting our model. Our first model functions, however, we noticed a few critical changes we could make to improve the design and performance of the Air Pod attachments. First, the base of the holder could be smaller to fit snuggly around the Air Pod. Second, we need to print out of a more bendable material for comfort and aesthetic appeal. Finally, we will lengthen the tail to fit better around the customer’s ear. Here are a few pictures of me wearing the designs and my team members holding them.



Our team entertained the idea of scanning someone’s head and printing a custom fit earphone attachment, however, we have decided against that idea due to technological limitations. Currently, the technology is not readily available to create accurate 3D models using existing consumer technology (However, an article I shared on Yellowdig shows how this is changing). It would take far too much time to render their head and then design the earphone around it. Our current plan features three different designs, small, medium, and large for all customers. We will use Team Synergy Member Ria’s ear to model the small, my ear to model the medium, and another BADM 395 student for the large. We believe that these three designs will help iPhone users of all shapes and sizes use their Air Pods when working out. Look for more next week from Team Synergy!

Week 12 – Prototyping and Planning

This week, I was stuck at home during class time due to a stomach bug. Despite this setback, I am much happier with the current position my team is in given the challenges we have faced. Our original idea of a solar-powered drink warmer was not feasible because the power generated from the solar panel would not be adequate. If we wanted to have adequate power, we would need to wire the circuit with a nine-volt battery. However, adding a battery to the project reduced the novelty of the project. Upon consulting with the experts at the UIUC FabLab, we decided to bring our project into a different direction. My groupmate Ria, from Team Synergy, had a great idea to solve a common problem. Currently, the Apple Air Pods rest on the lower inner ear and are connected via Bluetooth to the iPhone. However, when consumers try to use the Apple Air Pods while working out, running, or any other strenuous activity, the Air Pods are prone to falling out of the ear. To prevent this, our project aims to stabilize the Air Pods by printing an attachment to keep the Air Pods in the ears.


The design will feature an attachment clip to the base of the Air Pod. This will wrap around the Air Pod and secure the stabilizing mechanism. The stabilizing mechanism is a 3D printed tube that wraps around the outside of the ear. Although we were not having great success with 3D scanning someone’s head and isolating the ears, we were able to come up with a makeshift solution. We would like to make three different sizes of Air Pod holders, small, medium, and large. This will allow us to quickly make the Air Pod holders from a set of premade molds, rather than scanning someone’s head every time we want to print the holders. We visited the UIUC FabLab to talk to Clinton about our idea and he gave us a lot of great feedback. Clinton showed us how to make a spline, an arc made of multiple non-colinear points. Once we made a spline, we used the sweep feature to give depth to our arc. When the stabilizing mechanism design was finished, we attached it to our attachment clip to finish the design. We did not get a chance to print out our prototype, so we will be visiting the MakerLab on Monday to print out a beginning prototype. More to come from Team Synergy!