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GN Otometrics A/S Licenses 3D Ear Scanning Technology for Hearing Aids

United Sciences has granted GN Otometrics A/S global license rights to develop, manufacture, distribute, and sell United Sciences’ 3D ear scanning technology under the brand name Otoscan exclusively for use by audiology/hearing care professionals for the custom fitting of hearing aids.  To learn more about GN Otometrics visit www.otometrics.com or www.earscanning.com

The Aware – Kickstart the hearable revolution

World’s first custom-fit headphone with brain & biometric sensing. Bluetooth. Noise cancelling. Activity & sleep tracker. 3D printed.

About this project

Every wearable should be custom. The human ear is the best place to make a custom product fit. The anatomy of the ear is like a unique keyhole and the shape of the ear enables a custom headphone to lock firmly into place. We have developed the only technology in the world that can measure the unique geometry of your ear, which we use to create a perfectly fitting headphone. The optimized fit also maximizes the performance of biosensors and enables us to obtain a significant amount of reliable biometric data, including discrete signals such as brain waves. We can help you continuously and unobtrusively capture brainwave and biometric data through a custom headphone, all while playing, working, sleeping, or listening to your music.

The Aware is a custom-fit Bluetooth headphone with embedded biometric sensors that reliably measure data such as brainwaves (alpha, beta, and delta), heart rate, steps, distance traveled, and calories burned, among other information, all accessible through your phone. The Aware hearable can track brain waves through EEG and provide real-time feedback about focus, stress, sleep patterns, and relaxation. This enhanced awareness may help users increase focus, lower stress levels, understand their sleep patterns, and help guide them to be more mindful.

Ears are like snowflakes – every one is different. The eFit 3D scanner is the only scanner in the world that precisely captures these unique differences with a ring laser that obtains an accuracy of less than 1/10th a millimeter. Because of the perfect fit, these custom biosensors are able to achieve complete, consistent contact with the surface of the ear, enabling us to reliably capture biometric and brain wave data.

Hardware  

  • Audio SoC with Bluetooth 4.1, aptX, and 24-bit high resolution audio support with a 120 MHz DSP
  • 4 channel 24-bit biopotential analog front end (TI ADS1294)
  • 16 GB internal storage for biosignal logging and music
  • 3.7V 220 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Glossy black 3D-printed (UV DLP) acrylic
  • Wired auxiliary audio support

Sensors & Transducers

  • 9-axis IMU: an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass with integrated digital motion processor
  • 6 low impedance biopotential electrodes
  • Red/infrared/green high sensitivity pulse ox sensor
  • Multiple ambient digital microphones per side
  • In-ear bone conduction digital microphone per side
  • Wideband high fidelity acoustic transducer

United Sciences will be at locations worldwide to scan our backers: 4 continents, 24 countries, and 118 cities.  Find your city in the map above. Don’t see your city on the map? Pledge $15 to vote to add your city to the scanning tour. We’ll announce new cities added on our updates page throughout our campaign.

“The Aware hearable will not only connect you to your music and phone, it will also connect you to your mind and body in ways that have not been possible in a consumer product ever before,” says Sam Kellett, CEO and Co-founder of United Sciences. “The ability to reliably and unobtrusively capture biometric and brainwave data opens up limitless possibilities and game-changing applications that will improve the quality of life.”

How did it all start? Karol Hatzilias was running a 3D scanning company when he was awarded a grant by the United States Navy to develop a 3D scanning technology that would improve hearing protection. As a result of that he invented a way to scan small holes with a ring laser and translate that scan into a 3D model in real time. That led to the development of the eFit 3D ear scanner, which can scan the ear in under a minute. We can now take the file from that scan, and 3D print custom headphones that fit your ear perfectly. Next we install custom sensors that we shape to precisely fit the unique measurements and surfaces of your ear.

                                                                                         

Risks and challenges

The eFit 3D ear scanner is fully developed, in production, and already distributed on 3 continents. This is the only device in the world that can precisely measure a hole through non-contact means. It has the only integrated tracker in the world that can measure inside a hole, it has the smallest white LEDs in the world on the distal end of the probe, it strobes scan data and video data through the same glass probe moving 30 Gigs of data per scan, and it uses radial illumination, which optical experts deemed impossible. The eFit 3D ear scanner has 160 custom parts, 9 custom electrical boards, and custom optics. Our United Sciences team is comprised of opto-mechanical, mechanical, electrical, machine vision, robotic, and computer science engineers. Over $20 million went into the development, funded primarily through license fees, paid by Logitech and GN Store Nord. We can manufacture thousands of these very scalable eFit 3D ear scanners.
We have in-house headphone manufacturing capabilities and two proven contract manufacturers who can scale headphone manufacturing as well. We are transitioning our current manufacturers to scalable Aware hearable production. There is some risk of delay as we get our contract manufacturers up to speed on custom sensor assembly but we are already working on this. We’ve also had good success with these same contract manufacturers as we scaled up production of our other products. There are a lot of components in the Aware with a number of different suppliers, but we are doing our best to make each redundant so that this risk is as low as possible. There is some risk for lack of signal quality with Bluetooth antenna, but we’re mitigating that risk by working with Bluetooth antennae designers early in our production process.
We have developed robust noise handling algorithms for our biosensors but there is always the chance of encountering new noise sources. We will try to anticipate all possible noise source and make sure the Aware hardware and software can handle them, but on the occasion there is a new noise source identified after deployment, the new noise source will be handled with an Aware app software update. The Aware is not a medical device and will not require FDA clearance for consumer use. We are currently working with researchers and scientists who may possibly pursue use cases that will be regulated as medical devices.

Meet The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone will be the first of its kind, if these earbuds reach their Kickstarter goal by May 30th.

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

The Aware is a custom-fit Bluetooth earbud with embedded biometric sensors. The sensors measure a slew of data and vitals on your body, like no other device. After work, working out, or even sleeping your headphones will deliver stats on your brainwaves (alpha, beta, delta), heart rate, steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and more to your smart device.

The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone acts as an EEG (electroencephalogram) – reading your brainwaves and then spelling out exactly when you are stressed, relaxed, focused, and having trouble sleeping. The developers at United Sciences hope this enhanced awareness may help users increase focus, lower stress levels, understand their sleep patterns, and help guide them to be more mindful.

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

But how can the aforementioned be achieved with a bite-size headphone?

The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone was designed using eFit’s 3D scanner. The technology was created by Karol Hatzilias who was running a 3D scanning company when he was awarded a grant by the United States Navy to develop 3D scanning technology that would improve hearing protection. As a result, he invented a way to scan small holes with a ring laser and translate that scan into a 3D model in real time.

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

The eFit 3D scanner is the only scanner in the world that precisely captures the minute and unique differences in each ear with a ring laser that obtains an accuracy of less than 1/10th a millimeter. Because of the perfect fit, these custom biosensors are able to achieve complete, consistent contact with the surface of the ear, enabling them to reliably capture biometric and brain wave data. Moreover, The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone was constructed to customize the position, length, and even angle of the speaker for the best performance, in addition to optimal passive sound isolation.

So far so good, but how does The Aware sound?

United Sciences promise the earbuds will deliver superior sound assisted by their balanced armature drivers at an optimized frequency response. Unfortunately, the exact frequency response range and  size of the drivers are unbeknownst to us at this time.

The Aware Biometric Brain Sensing Headphone

For those who are active, The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone allows users to listen to music while still tuning into their surroundings. The buds create a 3D ambient environment so you can hear if someone or something is approaching from a particular side.

Aiming to really take your workout to the next level, the earbuds audibly notify you when you’ve lost focus. The same featured can be used while studying.

The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone will be available at three different product levels – each level offering different features at the following price tags: $99, $249, and $500.

Hardware  

  • Audio SoC with Bluetooth 4.1, aptX, and 24-bit high resolution audio support with a 120 MHz DSP
  • 4 channel 24-bit biopotential analog front end (TI ADS1294)
  • 16 GB internal storage for biosignal logging and music
  • 3.7V 220 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Glossy black 3D-printed (UV DLP) acrylic
  • Wired auxiliary audio support

Sensors & Transducers

  • 9-axis IMU: an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass with integrated digital motion processor
  • 6 low impedance biopotential electrodes
  • Red/infrared/green high sensitivity pulse ox sensor
  • Multiple ambient digital microphones per side
  • In-ear bone conduction digital microphone per side
  • Wideband high fidelity acoustic transducer

United Sciences still need to reach their Kickstarter goal of $100,000 by the end of May to get The Aware biometric brain sensing headphone on the market.

 

http://majorhifi.com/meet-the-aware-biometric-brain-sensing-headphone/

 

Digital Trends – United Science’s eFit will 3D scan your ear to give you perfectly-sized earbuds

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/efit-3d-scan/#ixzz45iKqpweX
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

eFitHeadphones_Silver

Smart bands may be getting a bit stale, or in any event they are saturating the market. CES 2016 was littered with wrist-wear, mostly due to the sheer number of redundant fitness trackers — but there’s a new place on our bodies that companies are starting to utilize for wearables — the ear.

And just how wearables targeted towards the wrist gradually began offering various size options, there’s a company that’s interested in providing you the perfectly-sized earbud. No, they’re not just offering more silicone tips — they’re 3D scanning your ear.

United Sciences has developed a non-invasive 3D ear scanner that captures the geometry of the inner and outer canals of your ear in order to find the optimal fit for earbuds, says the company’s CEO Samuel Kellett, Jr. The eFit 3D scanning technology was the named as a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree.

Within the past year, “hearables” have become more prominent and quite a few made a splash at CES 2016 — notably Doppler Labs’ Here earbuds that let you selectively filter and amplify sounds in your surrounding environment, and the Dash earbuds. Dash doubles as a pair of high-tech Bluetooth earbuds and a fitness tracker, and also has a plethora of other features including the ability to function while you’re taking a swim.

Related: Why smart clothes, not watches, are the future of wearables

While those device improve upon the functions of earbuds, there still exists the problem of finding the right fit. Right now the company is partnering with various organizations to make use of its eFit scanning technology — with the U.S. Navy being one of these groups.

“The U.S. Navy has proposed to Congress a roll-out of eFit scanners so their war fighters will be wearing hearing protection made from a 3D scan,” Kellett said. “We are working with a number of global consumer electronics companies to help them develop hearables use cases. We also sell our eFit scanners to custom headphone companies today and then we collect a royalty on each in-ear device that is sold. Our partners, like Logitech U/E, have placed scanners in retail locations on three different continents but predominantly in Asia.”

Now the company is looking to bring its scanners directly to retailers, rather than going to brand partners first.

And what better way to introduce the technology to retailers and the public than the company’s own “hearable”? The company is looking to launch a Kickstarter in February to fund bringing its eFit stations around the country, so that you could potentially walk into retailers like Best Buy or Walmart to get your ear scanned. The scanning process takes about 90 seconds, and Kellett says if the retailer also has a printing station, you could wait around for an hour to pick your custom-fitted earbuds up, or you can have them shipped to your house within a few days.

unitedsciences

Kellett says having scanners at specific locations is beneficial to retailers as well, as they don’t have to keep inventory, and the scanners generate more traffic to their brick and mortar stores.

“We’re just showing through this Kickstarter campaign that we enabled a wearable computing platform.”

But like the Dash and the Here, there’s more than meets the eye with the eFit earbuds. Since the earbuds can have sensors packed close to the skin, the company plans to offer four different categories to choose from for your own pair, ranging from sports and fitness, to traveling, sleep monitoring, and concentration.

Sports and fitness tracker

The sports and fitness variant will act like an ordinary fitness wearable, measuring activities, counting your steps, and tracking distance and calories burned. It will also monitor your active and resting heart rate, as well as your oxygen saturation levels.

Traveler tracker

This option features standard noise cancellation and an Aware Mode, which basically lets you hear everything around you at the touch of a button. This version can also do nearly all of what the fitness version can — count calories burned, steps, monitor heart rate, and track your distance traveled. The traveling variant will excel in sound though, providing “deep, powerful sound for music and podcasts.” We can’t say for sure how good the quality will be until we get a pair of these earbuds — or rather, until we get our ears scanned. It’s also strange that only one type of earbud will have great sound quality — it would be nice if that was a standard.

Sleep monitor

This variant has quite a few features packed into the tiny earbuds. It will track movements you make during the night, as well as if you grind your teeth. It can show detailed information on REM cycles, while also monitoring light and deep sleep. According to the company, the sensors will also feature audio recording to pick up your breathing patterns during the night. It isolates noise, and can also act as an alarm clock. Thanks to being custom-fitted for your ear, they likely won’t fall out as easily as normal earbuds.

Concentration monitor

The Concentration version will monitor brain activity, and will also have a feature called Silent Alert, notifying you when you are falling asleep — which can be especially useful if you’re driving.

All variants will include Bluetooth connectivity, a microphone, and speakers, and will be compatible with the company’s Android and iOS app to view your sensor data. If the Kickstarter succeeds, the company is planning on bringing its eFit stations first to major cities including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C. and Dallas.

The company’s core technology is precision 3D hole scanning and imaging, and it’s exactly what the company is trying to show off through this campaign. It’s also likely the reason why the earbuds probably aren’t much to look at right now, but that could change depending on the success of the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

“With Kickstarter … we really don’t want to make in-ear devices,” Kellett said. “We’re just showing through this Kickstarter campaign that we enabled a wearable computing platform. We want every consumer electronics or health company, researchers at universities, or guy or woman in their garage to develop unique use cases for custom in-ear devices. We will make the eFit scanner available to everyone which will help us build our ecosystem.”

A software development kit will be a part of the offerings in the Kickstarter campaign. The custom wired headphones will go for $135, while the sensor-equipped variants will cost $300 a pop.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/efit-3d-scan/#ixzz45iKjPoS3
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook
http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/efit-3d-scan/

Google Hearable: A Custom, In-Ear Computer, Sources Say [exclusive]

http://anewdomain.net/2016/02/17/project-aura-google-hearable-exclusive/
google hearable human sciences patent app

Gina Smith

Written by Gina Smith

Google Glass 2 isn’t the only new thing due from Google’s secret Project Aura. A user-customized, in-ear wearable computer is on tap, sources say. [exclusive]

Gina-Smith-anewdomainaNewDomain — Google is working on commercializing a high-end, custom fit in-ear computer as part of its secretive new Project Aura division, sources close to the company tell aNewDomain.

Project Aura, the same Google wearables division that’s reportedly readying a lighter, more powerful Google Glass product for vertical customers, is planning various hearable devices to work in conjunction with other wearables and for standalone use, they add.

FCC documents, Google patents and patent applications from Google partners United Sciences, LLC and the Georgia Institute of Technologies bear this out. Take a look.

A custom-fit, in-ear computer for enterprise … and another for fitness buffs

At Georgia Tech laboratories in Atlanta, Google Glass tech lead and wearable pioneer Thad Starner is working with university researchers and United Sciences inventors to adapt their invention of a custom-fit, in-ear computer for commercial usThad Starner Hearable project Project Aurae, sources say. They add that the resulting hearable (or hearables) could be unveiled as soon as the next Google I/O developer’s conference in June, along with the next Google Glass version (FCC id: A4R-GG1) as revealed in FCC documents a few weeks ago, a fitness and music-playing in-ear wearable for consumers and, possibly, its upcoming VR headset.

The product will be based closely on the Georgia Tech/United Sciences invention detailed in the below patent application, sources add, which was published last June by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The main difference between the planned Google hearable based on the United Sciences design and, say, a hearable like the one Bragi plans has to do with the custom fit technology Human Sciences brings to the table, sources suggest.

Using what the company describes as a quick, 3D ear scanning process, the device would precisely fit the ear canal of its wearer, an innovation that promises to use safer volume levels, lower-power, more accurate biometric sensing for fitness and planned medical applications.

In the application, United Sciences describes its wearable in-ear computer as:

… a wearable computer including an earpiece body manufactured from an image of a user’s ear, the image created from a three dimensional (‘3D’) optical scan of a user’s ear; one or more sensors configured to sense information regarding the user when the wearable computer is worn in the ear; a computer processor and memory operatively coupled to the computer processor; and a wearable computing module stored in memory, the wearable computing module comprising a module of automated computing machinery configured to receive the sensed information and invoke a wearable computing action in dependence upon the sensed information …”

Customizing an in-ear device so it fits tightly into an ear canal amounts to a dramatically improved audio experience, United Sciences execs told reporters attending CES 2016 this year.

Check out the patent application description and images  below.

United Sciences Patent App s20150168996a1

In addition to the patent application above and its intellectual property around its 3D ear scanner, United Sciences also has an application in the USPTO system describing a user authentication method for its custom earpiece. In theory, this would allow the owner of a Google hearable using the technology to ensure that no one else could put on the system and be able to accessProject Aura logo Google in ear device google hearable future personal or company data.

For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.

Below, check out the FCC docs Google filed for a faster, foldable version of Google Glass, dubbed Google Glass 2 by the popular press.

Google Glass 2 FCC External Images AWR-GG1

#Analysis #Commentary #fcc #Gina Smith #Google Glass #Google Wearables #hearables #news #patents #Thad Starner #United Sciences #wearables

Leo Laporte TWiT.tv Interview with United Sciences

 

Guitar Messenger: NAMM 2016: Ultimate Ears Pro – In-Ear Monitors

Ultimate Ears Pro general manager Philippe Depallens gives us an insight about the company’s approach to creating industry leading in-ear monitors for musicians and engineers.

From Pro.UltimateEars.com:

The beginning of Ultimate Ears

Ultimate Ears began because Alex Van Halen and his monitor engineer were tired of having things get between them and their music. So they took matters into their own hands and changed music forever. After working on prototypes for the band, they started sharing the first Custom In-Ear Monitors with other people as dedicated to music as they were. Selling them out of the back of their tour bus, word started spreading immediately. As soon as musicians tried them, they understood that UE gave them something amazing – a way to protect their hearing while allowing them to perform better. They weren’t fashion statements. They weren’t a trend. UE had planted a flag in the ground for people who lived for music. And everyone who put them on wanted to be a part of it.

The revolution catches fire

In 2005, we introduced our first universal-fit earphones – giving emerging artists the ability to perform like pros, and discerning listeners the chance to connect with music like never before. In 2008, Ultimate Ears teamed with Logitech, a company as passionate about connecting people through technology as Ultimate Ears is about changing the way you hear music.

http://www.guitarmessenger.com/news/namm-2016-ultimate-ears-pro-in-ear-monitors/

WSB-TV Channel 2 Clark Howard: Atlanta company creates earpiece that tracks brain waves

A 3D laser scanner allows them to create a perfect replica of your ear.

http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/atlanta-company-creates-earpiece-that-tracks-brain/vDjhr6/

Thad Starner, Wearable Computing Pioneer, Named Product Ambassador for United Sciences, LLC

Technical Lead on Google Glass and Georgia Tech professor will utilize United Sciences’ 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions to further develop use cases for wearable computer technology within the human ear.

United Sciences announced that Professor Thad Starner, a founding gI_85287_Thad Starnerfather of wearable computing and a Technical Lead on Google Glass, has joined the United Sciences’ team as a Product Ambassador. In his classes and research as a professor of computing at Georgia Tech, Thad will utilize United Science’s 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions to further develop use cases for wearable computing technology within the human ear.

Thad is a pioneer of human-computer interaction and is a strong advocate of continuous-access, everyday use systems, having worn his own customized wearable computer continuously since 1993. Thad was introduced to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 when he demonstrated his head-mounted computer and in 2010.

Page and Brin hired Starner to be a Technical Lead for Google Glass where he helped create early prototypes of the device. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an inventor on over 80 U.S. patent filings. Thad is a founder and director of the Contextual Computing Group at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing.

“Accurate fit is one of the most difficult challenges in creating wearable computers. Already my team is learning how to use ear scans to make better brain computer interfaces and wearables that can be controlled with silent speech.”
“The ear is a physiological playground,” said Sam Kellett, Jr., CEO of United Sciences. “Our scanning technology which captures the precise dimensions within the inner ear allows us to put in-ear sensors in the same place every time and will enable a new class of clinical and consumer biometric devices. We are very excited to work with Thad who has been working to integrate people and machines for over 20 years.”
Karol Hatzilias, Chief Strategy Officer of United Sciences, offered: “Our hole scanning technology will enable impact across a broad spectrum of industries – medical, military, industrial, aerospace, music, consumer electronics, and more. We are eager to see how the use cases Thad envisions for this technology exponentially expand its impact.”
The human ear offers certain natural, anatomical advantages for delivering new and exciting technological breakthroughs in collecting health data, providing “always on” audio communication and allowing wearers to take control of how connected they are to both the physical and virtual world. United Sciences’ 3D scanner makes it possible to capture the true geometry of the inner ear and enables devices that fit perfectly close to the skin.
The custom in-ear devices created from United Sciences’ scans put sensors in the same place every time and information collected is repeatable due to the custom earpiece fitting only one way.

The experiments United Sciences has done within the ear using their 3D scans to make devices with embedded biometric sensors and electrodes have shown very promising data and the company is working with leading innovation labs and multinational companies to develop use cases and commercialize certain products using the scanning technology.
United Sciences recently created a Product Ambassador Program whereby the company works with leading innovators within their respective fields at academic institutions or corporate research innovation labs to develop use cases leveraging the only technology in the world capable of accurately scanning and measuring a hole or cavity through non-contact means. United Sciences can work with these institutions and companies to help commercialize new products or create entirely new markets using its disruptive technology.
“United Sciences, through the Product Ambassador Program, is establishing collaborations with science and technology leaders to further develop new opportunities. United Sciences is embracing academic collaborations as a way to accelerate early evaluation of new opportunities.

This is a very exciting opportunity for industry – academia collaboration,” said Dr. Henrik I. Christensen, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and collaborator with United Sciences in the Product Ambassador Program.

To learn more about the technology, becoming a partner in innovation through the Product Ambassador Program or purchasing a scanner for further innovation and research, contact the United Sciences team at info(at)unitedsciences(dot)com.

Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Former Lockheed Martin CTO, Joins Board at United Sciences, LLC

United Sciences, LLC is an innovator and manufacturer of precision 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions for targeted industries. Its scanning technology is being applied to precision manufacturing industries, including the inspection and measurement of holes in airframe manufacturing and assembly.

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) September 21, 2015

gI_85177_Dr Ray O JohnsonUnited Sciences announced that Dr. Ray O. Johnson, former Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin, has joined the Board of Directors of United Sciences, a leading innovator and manufacturer of 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions.

Johnson is a visionary leader in advanced technology, engineering, and operations. At the Fortune 100 Company, one of the world’s most successful aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology companies in the world, he had functional responsibilities for Engineering and Technology, Production Operations, Global Supply Chain, Program Management, and Logistics and Sustainment. Johnson had more than 70,000 people working under him on more than 4,000 programs. His strategic leadership created significant value for the corporation during his 9-year tenure before his retirement earlier this year.

“United Sciences is bringing unique capabilities and disruptive innovation to bear across multiple industries that will increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and affordability of existing businesses while also creating new ones,” said Johnson. “I am excited to be part of their team where I will help them realize the exciting future that they are enabling.”

“Ray brings deep insight and experience into the technology and the strategic needs of our customers and we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Johnson to our team,” said Sam Kellett, Jr., CEO of United Sciences. “We believe his strong experience building a global business across both developed and emerging markets will be extremely valuable as United Sciences continues to grow throughout multiple industries around the world.”

Dr. Johnson joins two other outside Board of Directors including Adam Clammer, former head of technology investing at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Tom Harbin, founder of private equity firm Source Capital, LLC. Dr. Henrik Christensen, Distinguished Professor of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founding director of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, is also a key advisor to United Sciences.

About United Sciences
United Sciences, LLC is an innovator and manufacturer of precision 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions for targeted industries. United Sciences has developed highly disruptive technologies that overcome the technical challenges of existing 3D scanners that are only capable of measuring exterior surfaces. The patent protected in-ear scanner is the only mobile scanning technology that uses real-time imaging to obtain 3D measurements of the inner ear that can be used to create custom in-ear devices which applications include in-ear-devices, industrial hearing protection, custom headphones, and wearables. United Sciences’ scanning technology is also being applied to precision manufacturing industries, including the inspection and measurement of holes in airframe manufacturing and assembly. United Sciences provides hole scanners for non-contact measurement, diagnostics, and analytics, creating significant productivity and quality improvements. United Sciences is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with customers and research partners around the world.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12973546.htm

Read more: http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2015/09/21/dr-ray-o-johnson-former-lockheed-martin-chief-technology-officer-joins-board-united-scien#ixzz3mUIfno6v
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Read more at http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2015/09/21/dr-ray-o-johnson-former-lockheed-martin-chief-technology-officer-joins-board-united-scien#axzz3mPZfpPH8#mMtqbudA6RjduFiz.99

United Sciences Teams with Ultimate Ears Pro

United Sciences, LLC announced it has teamed up with Ultimate Ears Pro (UE Pro), a Logitech brand, to use United Sciences’ patented 3D scanning technology which will change the way custom in-ear monitors and earphones are crafted. UE Pro is a leading supplier of custom in-ear monitors for audiophiles and on-stage professional musicians.

The collaboration aims to help simplify the experience of buying hand-crafted custom in-ear monitors, and make premier sound accessible to more people. United Sciences’ mobile ear scanning technology offers significant improvement to the experience of being fitted for custom monitors, over traditional methods.

UE Pro already has a loyal following of touring musicians, sound engineers and mainstream music lovers, due to the sound quality and comfortable fit of the company’s earphones, but the company is always looking for ways to improve product. The team began blending their artisan-crafting techniques with digital processes, including digitally detailing physical ear impressions and using 3D printing to build the shell of a custom monitor. United Sciences’ real-time imaging technology to capture 3D measurements of the inner ear offers next generation technology never before available. The result of these efforts is a quicker turnaround time and better fit for customers.

Instead of requiring customers handle the additional cost and time of traditional ear impressions by audiologists, the 3D scanning technology from United Sciences allows global UE Pro authorized retailers and dealers to take ear impressions in just a few minutes and immediately email them to the UE Pro lab, where production can begin. United Sciences’ mobile scanners will enable UE Pro to expand its custom in-ear monitor business for both the professional musicians and consumer market more effectively by leveraging the latest digital technology to accelerate the customization process for the consumer and create manufacturing efficiencies for UE Pro.

“We are thrilled to be teaming with Logitech to bring our enabling technology through their strong distribution network which is already producing incredibly high quality audio products on the market,” said Sam Kellett, Jr., CEO of United Sciences. “Now, UE Pro will enable more people to experience the fidelity, comfort, fit and attenuation that rock stars currently enjoy on stage.”

“We began showcasing this technology at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in January 2015, and the response we received was well above our expectations,” said Philippe Depallens, Vice President and General Manager of Ultimate Ears Pro. “Thanks to United Sciences, we offer a more convenient experience for people looking to get custom in-ear monitors, and we’re thrilled to bring their 3D scanning technology to our authorized dealers and retailers across the globe.”

UE Pro began deployment of United Sciences 3D scanning technology to authorized dealers in May 2015 and is expected to be available worldwide starting by the end of the year.

About United Sciences

United Sciences, LLC is an innovator and manufacturer of precision 3D hole scanning and imaging solutions for targeted industries. United Sciences has developed highly disruptive technologies that overcome the technical challenges of existing 3D scanners that are only capable of measuring exterior surfaces. The patent protected in-ear scanner is the only mobile scanning technology that uses real-time imaging to obtain 3D measurements of the inner ear that can be used to create custom in-ear devices which applications include in-ear-devices, industrial hearing protection, custom headphones, and wearables. United Sciences’ scanning technology is also being applied to precision manufacturing industries, including the inspection and measurement of holes in airframe manufacturing and assembly. United Sciences provides hole scanners for non-contact measurement, diagnostics, and analytics, creating significant productivity and quality improvements. United Sciences is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with customers and research partners around the world.  http://www.unitedsciences.com

About Ultimate Ears

Ultimate Ears is transforming the way people experience music, together, out in the world. UE first revolutionized the way artists interact with their concert audiences by reinventing the on-stage monitor, turning it into a custom-fitted earphone. Today, Ultimate Ears continues stronger than ever with its award-winning family of wireless speakers that are designed for people, their friends and wherever life takes them. And with new features and experiences regularly released through free software updates, UE speakers just keep getting better. For more information, please visit http://www.ultimateears.com #MakeMusicSocial

Ultimate Ears is Refining the Custom IEM Process

BYAUDIOHEAD
– FEBRUARY 2, 2015

IMG_1123-1024x719The custom side of In-Ears has always been plagued by a very elongated wait process with many hoops to jump though (including a trip to the audiologist for many). Goopy ear molds need to be made and shipped, and a manufacturing process of three or more months has become commonplace.  Ultimate Ears is looking to change all that.

We got a chance to see the first steps of this new process at last year’s CanJam at Rocky Mountain AudioFest, which addressed both construction times and the somewhat difficult process of selecting the CIEM product that was right for you. Check out the details in our post [here]. At NAMM, UE was showing off how they have even further refined the process. Gone was the large magical black box that allowed you to switch between every custom IEM model without removing the earpiece. Its new replacement is a more presentation-worthy iPad setup with a touch interface simple enough for any drummer to understand.

Moving away from traditional methods, UE now employs 3D printing into the process to speed things up. To put this into perspective, the manufacturing time for my UE 18 PRO was 3 days after the order was placed at RMAF. While this may not be a typical turnaround for the average consumer, it still gives you an snapshot of the possibilities. Michael Dias of UE let me know that the goal is to ship within 5-7 business days, with a wait of 2 weeks or so for time periods with a high volume of orders (like after an audio show or NAMM).

IMG_1122-768x1024So with a new viable manufacturing solution in hand, Mike and UE manager Philippe Depallens decided to take things a step further by addressing the silicone ear mold inconvenience that could easily be seen as one of the biggest hurdles for this type of custom product.  At Rocky Mountain they were still utilizing a cool, yet mold-based 3D scanner to import blueprints of your ear into the digital realm, then whisk them off to the factory to have them adjusted and refined (still in the digital realm). A natural progression was of course to get 3D scan of your ear directly from the source. Several outside companies have been exploring options and different technologies in which to do so. UE chose to partner with a company called United Sciences.

IMG_1130-1024x731United Sciences is headed up by COO Craig Jones and CSO Karol Hatzilias and was started with a military grant for research. The scan they created does not require any direct contact with the ear. Called the “Efit Station” the probe-like device used to capture information does so at a 30 gig/second rate across a standard USB 3 connection. A diffused blue light helps record the data and delivers the 3 dimensional image to the computer station. IMG_1146-824x1024According to Craig, this image is reported within 99 microns of accuracy, whereas traditional silicone molds can often only be accurate up to 200 microns and are subject to more deforming (due to the physical nature of impression taking).

So what is the scanning process actually like? Similar to its silicone counterpart it starts with a simple ear check and cleaning, if necessary. No need to add compensation for wax buildup in your ear canal.

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IMG_1128-1024x768The scanee then dons this interesting headband pictured above, which allows the scanner to find its relative location in space.

The embed above shows scan in action. With traditional molds I personally am not a fan of the last little bit of space that gets touched in the ear canal when they jam the cotton dam in to block the silicone, the experience has always been a bit weird and sometimes uncomfortable. With this scan there was no discomfort, no physical contact with any device for that matter… just a yellow 3D image of my lovely ear canal.

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With the simplicity of this new process, Craig feels the Efit Station could be easily implemented retail establishments (like in guitar stores) across the country. Again, the whole idea is great stride in the right direction for one of the best ways to listen to music on the go and on stage. Major props to both UE and United Sciences for being the first companies to get the end-to-end consumer experience off the ground.

 

 

Cody Lovaas gets fit with Custom Ear monitors at Ultimate Ears

Examiner
NAMM SHOW 2015 – Cody Lovaas gets fit with Custom Ear monitors at Ultimate Ears
By: Marissa Carter

173fbb5c5948d1502ae80a45597da8ebAs many musicians and artists know, getting custom in-ear monitors and hearing protection use to take weeks to get and was a very laborious process to produce. With the new 3D scanning technology by United Sciences / Ultimate Ears it has remarkably cut down the wait time between scan, mold – actually printing – and the device in your ear.

Ultimate Ears new 3D optical ear scanning technology will make molded earpieces a thing of the past. The new scanning process uses a patented In-Ear scanner that takes a precise 3D image and measurement of the client’s inner ear and outer cavity. This accurate scan sends the measurements to a 3D printer, producing a precise and tailored earpiece that ensures optimal fit, comfort and seal resulting in superior fidelity sound.

The scanning process was completely painless and took under 5 minutes to complete. The booth was flooded with musicians waiting to get their scans, so it took longer to get in the chair then to set up and do the full scan. Everyone at the Ultimate Ears booth was very helpful, the scan tech was super nice, and he answered every crazy question thrown at him.

More information on United Sciences/ Ultimate Ears 3D optical ear scanning technology here: or visit unitedsciences.net

Examiner had the chance to catch up for San Diego’s new 2015 breakout artist Cody Lovaas after he sat down to get his new 3D scan complete at the Ultimate Ears Booth at The NAMM show 2015. Cody spoke with Examiner about what’s to come in 2015. The homeschooled teenager had recently finished up the necessary work to graduate from high school more than a year early. He is planning a spring/summer tour up the west coast, then hopefully more national dates. Stay tuned to AXS.com for tour dates as they are available.

Custom Headphones on Four 3D Printers

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United Sciences, an Atlanta company that develops 3D scanning technology, is using four MakerBot Replicator Minis to create molds for custom silicone headphones. When made on several 3D printers at once, the mold takes 20 minutes, and assembly takes another 30 — an improvement over the four-hour process on an industrial 3D printer. “It really brings it to the point where you can bring this to a store,” says co-founder Karol Hatzilias.

 

Custom Headphones Minus the Goo

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By Lauren Dragan • Posted: Jan 24, 2015

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In-ear headphone fans rejoice: the custom monitor is now available without the goo. This week at the NAMM show in Anaheim, Ultimate Ears showed off its partnership with United Sciences, which has come up with a way to use a laser 3D scanner to take a virtual “impression” of your ear canal. It’s all very sci-fi, and could change the entire face of headphones as we know it. How does it work?

First of all, for the uninitiated, the process of getting ear impressions has been largely unchanged for quite some time. Basically, you first go to see an audiologist who cleans your ears and puts a bit of cotton or foam deep in your canal to protect your eardrum. She then injects your ear canal using a syringe with a cool silicone goo. You sit, biting a piece of foam while this goo hardens, and try not to drool too much. After ten minutes or so, the goo is hardened, the impressions are gently wiggled loose, and then they are sent off to be either 3D scanned or made into a mould for your future custom monitors. If you want to see more about that process, and how Ultimate Ears makes the headphones from this point on, check out my previous post about the facilities tour I recently took. 

So, as you can see, the silicone method is kinda awkward, and requires a professional to complete. This means getting your schedule to coincide with an audiologist, and getting to an office (or, if you have the means, paying one to come to you.) More or less, it’s a bit of a nuisance, and generally isn’t something that can be done spur of the moment.

The in-ear 3D scanner would change all of that. According to United Sciences’ CEO Samuel B. Kellett Jr., these new scanners are easy enough to use that the need for an audiologist in the headphone fitting process would be obsolete.  He claims that even retail associates could be trained to use the scanner, and so custom headphones could be measured, designed, and ordered at a retail point of purchase.

And he’s thinking bigger than just the current pro monitor world. United Sciences has also partnered with Harman, and plans to expand. Imagine going to the Apple store, picking up the latest iPhone, and getting scanned for compatible headphones that fit your ear canal perfectly. High quality models would even adjust the position and angle of the drivers to best optimize the direction in which the sound waves hit your ear. Less expensive designs could be printed with a 3D printer on the spot for you to take home within the hour. The folks at Comply should feel a cold chill down their spine right about now.

Just think: a world without fiddling through endless baggies of silicone tips to get the correct fit. And if that’s not enough, Kellett says that the accuracy of the scan is so good, that headphones and hearing aids could be fitted with EEG sensors, allowing for brainwave feedback to control the device. Yeah. You read the correctly. He says eventually you could think “answer” and gently nod rather than press a button to answer a phone call from your headphones. But that’s all a decent ways off.

For now, expect to see ear canal scanners at retail stores near you in the not too distant future. Just like you can get your ears pierced at a mall kiosk, soon you’ll be able to order your custom monitors, grab an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, and have your new in-ears before you can finish licking the cinnamon from your fingertips. Welcome to the future, guys.

United Sciences eFit Digital Ear Impressions

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Some of my favorite headphones, regardless of form factor, are my top custom-fit in-ear monitors (IEMs). So, as a custom-IEM-wearing Head-Fi’er, perhaps I’m biased, but what I’m going to tell you about in this post was easily my favorite thing at CES this year: The eFit digital ear impressions system. Why? Because I think this amazing system is going to be one very critical step in getting custom-fit in-ear monitors–and custom-fit hearables/wearables–into a store near you.

If you watch our Head-Fi TV videos, you may have seen our recent episode about Ultimate Ears’ new “digital journey” process, which involves 3D-scanning/digitizing of silicone ear impressions, digital sculpting of the scanned ear impressions, and then SLA 3D-printing of the custom IEM shells from those. (To understand the advantages that come with UE’s digitization of most of the custom IEM process, you can watch that episode of Head-Fi TV by clicking here.) With the intent being to digitize as much of the process as possible, there was one major step in the process that was anything but digital–the squirting and squeezing of decidedly non-digital goo into the customers’ ears to get silicone ear impressions for scanning. When it came to getting fitted for custom-fit IEMs, silicone was the only choice for detailed full-ear impressions. “Was” is the operative word now.

900x900px-LL-5c97e7cb_United-Sciences-eFit-Karol-Hatzilias_DSCF1590A couple of months ago, an inventor named Karol Hatzilias from a company called United Sciences contacted me through LinkedIn, after watching the Head-Fi TV episode referenced above. Karol–pronouced “Karl”–is a co-founder, and the Chief Science Officer, of United Sciences. Karol’s text message was a short one, saying little more than “You might be interested in the in-ear 3D scanner I’ve been working on… We are using the scanner to make custom in-ear monitors and I was hoping to get your input on the process and products.”

He was certainly not the first to contact me with this kind of claim. Over the years, other intrepid entrepreneurs have attempted to capture full-ear (ear canal and outer ear) impressions without silicone, but none of them (to the best of my knowledge) have succeeded. Until now. You see, Karol and his team have done it with their eFit system, and it’samazing.

 

(Above, left to right) Video (without audio) showing my ears getting eFit-scanned at CES 2015; Karol Hatzilias, United Sciences’ Chief Science Officer.

When you see United Sciences’ eFit system being used, it all looks quite simple (and, to the operator and the customer, it is simple). The customer puts a lightweight apparatus on his head that looks rather like a circumaural (around-the-ear) headphone frame adorned with a lot of dots (we’ll get to those dots in a minute). After that, the operator scans the ears, the result (a few minutes later) being a set of fully digital full-ear impressions. Though it seems so simple in operation, how it all works is really quite remarkable–quite a mix of patented technologies and techniques that they’ve sewn into a very elegant, easy-to-use solution.

Let’s start with that headphone-looking device. Those dots on it are called tracking fiducials. Among many other things, the handheld scanner contains three 14-megapixel cameras, running at around 20 frames per second. As Karol describes it, “The two outside cameras look at the dots on the headset the customer is wearing. The position of the three-camera system is calculated, relative to the headset the customer is wearing. The third, middle camera is used to reconstruct each slice, either ring or line. As the three-camera system is moved, we reconstruct the whole ear, by assembling the slices.”

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900x900px-LL-bc5a301a_United-Sciences-eFit-scanning-Joe-CES-2015_DSCF1573  900x900px-LL-83fe9e49_United-Sciences-eFit-scanning-Joe-CES-2015_DSCF1583

(Above, clockwise from top-left) Samuel Kellett (United Sciences’ CEO); Sam modeling the eFit fiducials headband; closeup of the eFit fiducials headband; Joe getting scanned by Karol; close-up of scanner while scanning Joe’s ear.

According to United Sciences’ CEO Samuel Kellett, to scan the ear canal, Hatzilias invented the only 3D scanner in the world that can scan or measure a hole. (Not surprisingly, they’re already using this radial scanning technology in other applications and industries, including aviation.) Once out of the ear canal, the eFit system switches from the radial laser scanner to a line laser scanner to scan the outer ear, completing the full-ear impression. Again, the tracking fiducials are critically important here, the cameras using them to track the scanner’s precise position every step of the way, from the in-ear radial scanning, to the outer-ear line scanning. With this system, if the scanner’s hand or the customer’s head moves, the geometry doesn’t change, and, thus, the scan’s accuracy is not affected. Watching it work is amazing. I was wide-eyed the entire time, as my scan quickly took shape, thinking this technology looked like the real deal. It all happens rather quickly, too, taking only a few minutes per ear.

The software that puts all the data together is also immensely impressive, processing a large amount of data per scan that it uses to intelligently assemble the final 3D full-ear impression. Even though the scanner’s resolution is fine enough to easily capture tiny details (like hair in the ears, for example), the software intelligently determines what to keep and what to ignore in constructing the ear scan. While the raw data that the eFit software processes from each scan is around 30GB, the software’s output–your final full-ear scan file–is only about 1.5MB in size (and so easy to store and send).

But is the eFit system the real deal? That’s what I wanted to find out, and only the final product–the custom IEMs made from the scans–would convince me. To start, United Sciences, at CES, 3D-printed me a small custom-fit in-ear–not a full-ear IEM, but something that looked more like one of those smaller bean-shaped earpieces that disappears almost fully into the ear. It was a simple, single-driver balanced armature design, and, in terms of sound quality, it sounds decent for something they scanned and printed in well under an hour. Most importantly, the fit of both ears was great. Here’s what they printed for me on-the-spot at CES:

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(Above) The United Sciences eFit-scanned custom in-ears printed for me at CES.

Still, I wanted to find out if one of the top custom IEM makers could use my eFit digital ear scan files to make a full-ear custom IEM for me. Since Ultimate Ears has been working with United Sciences since around the time Karol first contacted me, I asked Ultimate Ears’ Mike Dias if they could make me a third pair of Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors. My first pair of UERMs was made using the most traditional methods–silicone impressions, and acrylic shells that were poured into a negative colloid. My second pair of UERMs was made to see how well SLA 3D-printed shells would fit compared to the first pair–but these were still made by starting with silicone ear impressions. This third pair was to see how a fully digital workflow would do, compared to the other two methods. I emailed Mike Dias my eFit impressions. Two days later, my latest set of UERMs arrived. Here are the three pairs:

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(Above) My three sets of Ultimate Ears Custom In-Ear Reference Monitors. The set on the left used United Sciences eFit digital ear impressions.

All fit well. All seal well. All sound the same, because they are, for all intents and purposes, the same. This is remarkable stuff.

What’s the big deal you ask? To start, the eFit process is easier to learn than the traditional silicone process. Also, the eFit system seems to be safer than silicone impressions. Though it has only happened to me once in many silicone impression sessions, one never forgets when the silicone goes too far–the pain can be excruciating (and my ear was sore for more than a day after my eardrum met the silicone). With the eFit system, there are some key safety measures in place. First, the inside camera also serves as a video otoscope, so the operator can see if she’s approaching something (like your eardrum). There’s also a depth gauge, marked for safety. Finally, the shape of the scanner’s body is specifically designed to keep it from going too deep.

With its ease of use–and the inherent safety of the system–virtually any employee can be trained to properly use the eFit system in about an hour. For silicone impressions, I’ll only go to those with extensive experience–like qualified audiologists–to have my ears shot full with silicone. With the eFit system, I’d be perfectly comfortable with a part-time hourly retail employee scanning my ears.

Also, for the many custom IEMs I’ve had made in the last ten years, I’ve had many sets of silicone impressions made, at an average cost of about $50 per impression pair. Silicone impressions have a lifespan of around two years (I think due to shrinkage), and once you send them away, you don’t typically get them back, which is why I have had so many impressions made. With the eFit system, the same set of impressions will be able to be shared digitally with several custom IEM manufacturers, over time.

In Tokyo, a store called e-Earphones (which, by the way, you can see in this old Head-Fi TV video here) now has an entire floor dedicated to selling custom in-ear monitors. Now imagine being able to go into a store like that, have your digital impressions scanned in minutes (or have them simply load up your scan files if you’ve already been scanned), and have your IEMs 3D-printed while you wait. It’s going to happen–I don’t know exactly when, but it’s going to happen. I think e-Earphone’s owner Hironobu “Boo” Ooi knows it, too. Here’s Boo getting his ears shot with the eFit system the other day at NAMM:

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(Above) Hironobu “Boo” Ooi, founder and owner of Tokyo’s e-Earphones store, getting eFit-scanned by Karol Hatzilias at NAMM 2015. (Photographs by Mike Dias.)

As fast as things are moving, I think the benefits and comfort of custom-fit earphones and hearables/wearables will become widely available at retail. I think busy travelers will one day get scanned in their departure airport, and have their custom IEMs waiting for them at their arrival airport. I think we’ll be able to go to a store down the road, and order custom earphones–from affordable models to high-end monitors–while we wait.

At CES, that’s exactly what United Sciences was doing at the Harman exhibit. They were scanning ears, and then 3D-printing custom-fit JBL Bluetooth in-ears for people at the show while they waited. They were also printing those little bean-type customs I showed you earlier. This collaboration with Harman was an early proof of concept, to show that it can be done, and it looked like a fantastic success to me.

At NAMM 2015, as I type this, Karol and the crew at Ultimate Ears have four eFit systems cranking away, and they’re on pace to do between 1000 and 1500 scans during the show! Here’s Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (one of my heroes, by the way) getting his ears scanned for a new set of UE customs:

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(Above) Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) getting eFit-scanned for a new set of Ultimate Ears IEMs at NAMM 2015. (Photograph by Mike Dias.)

Soon after that first message from Karol a couple of months ago, he and Sam (Kellett) paid a visit to Ultimate Ears’ headquarters in Irvine (California), to demonstrate the eFit system. I received a call from Mike (Dias) soon after Karol and Sam left, and Mike was, to say the least, excited.

“So was it the real deal?” I asked him.

“This was the missing piece of the ‘digital journey,'” he responded. “It’s very much the real deal.”

I hope you can now understand why I was so excited about it at CES, and why, when I’ve been asked what my favorite thing at the show was this year, United Sciences’ eFit system has been my answer. It was, without a doubt, the brightest, most significant highlight of my CES week.

 

Custom-Made In-Ear Headphones Created Using 3D Scanning Technology

The audio and infotainment companyHarman teamed up with 3D scanning specialist United Sciences to develop custom-made headphones.

The in-ear phones are created by 3D scanning the wearer’s ears for a perfect fit.

Therefor the eFit 3D scanner developed by United Sciences captures the surface of the ear within a few minutes. The 3D model is then used to 3D print a mold, that will be filled with silicon. Harman uses the MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D printers to simultaneously create all the separate parts of the mold.

The whole process takes about an hour and is demonstrated in the following video:

CES 2015: Revolutionary Earphones Created with Inner Ear Scanning Technology

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The eFit scanner uses bursts of light to map the surface
Over the decades, earphones, earbuds in particular, have gone through countless redesigns, leading to there being several standard sizes, shapes and materials typical for their engineering. However, nothing beats custom fitting, something that united Sciences definitely agrees with.

However, custom fitting for the ear isn’t as easy to do as for, say, shoes and clothing. It’s not like consumers will glibly go and have their ears probed whenever they go out looking for an earphone set. And yet, many people use them extensively, while jogging, when taking a call, when on a trip, even when at home (though over-ear headphones are more common there).

Even the best earphones can cause aches after a while, unfortunately, and United Sciences wants to put a stop to that once and for all.

Their method? Custom-fitted earphones built based on 3D models of peoples’ inner ear. Or median ear, if we’re going to be accurate.

The eFit scanner
One way to create custom ear fittings, whether for earphones or something else, is to make a mold of the ear out of some putty facsimile.

These models pretty much always get warped or damaged when removed, however, not to mention the discomfort that recipients are put through in order to create them. And when they come out whole, it’s usually because the ear orifice was stretched well beyond the comfort zone.

Using a 3D scanner can eliminate all those problems. The eFit works this way: it’s pointed at a person’s ear, then it sends out bursts of light to map the surface of the inner (really median) ear. It only takes a few minutes to make a full scan, as shown during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is even a virtual interface that shows the user if the model hasn’t been fully built, if there are spots from which data hasn’t been gathered.

When the scanner has gathered all the data it needs, the resulting 3D virtual model is fad to a 3D printer. United Sciences used MakerBot Replicator Mini printers, some of the cheapest and most well-sold consumer printers.

The 3D printer produces a mold of the “inner” ear, and on that mold is based the design of a custom-fitted earbud after that. The mold was printed on four printers at once (20 minutes) and assembled afterwards (30 minutes). Quite a change from the normal process which can take days or weeks.

Availability and pricing
Since the eFit Scanner is going to be offered as a service more than a product, it will be dependent on how much funding United Sciences gets and how quickly it expands its reach from state to state. In other words, it might take a while.

It will be worth it to at least try the idea out, if you have the time and money to spare. Not only will custom-fitted earbuds provide the best sound fidelity, it will allow biometric sensors to be installed as well.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/CES-2015-Revolutionary-Earphones-Created-With-Inner-Ear-Scanning-Technology-469562.shtml#sgal_0

 

3D scan designs headphones just for you

Mashable-Logo
BY ANNIE PARK
JAN 10, 2015

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LAS VEGAS — There’s nothing worse than having an amazing set of in-ear headphones constantly fall out. We’ve all felt the frustration when those silicone buds pop out during a jog or after a big yawn.

Many audio companies have tried to counter the issue by offering jumbo-sized silicone tips. While they do stay in the ear, the jamming can be uncomfortable.

Harman revealed a solution at CES this week — custom earpieces molded to perfection using 3D scanning technology.

With their partner United Sciences, the audio and infotainment company developed headphones that seal the ear just right, allowing for optimum fit, comfort and sound.

“This is the beginning of our innovation efforts into the world of ‘mass personalized’ wearables, that can be fine-tuned to individuals’ physical and physiological differences,” said I.P. Park, Harman’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. “Such custom-fit earpieces will improve current biometrics by reducing the processing power required to filter noise because of bad contact with the skin.”

EarScan_3Karol Hatzilias, co-founder and chief science officer of United Sciences, invented the laser scanner on a U.S. Navy research grant to make custom hearing protectors for the military.

“It’s a laser triangulation — there are actually three different scanners working at once,” Hatzilias explained. “One is tracking the movement of your head, and then there is a ring laser and a line laser — the ring is for the canal, the undercut and the concha, and the line is for the majority of the ear’s outside.”

Harman hosted live demonstrations at their booth throughout CES. I was dying to find out how accurate the fit could be, so I gave it a try.

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The movement tracker, shaped like a regular headphone, was stretched across the top of my head and placed around both ears. Then, the laser scanner, which looked like an otoscope, worked to create a digital map of my inner and outer ear. The resulting data file containing exact dimensions was sent to an image processing software on a computer.

EarScan_4The CAT file was transformed into a 3D printable template, and I watched as a MakerBot Replicator Mini printed the shells of my custom earpieces.

Once the shells were produced, they were injected with silicone. The hardened final product was fastened to JBL headphones and given to me. Conclusion: They fit perfectly snug in both ears. I did a few jumping jacks and ran a lap around the room to be sure. I also learned that my right and left ears are very different in shape.

The best part was that it was done in under an hour.

JBL_3dprintPreviously, this technology has been used to improve the hearing aid industry. Due to these innovative collaborations between science and headphone companies, it’s an exciting time for consumer audio.

“This is the next generation of in-ear devices. With this 3D scanning technology, we can get more reliable signals than anyone else out there,” said Sam Kellett Jr., chairman, CEO and co-founder of United Sciences. “The ear’s the place to be.”

Here’s Scientific Proof That Some People Just Can’t Wear Earbuds — And How to Solve It

By Derrick Rossignol January 09, 2015

The first earbuds were patented in 1891, and they have been a royal pain in the ass ever since.

A large minority of people knows this, but they’ve been mostly silent on the subject. The tides are turning, though, and a new class of products is letting everyone in on the secret: The biggest problem with earbuds isn’t the constant tangling — it’s that they don’t fit every ear. Observe:
The issue: The trouble with earbuds is that they’re designed as a one-size-fits-all product, but that’s not how human ears work. As Brian Fligor, the chief audiologist for 3-D ear-scanning firm Lantos Technologies, told Slate, our ears are “as unique to you as your fingerprints,” so a cookie-cutter earbud design often doesn’t cut it.

“Even within one person, your ear canals are not symmetric,” Fligor told Slate. “I do informal polls and about a quarter of the people I talk to say earphones don’t fit them.”

It’s such a problem that even the New York Times wrote about it. The trouble is the two main types of earbuds available today aren’t cutting it for most listeners. The on-ear variety, like Apple’s ubiquitous white “EarPod” earbuds, are meant to be comfortable and non-invasive, but tend to fall out at the slightest jostle. The in-ear type, the ones with the rubber bulb that goes deeper into the ear, are supposed to stay more in place and provide better sound quality but are prone to hurting people’s ears.

But thankfully, a few companies think they have the answer. People with abnormally sized ears don’t need to suffer any longer.

CES: The Robots Are Coming

 

Wall Street Journal

1/7/2015 4:15PM – The future will be connected and families will have helper robots. WSJ’s Geoffrey Fowler explains what to expect on the News Hub with Sara Murray. Photo: Aldebaran Robotics.

CES: The Robots Are Coming

Laser Scan + 3-D Printer = Perfect-Fit Earbuds

 

Wall Street Journal

1/7/2015 12:00PM – United Sciences has developed a laser scanner that creates a digital map of your ear. With a 3-D printer, that map is transformed into custom headphone earpieces. Personal Technology Columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler takes a listen at CES 2015.
Laser Scan + 3-D Printer = Perfect-Fit Earbuds

United Sciences to Unveil First 3D Digital Ear Scanning Solution at CES 2015

 

New Technology Enables Next Generation Headphones, Hearables/Wearables

ATLANTA – (January 6, 2015) – United Sciences, a leader in 3D Hole scanning solutions, will showcase its new, patent-protected in-ear scanning technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas, January 6-8. The technology will usher in a new era of advanced in-ear devices with more functionality, flexibility and practicality than ever before possible.

As the only mobile scanning technology that uses real time imaging inside the ear, United Sciences will enable a new range of applications where superior fit, comfort and seal are critical. United Sciences’ solution is:

  • 100% digital — thus eliminating the need for imprecise silicone impressions
  • Completely customized – in-ear devices will be tailored to each individual, providing optimal fit, comfort, attenuation, versatility, price, fidelity and safety
  • Quick – the scan takes less than five minutes and enables real-time manufacturing so consumers can experience the benefits in a matter of hours

Commenting on the promise of this new technology, Sam Kellett, Jr., CEO of United Sciences said, “We are excited to debut this revolutionary scanning technology which we feel holds great promise for becoming the industry standard which will enable the next generation of in-ear devices. The precise dimensions captured by our scanner will forever replace the need for silicone impressions and give users a product with fit, comfort and effectiveness never before possible.”

United Sciences will be demonstrating this scanning solution during CES in the Vinyl Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas from January 6th through the 9th. Pre-registration is required via moc.secneicsdetinu@noslitm or by phoning (855) 886-5767.

About United Sciences
United Sciences innovates & engineers precision 3D Hole scanning solutions for targeted industries. United Sciences has applied decades of 3D scanning and machine vision experience to develop game changing, in-ear scanning technology.