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.
- 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.