A team of engineers has developed what they are claiming is the world's smallest wireless earbud. In creating Earin, the vision of the team, led by mechanical and design engineer Olle Lindén, was to produce earbuds that not only did away with the messy wires and cables, but fit unobtrusively in the ear to provide a high quality listening experience.
The Earin buds weigh 5 g (0.17 oz) and feature a plastic casing with a silicon tip on the end that is designed to create a snug, noise-isolating fit inside the ear. Measuring 14 mm (0.55 in) in diameter and 20 mm (0.78 in) in length, they are a similar size to your typical earbuds and use Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0 to wirelessly stream audio from a paired device.
The team opted for a balanced armature speaker, the same type of transducer commonly found in hearing aids, which they say allowed them to achieve higher outputs with much more energy efficiency while keeping size to a minimum.
Running on a 50 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery, Earin should be good for up to three hours of listening at a time. They come accompanied by a storage capsule, which is also fitted with a 100 mAh Li-Ion battery that can recharge the earbuds when they're placed inside. The capsule weighs 25 g (0.9 oz) and is recharged via a USB cable.
While the company offers three foam tips for different ear sizes, it is also conscious that earbuds can easily be shaken loose by bumpy car rides or more animated jogging techniques. To this end, it has crafted a "Concha lock" from silicon which, when fitted to the earbuds, uses a wing nestled along the inner ear to create a more secure fit.
Lindén himself is experienced in the field of mechanical engineering, having previously worked with Sony Ericsson and Nokia in designing audio components and phone architecture. The idea for Earin was first born five years ago but it is only now, he says, that technological advances in wireless transmission of stereo sound has helped him realize this vision.
He and his team are offering sets of Earin buds and wireless charging capsules for early pledges of £99 (US$168) on Kickstarter. With functioning prototypes already developed, the team has taken to the crowdfunding platform to raise money for commercial production and hope to begin shipping in January 2015.