Introduction: How to Make Headphones (02:08)
In this video, Zoe Laughlin will examine the construction of headphones and make her own set.
Headphone Origins (08:22)
Headphones are available as over the ear headphones and in-ear earbuds. At the Connected Earth exhibition, Laughlin learns about the history of headphones including telephone exchanges, stereo, portability, noise cancellation, Bluetooth, and earbuds.
The Autopsy (03:20)
Laughlin disassembles various headphones to better understand key components. Her three main areas of focus are the driver, the connection, and the casing.
The Driver (03:18)
Laughlin creates a rudimentary prototype to better understand how drivers work. Components include a copper coil, a diaphragm, and a magnet.
Materials Science (04:14)
Terfenol-D can make any surface that will vibrate into a speaker. Prof. Brian Smith explains material properties; his team is working on a small scale model.
Acoustic Science (05:39)
A sound engineer helps Laughlin test the acoustic range of three drivers. They discuss frequency, bass, and output.
The Connection (05:17)
Bluetooth harnesses low power microwaves to allow device communication. Laughlin demonstrates a Faraday cage and discusses aspects of wire connectors. She creates a cable for her headphones.
The Casing (04:55)
At Bowers & Wilkins, Laughlin learns how design impacts sound performance. She examines ear cups, a headband, a driver, and materials.
Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (06:26)
In an anechoic chamber, Laughlin experiences beamforming. Filippo Fazi discusses directional sound and demonstrates ear tracking technology.
Ear Cups (02:10)
Laughlin uses a mold of her hand and a vacuum formation machine to create the cups for her headphones.
Noise Cancellation (03:39)
Prof. Steve Elliot researches ways to use opposing sound waves in noisy environments. Laughlin experiences sound inside a mock airplane cabin.
Soundproofing Test (04:39)
Laughlin tests three noise reducing materials to determine the best one for her headphones—vinyl, polyurethane foam, and green glue.
Laughlin creates a pair of headphones with an aluminum headband, plywood driver mounts, plastic ear cups with polyurethane foam, a driver, a memory foam cushion covered in silk, and her homemade cable.
Credits: How to Make Headphones (00:36)
Credits: How to Make Headphones
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