Once my headphones are in, the rest of the world is out. I scroll through my playlist and deep dive into my favorite musical tunes. And then I’m in my own little audio world, where everything is peaceful, my favorite singers are my best friends, and they just know the right things to say. If you’re a music fanatic as well, you know how important and sacred your personal music time can be, and how holy your relationship with your headphones is. After all, these are the resourceful little things that transport us into our beloved audio world. Having a pair of handy, innovative, and trendy headphones is a must-have nowadays, and we’ve covered a variety of them for you – from sustainable cork headphones to ones that purify the air for you. Headphones designs these days are at an all-time high, and I’m sure you can’t wait to introduce your ears to them!
These cork headphones are another great addition to that list and show us that gadgets can also go green – you would be surprised to know how much plastic goes into making a simple pair of headphones. Weighing only 64 grams (0.14 lbs) these headphones are super light! Cork is a versatile material that is being explored to design sustainable products. It is non-allergic, resilient, sound insulating, moisture-proof, and soft to touch. If you are an everyday headphone user, you know that there is a lot of wear and tear that happens and instead of repairing, we usually just upgrade which increases our plastic consumption. Cork headphones are easy to repair and dismiss thanks to an assembly based on the compressibility of the material. There is no glue, no upholstery, no screws involved – just cork, simple electric parts, steel, and foam.
Designers Adam Wrigley, Francois Nguyen, Jungsoo Park, and Kebei Li created ‘UNUM’, (in their spare time by the way) and they consider it to be a catalyst in the future of personal audio. One look at UNUM and its design will leave you shocked. These headphones were designed to leave your ears completely exposed. Sporting an open-hoop structure, UNUM consists of two rings that seem to wrap around your ears. They dangle snugly around your ears, instead of fitting into your ear canals like the headphones we are so used to. As eccentric as the headphones may seem, the designers put a lot of thought into it. Designer Adam Wrigley says, “You see a lot of people walking around with headphones on, a lot of people biking with headphones on. And there’s always a question, ‘Can that person hear me?’ They are in their own little world.” And so Wrigley decided to build headphones that do the exact opposite of that!
What’s better than one audio device? A two-in-one! No?! A three-in-one!! I’ve officially hit crazy with the Level x3 Headphones. Just like the Matryoshka dolls, these babies are one big bag of surprises. Designed to be your everything-audio solution, the Level X3 is a pair of in-ear earphones, that fit into headphones. Audio synchronization allows your headphones to continue what you were listening to on your earphones. The only way to top off that awesome idea is to step it up with the Cradle, a docking device for the headphones that not only charges them but acts as an all-in-one speaker.
DE-MO, which stands for Detachable and Modular, is exactly that – an ecosystem of replaceable speakers, cables, and headband accessories that you can use to create an audio experience based on your needs. It has a minimal aesthetic and a sleek build so you’ll never look like Tarzan with the cords – DE-MO is built for the minimal millennial. DE-MO adapts to your needs so instead of having to keep a track of different headphones and cables for different situations, it offers a single set that can be expanded over time. It even gives you the option of adding a microphone and volume control clip – now you can finally go on that run and not be compelled to answer any phone calls!
With a design fit for the aggressively competitive gamer, the ASUS ROG Strix Pro 7.1 may just be the baddest set of headphones ever designed. These conceptual cans come with an edgy, don’t-mess-with-me demeanor characterized by sharp lines and facets, and what may just be the most menacing use of lighting I’ve seen. Housed around the drivers are two LED rings (one on each ear). When the headphones are worn, they give you a warm halo around the side of your head, making you almost look like a boss yourself. Take the headphones off and the two halos become almost like a pair of hawk-like eyes that stare into your soul.
Say hello to the Air-Purifying Headphones. Armed with around-ear cups on both sides, and a dual-headband design on the top, the Air-Purifying Headphones have a unique way of combining air-filtering with audio-playback. The upper headband swivels forward to cover the face and features the iconic bladeless-fan-style form that helps route air directly to the nose and mouth. The headphones house a powerful motor and filter located within the left and right cups, drawing air from the grilles on the outside and channeling them through and out of the headband’s air-outlets. According to the patent, the purifying headphones would feature propellers that spin at 12,000 rpm and draw in 1.4 liters of air per second each to filter particles like dust and bacteria. A key requirement of the motors would be to function quietly, allowing the headphones to offer great audio playback too.
Titled the SoundCube, Eric Guack’s concept headphones for Lenovo literally come with a hexagonal design. Yes, the cups are hexagons too! The boxy, yet out-of-the-box approach to headphones makes them stand out, while the cube shape definitely helps it stand out from the other circular or elliptical headphone designs. The headphones are pretty straightforward. They come with an on-off switch and work both wirelessly or with an aux-cable. They even charge using contact-pins at the base, which means no ugly USB ports… just a clean, eye-catching design, and good sound quality that’s expected from a company like Lenovo!
Using contour lines to evoke dynamism/athleticism and even relating to radiating waves of music, the Nike Facet headphones concept looks and feels like it’s just bursting with positive energy. The wireless headphones borrow color combos and even basic shapes from Nike’s Apple Watch variant, making them fit perfectly into Nike’s product catalog. The headphones come in beautiful pearlescent metallic finishes that change color depending on how you look at them. They even sport a 3D-printed contour-line texture on the opposite side of the earpieces, along with the Nike logo.
The ATH-AWKT Audiophile headphones are meant for design-minded audiophiles because they come with Audio-Technica’s superior sound and a sleek unconventional aesthetic thanks to the Japanese Kokutan (striped ebony) build. The interesting part is that the construction process is almost the same as what you will find in the manufacturing of woodwind instruments and pianos – kind of like a full-circle moment for music! The beauty of the wood will only deepen with age and no two headphones will be alike as the natural grain texture is retained in each of them. These beautiful headphones are made to emphasize the suppression of resonance and natural sound reproduction while balancing the highs, lows, and mid-tones to produce high-quality sound.
The AudiBall is a Bluetooth headphone that transforms into an impressive spherical smart speaker, with in-built Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant capabilities. Inspired by the techniques used for origami, this compact and portable headphone is designed to fit into just about any space. Being a practical device, it is waterproof, dust-proof, and durable. Designer Vedang Kulkarni has kept in mind the key aspects of functionality and transformation. Needless to say, all controls are intuitively placed, so that you can access and adjust them easily. Audiball is your personal headphone and a smart speaker on the go. The telescopic headband is stylish and looks very chic as an accent in the speaker mode. Features include active noise-canceling technology for a better listening experience.