Drown Audio: Game-changing Tactile Earphones
This project was awarded to Edinburgh based design consultancy, ProductWorks. ProductWorks is owned by Ken McCorkindale, who in my opinion is one of Scotland’s leading product design engineers with tremendous experience in the product design sector. I have worked closely with ProductWorks on several projects, including this one. Between ProductWorks and MADE, we find our skillsets complimentary which leads to a strong product design solution.
Drown Audio, came to the team in 2018 with a totally new concept on how to deliver audio to the user. Using a combination of acoustic waveguide geometry and bone conduction; the earphones deliver an immersive experience that is particularly suited to gaming. This is because gamers often use audio cues to identify the direction of a foe and thus a clearer direction provides an advantage.
The team’s role was to take the concept from a prototype to production ready design. This presented two key challenges; first a comprehensive understanding of the audio and vibration engineering. Second; produce a design that was ready for mass production. Not an easy challenge with so many intricate organic surfaces that must be modified to suit multiple different ear types.
We developed the industrial design concurrently with the engineering factors. This allowed us to optimise the ideal wave guide geometry with the chosen dynamic driver, while achieving all ergonomic specifications. Together with the Drown team, we produced multiple prototypes until we reached a solution. Prototypes have been taken to major gaming conventions around the world and feedback from pro-gamers has been very positive.