Ears are weird, which is probably why so many people have a hard time finding comfortable, functional earbuds. Not content to sell its earphones with goofy plastic adapters—you know, the ones you lost within five minutes of opening your last pair of in-ear listening gadgets—Normal wants to make a customized set for those odd-shaped holes in the side of your head, thanks to the power of 3D printing.
It all starts with the Normal smartphone app (for iOS and Android), which you use to take several photos of your ears, while holding a coin against the side of your face as a size reference. Once the app is satisfied that it has enough data, you can further customize the earphones with colors and cord length to fit your needs.
Once you’ve placed your order, Normal puts its 3D printers to work creating the main form of the earphones out of ABS plastic, which is then coated with a “soft touch” material for comfort. This process yields a fit that Normal claims is not only comfortable but also leads to better sound quality, due to the decrease in sound leakage.
Normal can turn around an order as quickly as 48 hours, which is quite a feat considering each pair is custom made. Of course, this all comes at the relatively steep price of $199. Still, for people who never seem to be able to find a pair of comfortable earbuds, it’s certainly an option.