I discovered something fascinating while browsing around the other day: headphones that transmit sound directly to your skull. This method of sound transfer has been dubbed bone conduction. All you do is press the little transducers up to your temple, jaw, or skull, and the vibrations in the little electrical device transfer to the waves through the solid bone medium to your inner ear. This way you can listen to things without blocking your ears with big cans or buds. Rather than go out and purchase one of the little premade units, I decided to make my own DIY bone conduction headphones.
I have my own issues with headphones. I am the type who strongly prefers earbuds. Sure, you can get better sound out of headphones, but I find that the large strap and bulky padding smashes my ears and glasses together in an uncomfortable way. Furthermore, the shape of my skull with causes the applied pressure of the headphones to pull my glasses out of alignment. That puts pressure on one side of my nose or the other, and it makes my vision all out of alignment. To make things just that much worse, my very fine hair is easily molded, a quality that makes it easy to get ready in the morning but causes instant hat hair. Headphone bands give me this weird wave in my perfect, voluminous follicle coif. If you look at the bone conductivity headphones available on the market, they all use a strap to keep them in place like a normal pair of headphones. With the extra pressure required to push the transducers up to my jaw, I can only imagine that they would have even more issues.
So I thought to myself: how can I make a set of DIY bone conduction headphones with properties closer to earbuds?
Answer: use the straps that you wear every day, your glasses.
Thanks Wes for sending this in!
Featured Adafruit Products!
Stereo 3.7W Class D Audio Amplifier – MAX98306: This incredibly small stereo amplifier is surprisingly powerful – able to deliver 2 x 3.7W channels into 3 ohm impedance speakers. Inside the miniature chip is a class D controller, able to run from 2.7V-5.5VDC. Since the amp is a class D, its incredibly efficient (over 90% efficient when driving an 8Ω speaker at over a Watt) – making it perfect for portable and battery-powered projects. It has built in thermal and over-current protection but we could barely tell it got hot. This board is a welcome upgrade to basic “LM386” amps! Read more.
Bone Conductor Transducer with Wires – 8 Ohm 1 Watt: Drown out the voices in your head with a bone conduction transducer! This incredible speaker does not have a moving cone like most speakers you’ve seen, instead, a small metal rod is wrapped with the voice coil. When current is pulsed through the coil, the magnetic field causes a piece of metal to expand and contract – if pressed against a flat surface or cavity it turns it into a speaker! Read more.