Normal, a startup, and the brainchild of Nikki Kaufman (a founding member of the crowd sourced product firm Quirky), is currently producing custom earphones. Normal is using the Stratasys Fortus 250mc printers and its own smartphone app to map anyone’s ear and its contours, and print unique, one-of-a-kind, earbuds – fit to your ear alone.
The first Normal product (there are likely more to come) is founded on the notion of personalized and affordable accessories, and its product’s customizability is dependent on 3D printing to make an earphone / earbud for you. As they say in their tagline – One Size Fits None. If you’ve been clamoring for a pair of super-comfortable earbuds, take a walk over to their Chelsea (New York City) location or the online option is pretty easy to use, too.
Custom earbuds have been on the market for a long time, but Normal has democratized it and brought the whole process into the hands of the individual customers. Previously customers looking for custom earbuds had to consult an audiologist and go through the process of receiving an ear mold to fit their ears. Nikki explained a bit about this process to me and is part of how she decided to start the company. Normal offers consumers an app instead of a lengthy (and expensive) process.
Normal relies on advanced image processing to create 3D drawings of a person’s ears and then prints them, on-demand, on Stratasys Fortus 250mc 3D printers that they have right there on the showroom floor. You earbuds usually are printed and complete in 48 hours or less. I should mention that the showroom rivals, in my humble opinion, the likes of Apple.
That’s not accurate: They go beyond what Apple does – you feel like you’ve walked into a high-end boutique where service is top of the line. Normal takes customer engagement and personalization to a whole new level — one that offers premium customer service, and product, at an affordable rate ($200 compared to its next competitor that charges $400!). You just feel good walking into their store.
Normal is a great example of a company that is leveraging 3D printing to deliver something that was not possible just a few years ago.
You can get the full spec sheet PDF on the Fortus 250mc here.
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