Here One | Doppler Labs
Wireless Ear Buds
Here One was one of the first truly wireless headphones with real world sound control to hit the market in 2016. The product aimed to give users control of the sounds around them as well as stream music and phone calls through a smartphone app. The product was a huge step forward for Doppler Labs and a significant challenge both in terms of the technology and the design of the product itself.
The initial design research and early concept phases took place in a world where truly wireless earbuds did not yet exist. The design team ideated around the functional challenges associated with a wireless product but also wrestled with more philosophical questions such as "what do we want this technology to feel like?" and "what are users attitudes toward new technology such as HereOne?". Through an iterative process that resulted in the creation of hundreds of prototypes and involved users with all kinds of ears and backgrounds a new product architecture emerged that set the foundation for the design of Here One.
The core idea behind the design was to make a new and complex technology as simple and approachable as any of the products we have adapted into our day to day lives. The form factor needed to be clearly distinguished from stigmatic hearing aids and polarizing blue-tooth headsets yet speak to the fact that this was not just another headphone. It was a new kind of product from a new brand.
With the goal of making a product that was approachable and comfortable to a broad range of users the team developed a form factor that distributed the largest components efficently within the ear. This compact form factor proved to move the center of gravity closer to the head for a more secure fit. The pronouced circular shape in the design embraces the circular geometry of the battery which allowed a smaller and more efficent shape, benefitting smaller ears.
Recognizing the limited battery life of a wireless product and the fear users had of loosing their buds the team designed a portable charging case. The combination of a carrying case and a power bank feature gave users a consistent incentive to returning the buds to the case after each use.
The case design was inspired by objects that people carry in pockets and handbags and was driven by a goal of making the buds as easy to access as possible for the user. The final design incorporates a satisfying lid mechanism and a compact form that presents the buds and relevant charging information in a welcoming way.
"The form factor needed to be clearly distinguished from the stigmatic hearing aids and polarizing blue-tooth headsets yet speak to the fact that this was not just another headphone."
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