With wireless headphones and premium audio processing both firmly established in the market, it’s been hard to imagine where the personal audio market goes from here. Looks like it’s not just about making them look cooler — a Kickstarter project from a company called Ora is using a new wonder material that could change headphones and speakers for good.
Call the Ora GrapheneQ headphones a test run. The headphones’ speaker diaphragms are made from graphene, the atom-thick wonder material that we saw in that high-fashion conductive dress a while ago. Despite being so thin, graphene is 200 times as strong as steel. That strength combined with flexibility, in theory, makes it an ideal choice for speaker diaphragms — not only should they resist distortion, they should last longer.
Of course, is Ora is going to champion a new technology, they’re going to try to make sure the whole experience is high-end. They’ve stuffed their headphones with features and premium materials — they can be used as wired or wireless headphones, have touchpad controls on an earcup, and use aluminum on the headband and lambskin leather on the earcups for comfort and to create a tight seal. They’ll be good for calls too, thanks to a digital MEMS microphone. They’ve got a distinctive teardrop design to give them a little flair, too.
The Ora Graphene Headphones Kickstarter campaign easily passed its funding goal, and is now sitting on a little over $370,000 to put these headphones into production. That might still be a challenge when dealing with a material that still isn’t mainstream yet, so as always be aware that delays and disappointments could result from Kickstarter contributions.
It’s also true that a lot of high-end headphones today sound really, really good. But, there’s always room for improvement, and if you want to be one of the first to find out whether or not graphene is the way forward, you can still toss about $275 ($359 CAD) onto the Kickstarter pile to reserve a pair when they ship out. Shipping is currently scheduled for March 2018.