Ambie (a Japan-based firm) released earphones that do not block earholes Feb 9, 2017.
They guide sound reproduced by driver units(to be positioned behind ears) to earholes by using curved sound-conducting tubes.
The price of the earphones, "ambie sound earcuffs," is ¥5,500 (approx US$48, excluding tax). The product comes in six colors. It is sold at online stores, select shops, etc. As of Feb 10, 2017, a large number of orders were being placed, and the first lots of some colors were sold out, Ambie said.
According to the company, the shape that does not block earholes solves some problems of conventional earphones. Specifically, the new product reduces load on eardrums, preventing the user from getting tired. It prevents sweat from being accumulated and earholes from being stuffy. It reduces "touch noise" produced by cords scratching each other as well as discomfort caused by "resonating breath."
For the earphones, Ambie employed a dynamic driver unit equipped with an external magnetic field-type magnetic circuit. Because of their structure, the earphones cannot completely eliminate sound leakage. But the company reduced sound leakage to a level that is equivalent to the sound leakage of commonly-used earphones and does not cause a major problem in daily use.
The Y-shaped cable of the earphones is about 1.2m long. The new product is equipped with a microphone and a remote control. The weight of the main unit (excluding the cable) is about 5.2g.
Ambie is a joint venture between WiL (the US-based venture capital) and Sony Video & Sound Products Inc (a Sony Corp's subsidiary that deals with acoustic technologies, etc). It was established Jan 11, 2017. It deals with audio products and digital contents by combining WiL's knowhow in open innovation and acoustic technologies. The earphones are the company's first product.