As the lead engineer of the Atlanta-based tech company, United Sciences, 3D-scans my ear for custom headphones, I watch the shape of my inner ear instantaneously show on a screen in front of me. CEO Sam Kellett is telling me impressive facts about how United Sciences has translated their knowledge of aerospace repair to product wear for the hearing impaired and music buffs everywhere, but the only thing I hear is cha-ching. This technology is going to revolutionize wearables.
United Sciences specializes in holes. Sure, this may sound odd, but when it comes to fixing the tiny schisms that form in aircraft, a technology that is capable of accurately scanning and measuring a cavity with non-contact is important to the safety of millions of travelers each year. The inner human ear with its cavernous mounds and routes is also especially difficult to scan and map. Despite the medical community’s years of studying audiology, no entity until United Sciences, says Kellett, has accurately been able to articulate its anatomy — a unique geometry for every person.
“Holes affect our lives,” says Kellet. “At United Sciences, we break up our world into two types of holes — the human ear and precision engineering. We started with aerospace, which affects 60% of the cost of the airplane — its frame — and 80% of its defects. The human ear is where it’s interesting. Our device works so well, that you can’t tell that it is in.”
United Sciences is preparing to bring its listening technology to the masses through a Kickstarter campaign (that has already trumped its goal of $100,000) for Aware. The commercialization of Aware hopes to provide earbuds that sit perfectly in your ears, but also impressively report biometric data to your smartphone through Bluetooth. These earbuds can track personal information about your physical activity, heart rate, distance, sleep quality, stress levels, and concentration.
It’s 2016, and while we don’t have flying cars yet, we have headphones that can record your brain waves to tell how focused you are and can give an alert when you break concentration (and also play Rihanna while you “work, work, work”).
Aware comes with 16GB of internal storage that can log your data with a hearty battery life that can listen to music for 5 to 6 hours straight. If simultaneously recording biometrics as you groove, the device can last 3 hours. For sleep, it can go for 10 to 12 hours without conking out. The whole system is operated through gesture controls — simple tapping can allow you to send a phone call to voicemail or restart the music.
United Sciences will be at locations worldwide to scan backers of its Kickstarter campaign, which ends May 30th. To date, that’s 4 continents, 24 countries, and 118 cities. Atlanta residents needn’t search far for where to go to find the perfect smart buds. This groundbreaking technology is in their Buckhead backyard.
“Besides being born and raised here, this is an untapped reservoir for engineering talent,” says Kellett about why United Sciences is developing their technology in the South. “[Georgia] Tech is top 5 in every engineering department. Then you look at Duke, which is number 1 in imaging, and then there is Carolina, number 1 in augmented reality. Central Florida is the number 1 simulations group in the world. You have Vanderbilt with their cyber-physics systems group, which just got $400 million for a single project. Everything funnels down to Atlanta. It’s an epicenter. There is a ton of talent for hardware and software, and I’d put its engineers up against anybody.”