Korvaa: A Pair Of Biodegradable Headphones Developed By A Finnish Design Studio
“Electronics” and “Growing” are probably two words that may not have previously co-existed in the past, though not anymore. Reports claim that almost 400 million headphone units were retailed in the year 2018 alone. The highly popular gadgets are fabricated out of a variety of materials such as leather, plastic and mesh, all of which are not exactly environment favourable. As a solution, Finnish Design Studio Aivan has designed the Korvaa headphones that are extremely environment friendly. In fact, the materials used form a crucial basis of the environment itself.
The headband of the Korvaa headset is born out of a 3D printer and designed with the help of a bioplastic formulated from yeast produced lactic acid. Notably, the earcup padding is made out of Hydrophobin. The compound is known for its ability to form a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating on the surface of an object. It is essentially a foaming protein generated by a type fungus and plant cellulose. Instead of the mesh used in conventional headphones, the Korvaa headset uses a biosynthetic spider silk that is produced by microbes. The outer foam used in the headphones is a composite compound made out of mycelium and cellulose.
The headphones are a result of a joint venture between Avian, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research. First showcased at an event in Helinski, the headphones are still in a prototype stage, which means that except the outer casing, no electronic components are present inside the headset. However, The company aims to incorporate the same “growing electronics” technology in future headphones, so that e-waste generation can be put on hold. If the technology is developed further, bio-engineered products might be a common sight while shopping in the future.