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In-Ear Headphone Proposal.lewandowski

In-Ear Headphone Proposal.lewandowski

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Published by Amir Zonozi

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Published by: Amir Zonozi on Mar 26, 2011
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Andy Lewandowski Profs.

Osborn and Ribes CCTP 506, Section 6 14 March 2011 Group Project Proposal: Headphones Headphones are a small pair of loudspeakers meant for individual use. They are designed to be used close to one’s ears and to connect to a single source of audio. They are also known as stereophones, headsets, cans, or earphones, which is a special type that is designed for in-ear use. Headphones arose from the design and use of the telephone earpiece, which was a common device used at the beginning of the twentieth century. It precedes amplifiers, as it was then the only was to listen to audio signals. Today, headphones are widespread in their use and their penetration into many aspects of modern day life could be considered unprecedented. For the purposes of the group project, studying headphones as a technology would be rich in both content and context, unpacking how it is or is not linear, efficient, apolitical and grand. Did headphones simply arise from the telephone earpiece? Was the U.S. Navy’s adoption of headphones blatantly political? Is there a better way to personally listen to/consume audio? Were headphones once grand, and now banal? These are some of the immediate and certainly facile questions that arise when taking a cursory examination of the technology. Due to the fact that headphones are such a standard part of everyday life, investing time and research into its function as a technology is relevant. Headphones, after all, are highly personal technological objects, which we constantly pair and un-pair with our digital devices on a daily basis. As of late, they have even become a fashion statement, personalizing yet another part of one’s functional devices. Headphones have the ability to transport one into another place and time, or can simply block out the current place and time altogether. Most importantly, headphones are consequential as a technology whose penetration into modern day life is impressive. How do they affect inter-personal relationships? What has their effects on industry been, especially regarding television/film/media? Has their design been locked in, with more efficient alternatives perhaps available? Is their value related to actual audio quality, or the freedom and individual liberty associated with its use? Studying headphones as a technology will enable the exploration of these and many more questions while simultaneously humanizing their purpose and use in society.

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