Colourful Ears: Update

You may recall that about two months ago I announced a new (at the time seemingly ridiculous) mini-side-project called Colourful Ears.* The aim of which is to produce an add-on for hearing aids, which would allow for easily switching between designs and for easier decorating by all.



We prototyped this as a 3D model that could be used for either right or left hearing aids. Then, through the magic of the internet we had them printed. At this point, I must give a massive shout out to Neil Patterson of the Silverstone UTC who hooked us up with not only printing assistance, but also some brilliant smoothing of our mesh. We couldn’t have done this without him. Well, we could have – but it would have been a way bigger faff.

The support we’ve received from people and the level of interest in this project has been brilliant. <cough Lucy Rogers cough>

Now, without further ado, drumroll please, ratatata (etc)… this is the result:

(R) Smoothed, (L) Unsmoothed

(R) Smoothed; (L) Unsmoothed


(L) Smoothed, fitted; (R) Unsmoothed, unfitted

(L) Smoothed, fitted; (R) Unsmoothed, unfitted


Right, I know these are sort of dorky clunky white – but once we have the next round of prototypes I’ll have a bash at decorating them.

Now, for a first prototype these are brilliant. They are almost exactly what we are looking for in a final ‘product’. We knew there would be little tweaks necessary, so now we need to work on extending them to cover the full sides, adjusting the openings around the buttons and switches for easier access, and ensuring the microphones are kept free.

Because of the precision required, we may have to move to 3D scanning, opposed to manual mesh modelling. However, Dr. Pipe & Slippers and I are heading to the Maker Faire in a few weekends, where I am sure we will get some fantastic ideas (especially with regards to the level of detail achievable and the variety of printable materials available).

Now, with regards to the Colour Run. I haven’t actually registered, because up until this point we’ve had so many offers of assistance and enthusiasm for the project that we’ve been able to do everything relatively inexpensively (apart from the time element – but hey, it’s a hobby at this point). So, I will hold off on any funding drive until we’re at a point where it’s actually required. Also, I’m lazy. And busy.

However the charity Hearing Dogs, which I still hope to raise some money for, have recently had a bumper crop of puppies and are in need of donations to help support their process of becoming full fledged hearing dogs – so if you can spare a bit and help them out that would be great. Also, puppies!

So… what do you think?

*We need a better name, eh?

†It’s surprisingly hard to find BSL GIFs!

Currently, we are only prototyping for our make/model of hearing aids, but if this works we should be able to create add ons for other makes/models too!


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