Australian startup pioneers ‘perfect’ headphones

Global Business

A few years ago, Kyle Slater set out on a quest. Relying on his training in electronic engineering and a passion for music, Slater wanted to know how to make the perfect headphones.

“The answer was quite simple,” said the entrepreneur. “The perfect headphones don’t exist, only the headphones that are perfect for you.”

CGTN’s Greg Navarro reports on this burgeoning business.

Australian startup pioneers 'perfect' headphones

Australian startup pioneers 'perfect' headphones

A few years ago, Kyle Slater set out on a quest. Relying on his training in electronic engineering and a passion for music, Slater wanted to know how to make the perfect headphones. "The answer was quite simple,” said the entrepreneur. “The perfect headphones don't exist, only the headphones that are perfect for you." CGTN's Greg Navarro reports on this burgeoning business.

That idea led to the creation of Melbourne startup Nura, and a technology that tailors the sound to the user’s hearing.

“We realized (that) to get closer to perfect we needed to start understanding how the person is part of the sound process,” Nura Co-Founder and CEO Kyle Slater said.

The technology is built on the idea that we all hear things differently. In fact, your hearing is as unique to you as your fingerprint.

The first time the headphones are worn, they send sound waves into the ear. That triggers electrical impulses to the brain which sends a sound wave back to the ear, creating a person’s hearing signature. This is how Nura raised awareness about its technology, through the recorded experiences of first-time listeners.

“That’s what drives it,” said Nura Direct Marketing Manager Sonia Miles-Khan. “Seeing people have that reaction is the most important part.”

The company turned to crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise $100,000. It ended up with almost $1.9 million, the most ever for an Australian campaign.

But success for this start up isn’t guaranteed in an established multi-billion dollar market, where fashion and brand names are important. And unlike most headphones, buyers won’t be able to try these before you buy them.

“There could be a risk of expectations that when people try it on, they try it on and realize hey, maybe this isn’t for me,” said University of New South Wales Senior Lecturer Martin Bliemel. Bliemel is an innovation and entrepreneurship expert.

The makers of Nura headphones say their technology could have medical applications for people with hearing impairment. But for now the company is focused on the consumer sector and the quest to find the perfect sound.