So, you gently try to make as little mess and fuss as possible, slowly unravelling the wires from paper clips among other things, and then the headphones are free. A silent, but delighted, hallelujah follows!
But, the headphones you’ve worked so hard to procure are more knotted than a seaman’s ropes. Now, the next stage begins. As you start from one end it brings on a flashback of the Christmas lights. A bit of a fiddle later, but finally you are good to go. That’s until you realise... ‘That was my stop!’
The challenge this month is to therefore come up with a way of stopping, or at least controlling, headphone wires from knotting. While Apple’s AirPods go some way to solving the problem, having two small fiddly earpieces might as well come with a disclaimer that says, ‘Warning: Easily Lost’. The other thing is the price tag – for £150 most of us would stick to a bit of dodgy rummaging on trains.
We also don’t want to be a wasteful bunch and needlessly throw out the unbroken old ones, what we want is some simple and cheap way of containing the cables, so this is not about designing new headphones, but stopping the wires getting tangled. Surely, industry has some wire or cable management solutions that can be transferred to stop our headphone wire woes?
The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the December issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit ideas to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
There were a few solutions to last month’s Coffee Time Challenge, to design a way of stopping headphone cables getting tangled. The first, and our favourite, was the cables that have a zip embedded on the wires that simply does up when packing them away, and then simply unzips when the headphones are to be used.
The second comes from Crowdfunder, CordCruncher, which puts an adjustable plastic sleeve over the cables to keep them from wrapping around each other and becoming knotted.
Another notable solution was mobu, which analysed the mathematical theory behind tangling and found that by simply attaching the long ends together with a clip dramatically reduces the chance of tangling. If the ends do tangle, pulling the ends almost certainly unravels the mess!