Nikki Kaufman: Kaufman learned about 3-D printing while at Quirky, a startup that crowdsources product ideas. Inspired by her subpar earphone experiences–and the promise of endless customization that 3-D printing offered–she started Normal.
Philosophy: “I love good, functional products that let the world in on the design process.”
Inspiration: “As a swimmer in high school, I would listen to Moby before races to concentrate. I still get into ‘race mode’ when I hear him.”
Normal Earbuds: Most earbuds are uncomfortable and don’t fit snugly. Normal replaces awkwardly shaped speaker housings with 3-D–printed forms of soft plastic tailored for anyone’s ear.
Significance: Before, personalized earphones meant irksome molding, high cost, and a long wait. Now you can get one-of-a-kind buds in two days.
Process: Customers snap photos of both ears using Normal’s app, which converts them into renderings. Printers then make individually sized buds. Within hours, the
Normals are on their way.