Not all headsets are created equal. Everyone is unique, so certain headsets on the market do not fit everyone's individual needs. Our task was to design a headset for a client who wanted to work at a receptionist desk, but only has limited use of one hand. Conventional headsets do not fit him, and he is unable to wear any earpieces that go directly into his ear. Therefore, we created this headset, created from a modified pair of over-the-ear headphones and a telemarketer headset with a microphone. It features a longer microphone that is able to be used at a maximum distance of 5 inches away from the user and a larger band for those who cannot use conventional headsets.
To access the requirements considered when designing this prototype, click here.
To access the findings of a competitor analysis conducted before prototyping, click here.
To access the decision matrix we used to decide on a prototype, click here.
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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
- 1 ProHT Multimedia Headphones (87052) with Microphone, Over-ear Bass Sound Stereo Headphones with Volume Control & Durable Ear Cushion, 3.5mm Miniature Jack ($7.30) (Click here for the link) or alternative over the ear headphones (pictured)
- 1 Arama Cell Phone Headset, 3.5mm Phone Headset With Noise Cancelling Boom Mic for iPhone Mac Samsung Blackberry Mobile Phone and most Smartphones-Mono ($28.99) (Click here for the link)or alternative small telemarketer headset
- Fabric ($8.99 for one yard) Click here for the link
- 1 8.5" x 11" sheet of foam with sticky adhesive ($14.36) Click here for the link to purchase the foam
- 2 aluminum pieces, 25 in by 1 in by 1/16 in ($12.99) Click here for the link
- 4 inches of sticky Velcro ($7.00) Click here for the link
- Superglue ($8.48) Click here for the link
-2 screws ($4.95) Click here for the link
-2 keps nuts ($2.99) Click here for the link
- 3-D Printer (Prusa) with filament
- Philips head screwdriver
- Soldering Iron
- Exacto knife
-Sewing Machine with Thread
Step 2: Test Current Headphone Devices
To make sure your over-the-ear headphones are functioning, plug it into a phone and have someone call you. Make sure you can clearly hear the other person on the other end. If not, acquire another working[pair of headphones. Repeat testing with the smaller telemarketer headset and see if the microphone is functioning. If not, acquire another working telemarketer headset with a microphone.
Another alternative for testing is to plug the headset into a laptop and running a program called audacity. It allows you to record sound and play it back, so you can listen to the sound quality and volume of the headphones.
Step 3: Extract Parts From the Over-the-ear Headphones
Take the over-the-ear headphones and remove the cloth covering. Remove the ear piece of your choice from the plastic headband by separating its two halves. The pieces should easily pop off, and be able to be popped back together without the headband or extra adhesive.
Step 4: Extract Parts From the Over-the-ear Headphones Continued
Turn on the soldering iron and wait until it is warmed up. With the two halves of the earpiece separated, touch the soldering iron to all points where there is silver solder attaching the wire to the miniature circuit board. Remove the wires from the circuit board.
Image: (Electronics, 2018)
Step 5: Extract Parts From the Over-the-ear Headphones Continued
Take a Phillips head screwdriver and remove the microphone from the earpiece by unscrewing the screw at the pivot point. Remove the entire microphone of the over-ear headphones and discard. The microphone from the telemarketer headset will replace it within the following step. As shown in the image, the ear piece should no longer have a microphone or be attached to the plastic band.
Step 6: Extract Parts From the Over-the-ear Headphones Continued
Take the exacto knife and remove the the speaker from the ear piece by tracing the ultrasonic welding bonds. After removing the speaker, there should be a piece of plastic with several holes in it left where the speaker was. Leave the earpiece aside for now; we will come back to it.
Step 7: Extract Parts From the Telemarketer Headset
Take the telemarketer headset, remove the cloth covering from the ear piece, then remove the ear piece from the plastic band. Then, separate the halves of the earpiece, similar to the method used to separate them with the over-ear headphones. Remove the speaker from the headset, put the cloth back on the plastic, and set that aside.
Step 8: Extract Parts From the Telemarketer Headset Continued
Remove the microphone from the rounded plastic piece by unscrewing the two screw connecting the microphone to the white spiraling piece within the cover. Next, desolder the microphone from the circuit board of the speaker, but keep in mind which wires were soldered to which part of the circuit board, as they will be soldered again later. Once the microphone is detached, hold onto the two screws, the white connecting piece, and the microphone.
Step 9: Extract Parts From the Telemarketer Headset Continued
Use the following link to make a headphone adapter for the microphone to fit onto the over-ear piece. Export the CAD file to a 3D printer and print.
Step 10: Attaching the Speaker to the Over-ear Headphones
Now take the earpiece from the over-ear headphones and the exacto knife. On the plastic half with the holes, use the exacto knife to cut a hole that is large enough to fit the telemarketer speaker in.
Step 11: Attaching the Speaker to the Over-ear Headphones Continued
Take the speaker from the telemarketer headset and make sure its wires are soldered to the circuit board and that the microphone is no longer soldered to it. Thread the wires and the circuit board of the speake rthrough the hole of the ear piece, so they reside within the inside of the ear piece. Put the cloth coverings back on the telemarketer speaker and the larger over the ear piece.
Step 12: Adding the Microphone to the Headset
Place the white microphone connecting piece within the 3D printed adapter so that the flat edge points out. Place the microphone on the other end of the 3D printer adapter and use the small screws to screw it back in. Check to make sure that the microphone is able to rotate without tangling its wires.
Step 13: Adding the Microphone to the Headset Continued
Place the white adapter on the outside part of the headset, on the plastic part that juts out from the ear piece, on the opposite side of the speaker with the cloth covering. Thread the microphone's wires through the middle of the hole, where the microphone from the over-the-ear headphones was attached. Do not attach the other half of the earpiece yet.
Step 14: Adding the Microphone to the Headset Continued
Solder the wires of the microphone back to the circuit board with the wires of the speaker in the correct order as noted before. Snap the two parts of the ear piece back together and make sure the earpiece is secure and will not separate.
Step 15: Adding the Microphone to the Headset Continued
Slide the 3D printed adapter off the earpiece, making sure the wires are still soldered to the circuit board within the earpiece. Add super glue to the inside of the adapter and the plastic piece of the earpiece that juts out.
Step 16: Adding the Microphone to the Headset Continued
Secure the adapter to the plastic piece by slowly sliding the piece on, making sure that the stopper on the earpiece, which prevents the microphone from being able to complete a 360 degree rotation, is pointed up. Check to make sure that the adapter will not slide off.
Step 17: Creating the Headband
Next, overlay the two pieces of aluminum so that they create one long piece of aluminum which is your desired headband length (we used 18 in). Insert two screws into metal's holes (see image). Screw them in using the keps nuts and a wrench or screwdriver. If there are no holes in your metal, drill two holes a third of the way from where the metals meet on both ends.
Step 18: Creating the Headband
Now, take the ends of the long metal piece and bend the entire piece so that it matches the size of the head of the person you are making this headset for. Then, cut out strips of the foam with adhesive and cover the long metal piece on both its 1 in x 25 in sides, except leaving 5 inches of one of the ends exposed.
Step 19: Attaching the Ear Piece to the Headband
Take the exposed end of the metal and insert it into the ear piece, where the original plastic headband was before. It should fit snugly and not allow the ear piece to wiggle. If it does, the metal piece can be pushed into the ear piece further
Step 20: Adding Fabric
Using your favorite type of fabric, sew a covering for the headband, long enough to cover the entire headband and 2 inches of the ear piece.
Step 21: Attaching the Fabric
Slide the end of the headband covered in foam into the fabric pocket and pull the pocket to the other end where the ear piece is.
Step 22: Adding Velcro
Glue or stick Velcro to the earpiece where the fabric covering would stretch to, and add Velcro to the end of the fabric pocket. Then attach the end to the earpiece with the Velcro.
Step 23: Final Testing
To make sure your newly made headset is fully functional, repeat the test we used in the beginning. Plug the headset into a phone and have someone call your phone. If you can hear them, then the speaker is working and if they can hear you, the microphone is working. Alternatively, you could test both the speaker and microphone with audacity as well by recording with the microphone and listening to the quality and volume of the playback through the speaker.
Step 24: Troubleshooting
If the sound quality has decreased or there is no sound at all:
- Make sure the volume of the phone is all the way up when testing
- Check to make sure that all the wires are soldered on the correct places of the circuit board. Remember, you should have noted where the microphone wires were, and you should not have desoldered the speaker's wires. -- - Check to see if any of the wires had been frayed or damaged. In that case, you may have to replace them by removing the old wire with wire cutters, using wire strippers to expose the non-damaged wire, and twisting new wire onto that end.
Step 25: Tips
-If the headband becomes larger than anticipated, place the foam end on a table and bend the other end towards it so it makes the headband a smaller circumference
- The fabric pocket can be removed and washed, and then attached again via velcro
Step 26: Improvements and Extension Projects
This prototype, which is the 14th version had had many improvements done on it including using a better speaker and microphone, replacing the type of material of the headband, and adding foam to the entire band for more comfort. In future projects, the cushions for the headphones could be replaced with higher quality ones. Additionally, the headband pocket can be more tightly fitted, and perhaps a different metal can be used that has more elastic properties that create the clamping feeling that the original plastic had.
Step 27: Resources and Works Cited
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Electronics Primer (2018). Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/how-to-solder.
Goodner, S. (2016, December 19). 5 Aspects That Determine Comfort and Fit of On-/Over-Ear Headphones. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/why-headphones-fit-4120070
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