Ushering in the Era of Tech Jewellery

by Reema Farooqui

The NOVA H1- Smart Earrings, where Jewellery Meets Tech

The NOVA H1 smart earrings are a game changer in the world of earphones and earrings. Meeting at the crossroads of jewellery and technology, these Audio Earrings have been designed specifically for women, keeping their likes and needs in mind.

Created by NOVA Products GmbH (now Icebach Sound Solutions) a Munich-based tech company, the NOVA H1 earrings are the first pair of earrings in the world that also double as ear phones, connecting via Bluetooth to smart phones. Laurence Gaubert, CEO of NOVA, observed that “as a woman, I often wondered why I had to choose between technology and style.” The NOVA H1 smart earrings very smoothly bridge the gap between functionality and elegance.

Directional Sound Technology

Set with large, white freshwater pearls measuring approximately 12.5 mm, and worn on the ear lobes, on the surface, the NOVA H1 earrings look like fine jewellery. However, embedded within the pearls are tiny electronics, which are made using NOVA’s patented ‘Directional Sound’ technology. This technology allows “out-of-ear” hearing, as opposed to the “inside-ear” and “above-the-ear” hearing technology of standard earphones and headphones.

The essential concept underlying these earrings is for the wearer to be aware of their surroundings while still being connected, through Bluetooth, with their smartphones. In a way, the experience of Directional Sound can be compared to AR (Augmented Reality) technology. Just like AR, with Directional Sound, another layer of sound (from the phone) is added to the existing layers of sounds that surround the wearer. According to Gaubert, it is like “having a soundtrack that accompanies you throughout the day.”

Developed for Women

The impetus for developing the smart earrings stemmed from a need to have earphones for women that gave them the ease of connectivity without completely cutting them off from their surroundings. Thus, safety considerations were also top of mind during the design and development process of the Audio Earrings. Headphones as well as earphones often dampen surrounding sounds. But the out-of-ear hearing experience of the smart earrings allows women to hear everything around them, even as they hold conversations on the phone or listen to music, through their smart earrings.

“Up until now, audio devices were created by and for men, and the female version came down to the choice of color.” Gaubert decided that instead of developing ear phones in pink colour and marketing them to women, she would put the needs of women at the core of her design process. For her, functionality going hand in hand with style was of paramount importance. With the smart earrings, which look like fine jewellery set with large, white freshwater pearls, women no longer have to juggle between wearing earrings and ear phones at the same time. They are also able to avoid the mini tussle that everyone wearing ear phones faces when they have to put on a mask.

Available as nickel-free, gold- or silver-plated ear clips, the NOVA H1 earrings can be worn throughout the day. Nevertheless, since they are an electronic device, they must be taken off before going to bed. The back of the earrings contains an exchangeable battery that gives 4.5 hours of use in one charge. When not in use, the earrings go into ultra sleep mode.

The choice of using freshwater pearls as a gem-adornment for the smart earrings was also a considered decision. “We chose the freshwater pearls because it is a luxury material and women around the world know and love pearls,” explains Gaubert.

The NOVA H1 Audio Earrings were presented at the Paris Fashion Week in October last year. At present, the smart earrings are available for purchase in Switzerland, the EU and the UK. NOVA plans to start retailing them in the US, Canada and Japan by the middle of 2023. Like many other initiatives that are taking place at the intersection of fine jewellery and technology, the NOVA H1 Audio earrings are set to change the way we look at earphones and pearl earrings.

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