Call for proposals: designing an open source microphone clip that can hold a microphone in front of mouth and in high proximity to the mouth

We want to make breathing games, breathing interaction, and voice interfacing more accessible and for that reason we are calling out 3D designers to submit their design of a microphone clip that can hold a phone microphone (already available on wired earphone/microphone headsets) right in front of users’ mouth comfortably and firmly. Without such a holder (clip), the microphone moves freely around your head. Holding microphone in a fixed position enables less variation in loudness which is especially useful when talking quietly.

Credits: Gettyimages 

What are use cases for such a design?

  • Using a mic holder will enable users to speak much quieter than usually- this enables for example recording voice recordings (memos) in loud public spaces, having phone calls while a kid or spouse is sleeping,
  • Recording private or confidential voice notes and memos in public or in a non-safe environment,
  • Voice controlling computers (ok google/siri/alexa) more quietly,
  • ASMR, proximity whispering, and similar acoustic interactions,
  • Speech therapy, pronunciation exercises,
  • Biofeedback, anxiety management, panic attack management,
  • Guided breathing exercises such as breathing games, duh!

What’s wrong with the available microphone headsets today?

Currently available microphone headsets have the microphone in the wrong position – too far from mouth and at the wrong angle. Although suited for capturing loud voices those headsets are not appropriate for quiet voice interfacing or breathing interaction. The best available solution today is our Breathing+ headset by Breathing Labs, but we assume it is possible to design a simpler, easier to carry, and more accessible microphone clip that could be used in many additional use cases, such as those listed above.

What kinds of designs should we propose?

You should propose a 3D design of a plastic clip, which can hold a microphone on a wired headset (like these) in front of the users mouth. You can limit your design to a specific headset, such as “Apple Earbuds” or “Samsung phone headset”. A 3D-printer friendly file is required (probably STL) and additionally your design should be submitted in an open format appropriate for further modification (such as C4D, Blender, Sketchup, Maya4D, Rhino3D…).

Can the clip be supported by other wearables such as face masks, sanitary masks, or eyeglasses?

Yes, you can attach your clip to face masks, Covid masks, kitchen sanitary masks, eyeglasses, or other wearables. Unconventional ideas like piercings with Bluetooth microphones or implants with piezo sensors can also be submitted and we will check if those are feasible with available technology like MEMS microphones and low energy Bluetooth hardware. The main obstacle in such cases seems to be the size and weight of the battery. We are happy to elaborate on this matter anytime later.

How is intellectual property handled in this case?

The author will keep all of the moral rights to their invention and will receive credit anywhere their design will be available. Others can modify said design and in such a case, their name will be added after the original author’s. Anyone can sell those 3D printed designs personally, or through 3D printing services such as i.materialise.comshapeways.com3dhubs.comsyncfab.com but must list authors where advertising this design. Please consider that the design source will also be publicly available so that customers can also decide not to purchase and instead 3D print the product themselves. The design will be publicly available through CERN-OHL-W-2.0 license, learn more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERN_Open_Hardware_Licence

Will others be able to sell my 3-D print designs?

If they will comply with the licence used, yes. Companies such as Breathing Labs may sell your designs in hardware/software combination or in a hardware as a service business model. Any use must comply with the licence used, hence original authors must be listed, etc. Authors can also issue a take down or force sellers to seize and desist advertising their design if use would be immoral by authors’ opinion.