Using a novel technology that monitors the acoustic emissions that people’s ears produce as they listen, Nura headphones and earphones can detect the frequencies to which each individual listener is most sensitive. By processing these signals and syncing with a user’s smartphone, the devices then adjust their output, such that each wearer receives a transmission of sound that is uniquely and specifically designed for her or his ears. For audiophiles, as well as people with sensitive or difficulty hearing, the outcome is revelatory.

The Australian company that created the technology started on Kickstarter, where it raised nearly US$2 million—the largest campaign ever to come from Australia. Its first product, the Nuraphones, featured a can design, such that the headphones fit over users’ ears. It prompted nearly universally positive reviews in terms of performance. But people were less enthused with some other features, including the need to wear the headphones outside rather than wedging them in their ears.

Thus Nura’s most recent product introduction is the NuraLoop. This earphone version of the listening device offers the same functionality and syncing capabilities, but it is smaller and more compact than the Nuraphones, as well as comfortable for a wider range of users. Furthermore, the company worked to identify and head off any complaints that consumers might have expressed, before ever introducing the design.

For example, the NuraLoop battery lasts for 16 hours of use, and in a pinch, a quick 10-minute charge can provide about 2 hours of playback. The earphones also are very lightweight. Although they are wireless in terms of their connectivity, a cable runs behind users’ heads, connecting each bud, to avoid the risk of one of them falling out and being lost. They turn off automatically when removed from the ears, and TouchDials on the earpieces allow people to adjust the volume, pause, or skip tracks with a single touch.

These features reflect the expert input that Nura gathered from users when developing the devices, including from professional DJs. With a retail price of around US$200, Nura hopes that the personalized listening options that its NuraLoops provide soon will make the rounds among regular music listeners too.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what stage of the product development lifecycle are Nuraphones? NuraLoop devices?
  2. How should Nura price its offerings to increase adoption?

Source: Mark Sparrow, “These New Earphones from Nura Can Create a Personal Profile for your Ears Only,” Forbes, May 20, 2020