Interview with designer Petur Hannes Olafsson (PO), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Buddyphones Inflight Kids Headphones.

 
 
 
 
For High-Resolution Images & More Info Visit: http://www.adesignaward.com/design.php?ID=47189

Interview with Petur Hannes Olafsson at Tuesday 26th of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
PO : Traveling with kids is seldom hassle free and served as inspiration to create headphones that withstand being crammed into backpacks in chaotic situations, offer a 3-volume setting of 75db, 85db and 94db to tackle noisy situation such as travelling by airplane, allowing parents to control the volume depending on environment. The In-Flight BuddyPhones are designed for little travellers to enjoy their trip, protect their hearing, share with buddies, and buy mom and dad a little peace and quiet.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
PO : Our main focus was giving the parents control over how to use the product, depending on different environment. With a volume limiting circuitry that caps at 85db, as recommended by the WHO for kids, InFlight BuddyPhones offer a 3 volume setting of 75db, 85db and 94db, allowing parents to control the volume. While 94db is great for louder situations, 75db is viable for children with sensitive hearing, attention deficits and autism.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
PO : We want to build the awareness for safe kids listening and as well finding right partners to bring our product to market. Third part is continue our journey of making the safest kids headphones on the market.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
PO : The project started in June 2015 and finished in February 2016 in Hong Kong.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
PO : BuddyPhones InFlight is the result of a pursuit of pure inspiration, which is travelling with kids and how we can make it easier.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
PO : We do all our production ourselves through contract manufacturing, so everything is under the umbrella brand onanoff and name of Buddyphones

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
PO : We wanted to make travelling with your family a little bit easier and more enjoyable. Offering quality headphones for kids with a 3-volume setting of 75db, 85db and 94db to tackle noisy situation such as travelling by airplane, and allowing parents to control the volume depending on environment. We also wanted to design headphones that are sturdy and durable, so we created foldable headbands that are less likely to snap if they are sat on, dropped or twisted. Soft and flexible to withstand pulling yet sturdy enough to hold its shape.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
PO : My amazing team at onanoff all had valuable input in the design process, as well as the kids who gave our prototypes a test run. Their feedback, as well as their parent's feedback was very important for us to make the best BuddyPhones InFlight we possibly could.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
PO : Target customers are kids of all ages and parents who want to protect their children's delicate hearing, but still have the option of controlling the volume in different situations such as while travelling by air.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
PO : After researching the market we realised there was a lack of high quality volume limiting headphones for kids that would a tackle noisy situation like airplanes. BuddyPhones InFlight offer a 3 volume setting of 75db, 85db and 94db, allowing parents to control the volume. While 94db is great for louder situations, 75db is viable for children with sensitive hearing, attention deficits and autism. Durable, comfortable with soft ear pads, two prong plug, foldable handles, and can be adjusted to fit. Four audio cables can connect to one device for sharing.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
PO : BuddyPhones InFlight are all about sharing, safety and travelling. They are aptly named BuddyPhones as they are designed to be shared with you best buddy. Up to four buddies can share one device squabble-free, using the BuddyCable audio splitter. InFlight because their design allows you to tackle noisy situation such as travelling by airplane.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
PO : Autocad, Illustrator, Photoshop.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
PO : With a volume limiting circuitry that caps at 85db, as recommended by the WHO for kids, InFlight BuddyPhones offer a 3 volume setting of 75db, 85db and 94db, allowing parents to control the volume. While 94db is great for louder situations, 75db is viable for children with sensitive hearing, attention deficits and autism. Durable, comfortable with soft ear pads, two prong plug, foldable handles, and can be adjusted to fit. Four audio cables can connect to one device for sharing.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
PO : After first testing we worked with acoustic experts and local audiologists to get the best safe quality sound as well mechanical engineers to make it robust enough and that the materials where safe. We worked as well with different parties to ensure the social compliance of our manufacturing partners.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
PO : BuddyPhones are made from robust materials, ABS housing and headband made of specially calibrated polyproplene that bends. We designed them to be capped at 3 volume levels for different enviromental settings. To change volume we use a a child-proof twist resembling a medical bottle safety cap, that can be easily adjusted by an adult. A detachable cord provides less entanglement risk as it plugs out of the headphones if pulled. The BuddyCable allows up to 4 headphones to connect to one device.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
PO : We researched the market and found a gap for kids headphones with volume control that would a tackle noisy situation like airplanes. There was a definite lack of high quality volume limiting headphones for kids out there that would work well on an airplane, which further fuelled our creation of the product.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
PO : Achieving the durability we wanted and reach our standard of safety. After first testing we worked with acoustic experts and local audiologists to get the best quality sound. Based on feedback the PU cushioning was made anti-allergic for kids sensitive skin and bendy headbands less likely to snap if they are sat on, dropped or twisted. It took time to get the formula right, plastic had to be strong but not so brittle it would break. Soft and flexible to withstand pulling yet sturdy enough to hold its shape.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
PO : We've put a lot of work and effort making BuddyPhones InFlight and so we were curious to see if their quality would be recognised by an international design competition.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
PO : It was a long road to achieving the durability we wanted and reach our standard of safety. By keep working on it and not giving up, we learned there is always room for improvement.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
PO : I think it's all been covered fairly well, thank you.