UNUM

A Catalyst for the Future of Personal Audio

UNUM personal audio design concept with open-ear architecture by frog
A Catalyst for the Future of Personal Audio - UNUM
A Catalyst for the Future of Personal Audio - UNUM
“UNUM is meant to be part of the world, and not a separate world. It rethinks what a headphone can be from the ground up. If a user wants to isolate themselves, they have many products available to them to do so. UNUM is meant to inspire a conversation around the future of audio and as such, takes a hard stance in the opposite direction to create a new type of product.”
Adam Wrigley and Jung Soo Park, for Forbes
UNUM is a design concept that envisions the future of personal audio products and challenges today’s social norms around what it means to be wearing a personal audio product in public spaces. UNUM challenges the idea that headphone usage is an isolating social experience—the open format design allows users to remain present in their real-world communications.
Challenging Social Norms
The initial concept came about by challenging the standard headphones architecture itself by getting rid of the main driver cap to open up the ear. Through further ideation, the team redefined what the new open-ear headphone might look like, and how it impacts the usability and perception around a new category of product.
Always On, Always Present
Designed to always be worn, UNUM provides ambient and augmented audio while keeping the user present in their surroundings. The open ear architecture frames the ear without covering it, making it clear that the user can still hear their surroundings. Designed for the Zero UI era, we envision increasing opportunities to arise as sound becomes more central to digital product development.
Provocative Innovation
UNUM is very different from what's out in the market today, and is meant to be thought-provoking and a conversation starter. With this concept product, the ultimate goal is to see how the public reacts to the idea of augmented audio that's always on. In the age of digitization, increasing isolation has become the norm—we made a product to combat that isolation by opening the user up to the surrounding world.
A Catalyst for the Future of Personal Audio - UNUM
A Catalyst for the Future of Personal Audio - UNUM
Provocation
We started with a question: What is the future of personal audio?
Concept
We then created fit prototypes and semi-functional works-like prototypes to test the concept
Storytelling
We created compelling visuals to showcase the concept and draw inter
UNUM was a concept project conceived by a group of industrial designers based in frog’s Dumbo studio. While the product has yet to reach market, the concept has received a lot of traction, including articles by Forbes, Venture Beat, Digital Trends and Core77. The team is currently looking for a partner and manufacturer to help bring UNUM to life.