In-ear computing (yes, you read that correctly) may not only be the future of streaming music, but also part of how you interact with an ever more connected world. Imagine owning in-ear monitors (that’s audiophile geekspeak for wireless earbuds or IEMs) that produce near pure sound quality like the ones your favorite musicians depend on while performing. Now imagine that they also integrate with open platform apps and connected wireless devices, utilizing voice, touch and gesture controls. Finally, imagine these same IEMs are constructed using materials to represent your own personal style and decadence (cue the social media influencers). This may sound like a niche concept offering at a tech expo, but the T10 Bespoke Ear Computers claim to be able to do all that and more. Kansas City-based Ear Micro, in collaboration with legendary speaker manufacturer Klipsch (headquartered in Indianapolis), believe they have created a new category in the wearable tech space. Their T10 Bespoke is an avant-garde, fully customizable, upgradeable, sustainable and futuristic take on IEMs.

The Concept

The T10 promises to place a microcomputer in your ear that will let you interface seamlessly with the digital world you already live in. It delivers crystal clear audio and advanced technical abilities in a compact format less than half the size of traditional wireless earbuds and is produced with luxury materials and hand-crafted attention normally reserved for jewelry and watchmaking.

The Tech

The computing platform in the T10 is smaller than one cubic centimeter yet is packed with features, including music streaming in near-perfect, full 96 Hz/24-bit high resolution and Twin Cadence Hi-Fi DSPs for EQ tuning to personal preferences, even tuning per song, if desired. It also offers the ability to connect to and control nearly any other connected device via fully on board IFTTT integration. A built in nine-axis gyroscope allows for the T10 to be controlled through traditional voice and touch points, and through non-verbal mouth movement and head motion. The T10’s open platform runs the Bragi OS for hearables with Nano AI. Ear Micro claims that the T10s will deliver nine hours of “playback time,” a leap forward for IEM standards.

The Future

The T10 offers the ability to be modified with upgrades in software, apps, hardware and material customization during purchase or in the future, including third-party apps. If you have technical problems, Ear Micro can repair the components in house, instead of discarding them, to avoid contributing to the computer/plastic waste cycle. Ear Micro’s “All-American Supply Chain,” in theory, should contribute to an overall reduction in their manufacturing carbon footprint.

The Opulence

The base model of the T10 starts at a crisp $2,500 USD (as if you would buy the base model). Customers can choose from near endless materials, textures and color combinations for the handcrafted frames for the earbuds and the surfaces of the charger (which comes with a necklace). To make your T10s truly bespoke, Ear Micro invites you to send in your family jewels or your grandad’s WWII service medal, so they can build them right into your custom design. A prime example of their over-the-top opulence is the Fleur de Grace Violette model, which features nearly three ounces of solid white 10K gold, and 287 real diamonds and amethysts totaling just over six carats and appears as if it was designed by Flava Flav and Elton John. All this “luxury” can be had for a mere $38,200.00 USD.   

The Bottom Line 

The T10 Bespoke is being held up as proof of concept that a company can design, engineer, origin-source and handcraft the most technologically advanced, sustainable, and luxurious audio products here in the USA. I have no reason to believe otherwise. For all aspects of the T10s that Ear Micro got right, they may have missed the mark on one aspect. One of the great ideas behind the T10 is that it is designed with an open attitude toward modifications in hardware, software, app sourcing and user driven evolution. If only the likes of hedge fund managers, Jake Paul, and Kanye have access to this forward-looking tech, it is at risk of withering on the vine. T10s risk only being used as social currency in Instagram posts of cars, vacations on Lake Como, and whatever Kylie Jenner is doing this afternoon. Even such an interesting and boundary pushing technology, without wider usage may stagnate.  All of that said, I am a believer in the free market. Lamborghini, Porsche, and Ferrari seem to have scraped out a space in the over the top, high tech, opulence driven market space, so I may be. We need companies to have big, seemingly wild ideas. That’s how we get the best ideas.

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