Photo Tour: Ears And Foam At The Plantronics Lab

Photo Tour: Ears And Foam At The Plantronics Lab

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We showed off video footage of the weird “wall of ears” in Plantronics’ California lab earlier this year, but the whole place is infused with an impressive kind of sci-fi vibe (and the resulting gear is very impressive). I took a tour through the facility earlier this year; here’s some of the highlights.

I’m no audio expert, so even after having it explained to me I can’t tell you what most of this stuff is used for (beyond very, very thorough testing to ensure audio can be heard properly in all kinds of weird scenarios). I can tell you that it costs a lot and that the whole vibe is very reminiscent of what mad scientist labs used to look like in 1960s films. Which is no bad thing.

 title=The “wall of patents” greets visitors on arrival. I guess we can deduce that there won’t be a lot of Creative Commons love around here then.

 title=That acoustic testing mannequin might look like a prop from Are You Being Served?, but it costs more than $US20,000. No wonder they couldn’t afford a nicer colour for the foam.

 title=“Can we have our own wind tunnel?” “Sure, why not?”

 title=Let’s face it, your home acoustic dampening will never be this impressive. Alternatively, it’s a torture chamber for the Muppets.

 title=Triangles! We must have more triangles!

 title=One of the strange things about the labs is that you encounter models of heads everywhere. None of them qualify as having a healthy skin colour.

 title=Cycle testing ensures that your headset doesn’t come apart with normal use.

 title=The design HQ for Plantronics. Because they’re designers, they’re not forced to work in cubicles.

 title=If you work in headset design as an intern, this will be your life: sorting millions of plastic chips representing allegedly different shades of black.