Teague's 20/20 headphones are one of weirdest and most intriguing industrial designs I've ever seen. Instead of using the usual adjusting mechanisms to adapt to different heads' shapes and sizes, they use tensegrity. But what's tensegrity?
It's a term first used by Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller to define a structure type that uses flexible and rigid elements to balance tension and compression forces. As Teague's designer Dana Krieger puts it:
The 20/20 concept explores the serendipitous match between Buckminster's tensegrity structure (observed and filed away several years ago in a peculiar children's toy) and the unique structural requirements of headphone adjustment mechanism. The semi-rigidity and organic flexibility of the architectural structure are a challenge for many possible applications, but perfect for the problem of accommodating the wide range of ear and head shapes that make up the human population.
Watching the video, the structure seem as effective as it is beautiful. Too bad the 20/20 is a concept... for now. Teague - who is responsible for the interior design of the Boeing Dreamliner - tells me that they are pitching it to "a few headphone" companies. Let's hope it materialises soon.