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I've never had a pair of earbuds that lasted longer than two years, and typically they break much sooner than that. This is unacceptable. Modern technology is more than up to the task. Plastic, rubber, and copper are clearly not up to the task. What's needed is a new set of materials.
A gold plated plug.
Gold leaf for recoating the plug.
A titanium plug core.
Titanium reinforcement for the socket support.
A cone of spring steel at the plug and at the connection to the actual earbuds.
Titanium shells for the earbuds.
A copper conducting wire, woven with a 200% surplus of wire at any one point, heavily reinforced with carbon fiber.
A nylon sheath around the wire.
A woven carbon fiber sheath around the nylon sheath.
A titanium reinforced splitter with spring steel cones at each point.
This should all be overengineered to a ridiculous degree and tested in CAD to withstand without injury to the product the strongest force a trained human can exert with his bare hands plus a pair of pliers in any direction through pulling, twisting, biting, pinching, and anything else.
||What if you just lose them?
||Overengineering has its place, but also is often associated
with the word "heavy". Since earbuds are frequently carried
around, users might decide they prefer a lighter-weight
model, even if it breaks too easily.
||I feel your pain [Voice]. Mine usually last about a fortnight.
I consider them disposable.
||"A copper conducting wire, woven with a 200% surplus of
wire at any one point, heavily reinforced with carbon fiber"
||Its possible you have experienced the bend angle
intermittent fail. taking apart headphones I have noticed
that there is one attachemnt point between the wire an the
earbud. Change that to multiple connection points, then if
one fails the other three still work. At worst instead of the
"bendies" you get an earbud that works just like a regular
||In a way this is like audiophile stuff with the exception that
it's actually useful.
||I have a pair of Etemotic Research ear pods that cost £200.
The sound is amazing.
||Cochlear implants ... special offer, free with every Assimilation ...
||Considering that I have at least 6 sets, unopened,
because you get a new pair with every phone and
gadget, and never use them, the average user duty
cycle might not need to be so robust.
||Sorry, I don't really want to go over the bicycle handlebars.