London-based design agency Morrama will collaborate with Batch.Works, a circular manufacturer, to release headphones called Kibu. A shorter version of Kids-Build, Kibu’s unique selling point is its replaceable and recyclable components. Specifically, they are to be built and personalised by kids and grow with them.
As part of its circular goal, Kibu’s innovative and modular design allows broken parts to be replaced. The main body is a 3D-printed filament derived from 100% waste PLA (Polylactic Acid) – a biodegradable and plant-based plastic.
Raw materials are currently used to print the foam TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) headband. Milo McLoughlin-Greening – partner and Head of Research and Development at Batch.Works – said it will soon “develop a recycled version with [its] supplier partners”. As such, the first Kibu Headphones will be made of fully recyclable material when sold.
Meanwhile, UK manufacturer Jiva Materials will create a soluble printed circuit board material for electronic components. The company will publicly list the origins of each part and its role in the product’s circular lifecycle.
The headphones do not have external fixings either, as it is designed to be assembled by kids. It also features fewer parts and larger-sized ones to reduce the chances of accidental swallowing. Its modular design allows it to be adjusted to grow with the child, and replace faulty parts if needed.
Should a child grow out of their Kibu Headphones, Batch.Work will take them back and repurpose the materials for new ones. The circuit boards are also designed to be disconnected easily to recover precious metals.
User testing is ongoing to refine Kibu before its launch later in 2023.