One of the most heavily discussed, heatedly debated, controversial subjects this past year has been America’s Second Amendment. Both a partisan and bipartisan issue, one newly fuelled by the rage-turned-activism of the country’s Generation Z, the matter of gun control — or lack thereof — has been a contentious topic in the lead-up to last week’s midterm elections. It’s a complex issue deeply entangled in America’s democratic constitution, in which liberty is valued as much as human life.
Now a Swedish company called YEVO Labs has partnered with Humanium Metal by IM to change the conversation in one small way: by quite literally turning violence into music.
Humanium Metal sources the world’s most valuable metals from illegal firearms, functioning as a vehicle for peace by seizing weapons from the black market while creating programs to help victims of gun control and rehabilitating conflict-torn regions. The company, which launched in 2016, represents the world’s first supply chain in this sector, transforming illegal firearms to metals and then products. Also a Swedish company but operating out of Guatemala for this initiative, Humanium has received international recognition for its work, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Fest. It follows in a long tradition established by parent company IM Swedish Development Partner, which was founded shortly before the outbreak of WWII and has spent decades advocating for peace in weaponized zones. It firmly believes that illegal firearms undermine “sustainable and democratic development,” and works to place the metals of old guns into the hands of designers and artists around the world.
Now its collaboration with YEVO Labs has resulted in the YEVO x Humanium Metal, a set of headphones that constitutes the first product in the world, claims YEVO, to be crafted from illegal firearms.
“Creating YEVO x Humanium Metal, a product that elicits change in such a positive way, is the greatest reward,” says Andreas Vural, founder of YEVO Labs and Happy Plugs, in an official press release announcing the partnership last year. “This collaboration is bigger than headphones. It’s part of a global movement that removes illegal firearms from the streets and recycles them into a material that helps move us towards a more peaceful future, all while giving back to those affected by violent crime.”
These premium earbuds debuted at CES 2018. The product is nearly identical to YEVO’s flagship YEVO 1 headphones, save for its unique materials. Like the YEVO 1, the YEVO x Humanium Metal is both wireless and smart. The companies haven’t relied on the product’s unique materials alone as a selling point; make no mistake, these buds provide a state-of-the-art audio experience. The acoustics are impressive, with two dedicated amps that drive high-precision balanced armature speakers. YEVO promises excellent mid and high-tones and a “tight bass response,” reproduced with minimal distortion across the board. Designed for both professional sound designers and arm chair audio snobs, these earbuds deliver a synchronized HD sound experience, utilizing a technology called Near-Field Magnetic Induction (or NFMI). Used in hearing aids, NFMI uses a low-power magnetic field to transmit data, requiring less power than Bluetooth and fewer vulnerabilities to audio corruption. The earbuds function up to an impressive sixty-six feet from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device.
According to the BBC, it took nearly two years to figure out how to incorporate the metal into the product. The result is arguably worth the rigorous process, as well as the wait. These earbuds come with a sleek, elegant storage case that weighs a mere eighty grams and multitasks as a charging station. This means up to twenty hours of battery life, with four to five extra charges while on the go and roughly three hours of operation per charge.
Finnicky about comfort? Irritated by earbuds that simply won’t stay? Like the YEVO 1, the YEVO x Humanium Metal will likely come with six different ear tips, ensuring the perfect fit for all ages, shapes, and activities.
One of our favourite features is that these headphones feature audio transparency — that is, they can function as noise cancelling headphones when needed. Triple omni-directional microphones mean that one mic can be used for phone calls, while two more monitor surroundings and filter out any background noise.
The YEVO x Humanium Metal will feature touch sensor technology, enabling volume management, music selection, access to Siri or Google Assistant, and much more…all with a simple tap.
These headphones aren’t yet commercially available, but after the waves they made at CES earlier this year, we’re guessing that the rush is on to get these to market. And while the steep price tag on this sleek set might be a little dizzying at $499 USD, fifty percent of the proceeds will be returned to the Humanium initiative. “It’s the most valuable material in the world,” Vural told the BBC, “because you can’t set a price on a human life.”