Music

Magzet brings magnet connections to any audio jack

Magzet brings magnet connectio...
The Magzet allows users to plug in their audio devices with safer, easier-to-use magnets
The Magzet allows users to plug in their audio devices with safer, easier-to-use magnets
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Magzet is promised to work with any audio jack
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Magzet is promised to work with any audio jack
The Magzet allows users to plug in their audio devices with safer, easier-to-use magnets
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The Magzet allows users to plug in their audio devices with safer, easier-to-use magnets
Plugging the Magzet prototype into a computer
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Plugging the Magzet prototype into a computer
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One of the least exciting pieces of technology on a smartphone is the 3.5-mm audio jack. There's not a lot of room to make changes there, but Magzet is aiming to do some innovating by turning any audio jack into a magnet connector. It's a simple change, but one that promises to make plugging in audio devices easier, and a whole lot cooler.

Why would anyone want magnets on their audio port? According to Jon Hallsten and Jeff Russell, the creators of Magzet, their device offers some benefits, such as the ability to plug in cables more quickly. In the dark, plugging the small jack into the device can be a pain, but tapping a couple of magnets together is quick and easy.

Another nice thing offered by magnets is lower wear and tear on the devices. Instead of plugging and unplugging over and over, the user simply plugs the MAGjack in (the piece that goes into the audio jack), and then the MAGkap (the part that goes on the cable) on each of their headphones – no longer will they need to pull them out, eventually breaking them. Additionally, the magnets will allow the headphones to release quickly if the cord gets pulled, protecting the user's ears and the devices.

The team promises that users can leave the MAGjack portion plugged into their devices at all times. Sound will not be automatically rerouted through the headphone jack unless the MAGkap is plugged in as well, retaining normal device functionality.

A key thing the creators point out is that using Magzet will not hamper any device functionality, which means users can still use inline microphones and controls. The team also promises that its device will not weaken audio quality, so those expensive headphones will sound just as beautiful as they did before.

It should be noted that the creators are promising that the prototype featured is larger than the final design, and that one of the major challenges it is facing is shrinking it down to make it more user-friendly.

Jon Hallsten and Jeff Russell are seeking funding on Kickstarter, with the project quickly making its way towards its US$294,000 goal. Backers who would like to preorder a device can do so starting at $35 for 1 MAGjack and 2 MAGkaps, with prices going up for more devices. Should the project meet its goal, the team expects to deliver Magzets to backers in December.

The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information and shows the devices in use.

Sources: Magzet, Kickstarter

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8 comments
VirtualGathis
It is not only cooler, but would prevent the common occurrence of an audio connector that no longer works because the cable or connection has been hit frequently. I wish they had something like this for my power connector, especially the nasty, failure prone fire-wire connectors.
icwhatudidthere
I find Bluetooth headphones to be even better at preventing wear and tear and potential problems of snagging a cable and ripping the phone out of your hand. On Android devices, Bluetooth headphones also give you standardized controls whereas in-line controls are almost guaranteed not to work with Android phones.
Derek Howe
pass, this is a device that shouldn't be made.
I agree that magnets are awesome, and the headphone jack needs an update, but instead of having a middleman type device, they should change the whole jack, so you no longer have a hole in your phone, but a couple of metallic spots with a magnet in the middle. I realize this wouldn't be an easy feat, you would also need to make the ends of all the headphones different as well. But It needs to happen. they should starts calling up people that work for Apple or Samsung, and convince them that people are tired of a old method & want a new method.
Gadgeteer
I feel sorry for the Kickstarter supporters. Somebody tried to do just this only a couple of years ago. Took it to Belkin and other companies, who investigated and refused to license it. Everybody told him it would infringe on patents held by Apple and Replug. The situation would be no different with this. If they get the money, they'll also get a cease and desist order. Supporters will be left with nothing.
Daishi
I like the idea and to @Gadgeteer I found one of Apples related patents from 2005 for "'Magnetic connector for electronic device" (patent US7311526) on Google patent and even that patent references a handful of related older patents.
This is pretty similar to US3363214 from 1968 for a magnetic plug adapter that performs almost the same function only for power cord instead of an audio cord.
There are probably a thousand different patents for various magnetic connectors so I'm not sure that it would infringe on Apples design/patent especially because Apple isn't using this implementation for audio connectors themselves.
Apples patent prevents a knock off design of their power connector but it doesn't cover all magnetic connectors as patents for other magnetic connectors existed as early as at least the 60's.
Stuart Wilshaw
Waste of technology!
Gadgeteer
Daishi, read this article: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3016412/magsafe-for-headphones-is-here-and-patents-have-already-killed-it
It's all well and good to speculate here in these comments, but I will defer to Belkin's patent lawyers who said it's probably infringement.
KarenBuchanan
This is so disappointing that these are not an actual product yet. I am hearing impaired and can't afford $3000-$4000 hearing aids, so I have been looking for solutions in other tech. Nothing I've tried compares to the sound I get by playing through sound from my work Mac's mic to headphones connected by USB through an IOGear iMic using the LineIn app. As long as I'm sitting at my desk, this has the potential to be helpful, but I also frequently have to get up to go the copy room, to the printer etc., so pulling headphones on and off becomes a not-so-viable solution. A connector that quick-connects and disconnects like the Magzet would be SO helpful. Wireless solutions these days are mostly Bluetooth and have a disappointing echo effect due to high latency.