28 September 2017, Written by Ben Hall


TWO young entrepreneurs have been awarded a government grant of $100,000 to fund the development of the world's first audio-perfecting headphones with a built-in hearing test.

The Audeara headphones, developed by Dr James Fielding and Dr Chris Jeffery from the Brisbane-based RER Labs, are close to commercial launch and was born out of Fielding's two passions medicine and music.

Fielding (pictured right) and Jeffery are finalists in Business News Australia's Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017 in the health category.

Dr Fielding, who is the Audeara co-founder and CEO, says the business was aims to shape the future of music to become the world leader in personalised sound.

"Everyone hears differently, so Audeara tailors the sound to be perfect for you, now and always," Dr Fielding says.

"As a medical doctor with a passion for music, I am fortunate to marry my two passions as one of the founders of Audeara and Robotics Engineering Research Laboratories (RERLabs)."

Protecting music lovers from hearing loss in old age

The muso-doctor is well known on the Brisbane music scene as the drummer for rock band The Dashounds and was involved in the set-up of the Red Deer Fest in Samford.

"As a person who loves music, I want to give all people the tool to learn about their hearing and protect themselves so they don't end up isolated with hearing loss in old age," Dr Fielding says.

"Because of this, I am particularly passionate about my work and Audeara as it gives me the chance to provide a tool for all Australians to learn about their hearing and protect it.

"We want to change the way people understand their music. People are suffering noise-induced hearing loss and the majority is avoidable, so Audeara aims to educate and protect the hearing of all Australians through its innovative technology.

"As a product that started as a medical device, Audeara"s A-01 headphones not only provide a superior listening experience, but offer opportunities with people of all hearing capabilities to enjoy music the way the artist intended."

Audeara received the $100,000 funding through the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund which is designed to help startups and small-to-medium-sized businesses commercialise market-ready ideas that will help them grow, compete in global markets and create jobs.

The grant of $100,000 will be used to hire two marketing staff and pitch the new technology to large retailers in Japan, Australia and the US. The Audeara headphones have already generated more than $500,000 in advance sales off the back of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

"Our Kickstarter success made it clear people want our technology, and this Ignite Ideas Fund grant is making it a reality."

Technology works out a person's 'hearing profile'

The market for high-end, over-ear headphones is conservatively estimated at more than $4 billion, and is expected to grow at five per cent per annum. The company's goal is to sell 20,000 units in its first year of operations.

The platform uses medical grade audiogram technology to determine an individual's hearing profile, which is then stored within the headphones. On-board data is retained and used by the headphones' internal processor to tailor its output, which compensates for any imperfections in the user's hearing.

RER Labs' Audeara is one of 85 innovative Queensland businesses - independently assessed in a highly competitive process - to share in the latest $10 million round of Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas funding designed to help develop products and create new jobs.

RER Labs, through its other development project called Field Orthopaedics, has become a rapidly growing business in its own right that focuses on the design and manufacturing of orthopaedic devices.

Field Orthopaedics focuses on the design and manufacturing of orthopaedic devices to address the shortcomings in the trauma, extremities and biological markets.

"We formed this company to bring innovation back to medicine and create products that address under-serviced markets, developing solutions that positively impact patient care and outcomes," Fielding says.

"Field Orthopaedics is based on collaboration, and we work closely with other surgeons and physicians to create cutting edge solutions for logical problems in surgery. Field Orthopaedics currently has seven projects underway, four of which are in active development expected to gain regulatory approval within the next three years."

Fielding says they have another project under development, The Good Confectionary Co., which is expected to launch commercially at the end of 2017 and RER 360 is an immersive camera company which is in the early stages of planning.

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Business News Australia

Author: Ben Hall





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