Student invents bubble helmet to beat pub noise

Social sphere or human goldfish? You decide
Social sphere or human goldfish? You decide

A new invention by a product design student in Scotland looks to cut out the background noise in public spaces, but there's one catch: you have to wear a massive plastic bubble as a helmet.

The social sphere has been created by Elaine McLuskey and was conceived when she was studying hearing impairments.

Her solution was to create a double-headed helmet, where two people could wear and interact, without the fear that background chatter would get in the way.

The only problem with this is that you look like an extra from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Luckily there are two designs and one of them is the much more friendly stationary version.

Actually, even this one is a little bit odd – a bit like two people looking into the barrel of a washing machine.

Eccentric appearance

"My research found that in some cases a person's environment can be more disabling than a hearing impairment and so, in some respects, we are all hearing impaired on a daily basis," said McLuskey about her motives.

"The obvious example is that frustrating situation of trying to catch up with a friend in a busy bar. You want to hear their news and have a proper chat, but you have to shout over the din of music, chatter and clinking glasses.

"I hope the very noticeable and eccentric appearance starts people talking about hearing impairments."

The social sphere and other design oddities will be going on show at Edinburgh Napier University's School of Arts and Creative Industries Degree Show, from 13-23 May.


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.