Recycled guns give these headphones heft and a cause

Originally published January 13, 2018


By Ian Sherr

A Swedish company, Yevo Labs, is building its latest headphones with material from an improbable source: guns.

The headphones themselves are pretty standard Bluetooth earbuds, based on the company’s previously released Yevo 1 design. It’s around the edges that things get interesting. The accent metal is less polished than the mirror-finish chrome-like plating you’d find on its onyx-, ivory- or jet black-colored $249 headphones.

The carrying case, which also doubles as a battery-powered charger, is heavy. Like a power tool. And the metal it’s made from feels rough, industrial. Yevo plans to sell this version for $499 when it’s released in the next few months.

“In a way, this is the most valuable material in the world,” said Andreas Vural, Yevo’s founder and president. “It’s a firearm that may have taken someone’s life.”

This is a statement piece. It’s a visceral reminder that this was made from something substantial. And it’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen while covering CES.

This event, the largest in the tech industry, with more than 180,000 attendees expected this year, is the place where Microsoft’s Xbox video game console was first announced in 2001, where we learn what the latest TV tech will be and where we found out our shower might listen when we’re singing.

But I’ve never seen something so unusual as a piece of everyday tech made from a firearm.

Guns in particular were thrust into the forefront in Vegas after a gunman took aim at an open-air concert here in October, killing 58 people and leaving more than 500 wounded. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. These horrific events have become so common that around the time of the massacre in Vegas, a report found that the US in 2017 was averaging one mass shooting per day.

And while CES has become home to technological advancements from around the world, smart firearms rarely make an appearance. When it comes to guns more broadly, the annual Shot Show will draw about 65,000 people from across the firearms industry to Vegas when it begins later this month.

Vural, who flashed a smile when we first met, became more serious as I sat opening and closing the gun metal case. Its predecessor, which came out last year, has been a hit, Vural said.

The model made from guns is coarse by comparison. It almost seems unfinished. The bit that holds the headphones slides out feeling like it’s grinding against the metal, which Yevo bought from a Swedish initiative called Humanium. In addition to its weight, the Humanium-metal headphones also cost five times more to make. Yevo is using it to make both the accent metals around the edge of the headphones, as well as for the outside case.

Everything about this gun metal device says it isn’t a piece of tech meant to disappear into the background of my everyday life.

“We want to bring more awareness” to the issue of gun violence, Vural said. And a portion of sales will go back to Humanium as well.

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