$149 million invested into 3D printed earphones

The wearable technology company HeyGears is making a significant research and development investment into building a 3D printing facility for the Foshan district of Guangdon, southeast China. The R&D investment has been projected at 1 billion Chinese Yuan ($148.8 million USD) and will contribute to the “Made in China 2025” initiative launched by the Chinese government to internationally promote the nation’s industrial and technological expertise.

HeyGears was originally started by University graduate students from Illinois after being successful in entrepreneurial competitions at the university. The students then decided to return to China and launch a line of custom fitting earphones.

The concept of custom fitting ear pieces were one of the first mass custom use cases of 3D printing in the industry. The Swiss tech company Sonova used the technology in its Phonak range of hearing aids and recently launched its first metal 3D printed product.

In 2015, HeyGears received funding of $10 million yuan ($1,488,338 USD), which enabled the company to create a lucrative business in the wearable sector. The company now sell a range of five different in-ear products that operate wirelessly via Bluetooth.

HeyGears’ custom fit line is created by the customers scanning their ears with a specially developed mobile app. From this a 3D ear scan is created and sent to the company and the 3D ear piece is then printed and processed within approximately one week.

The company’s new R&D facility will enable it to branch out into new areas of development and encourage 3D printing innovation by other companies too. Plans indicate that the facility will consist of three parts; the international 3D printing training and education base, the international 3D printing R&D centre and the international 3D printing production service centre.

HeyGears would not have been able to become so successful without the support of R&D funding and grant opportunities. Another valuable tool for start-up companies is the R&D Tax Incentive. An R&D Tax inventive can significantly support a business to further develop its research and concepts. To find out more about R&D and to determine whether your business is eligible for a tax credit, contact a Swanson Reed R&D Tax Advisor today.

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