I have been looking a lot into shape memory polymers and alloys recently and have been wondering wether they have an application in headphones. By this I mean that when plugged into the phone the warming current is sufficient to ‘untangle’ them back to their original, straight shape, avoiding the time consuming process of manually untangling the knot. Would this be possible, or is the current provided by the headphone jack insufficient. Any ideas would be appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ Thought experiment: how hot do your headphone leads become in regular use? $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Jul 4 '18 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ I found the “best” solution was wireless headphones - now have two sets one for home and one for work : bay of fleas came to my rescue... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 4 '18 at 20:41

This would not work, simply because SMA's cannot untie themselves. If you bend a SMA wire, then it can return to 'straight' (within reason, the return is rarely perfect), but if you tie a knot in the same wire, it's prevented from becoming straight by the knot.

Headphones can become very tangled with multiple loops crossing/interweaving - the fact that the power that can be provided by an average headphone jack is not sufficient (but it could be augmented by an in-headphone battery pack, I suppose), isn't the biggest problem with this idea...


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