SMART LOCAL: 'Headphones sound perfect for you.'
THE world of entrepreneurship and innovative technologies is the way of the future, and Bundaberg's Alex Afflick is making his mark in the global start-up community.
Mr Afflick, co-founder and CTO of Audeara, said while working as an engineer he found himself wanting to do more with his skills so he and two friends, who had noticed shortcomings within the medical field, started designing solutions.
"We started developing headphones that would allow people in remote parts of Australia to perform a hearing test without having to travel to an audiologist," he said.
"We worked on the project for over a year in our spare time until we received enough funding to allow two of us to quit our other jobs and pursue the idea full-time."
The outcome is a set of headphones called Audeara.
"Audeara is a company dedicated to providing people with a better sound experience," Mr Afflick said.
"Not everybody realises that our hearing degrades over time, causing us to perceive music and sounds differently.
"We have developed a set of headphones that incorporate a medical-style hearing test that measures how each of your ears respond to different frequencies.
"We then use your unique hearing profile to calibrate the headphones so they sound perfect for you."
The start-up company launched on Kickstarter last year and just finished its second round of production in Shenzhen, China.
"In the past 18 months I've been lucky enough to travel all over Australia as well as to Japan, the USA, and over 10 times to China," Mr Afflick said.
"It's really rewarding when people discover parts of their favourite song that they've never heard before."
Audeara has already started developing its next products, to be released at the end of the year.
For the former Bundaberg student, Audeara is the result of his interest in engineering, which began when he was studying graphics and technology in high school, and was later reinforced by working at a local business.
"I excelled in these subjects because I was happy to spend extra time on assignments outside of class," he said.
"When I worked at Steeline, I got the chance to practically apply what I was learning at school, which sustained my interest and motivated me to study engineering at university."
Mr Afflick said the efforts of a certain teacher were pivotal to his learning outcomes.
"Mr Hollege secured a grant shortly before I started high school that allowed him to build the Bundaberg State High School computer-aided design and manufacturing centre," he said.
"I was lucky enough to have access to some of the best engineering facilities in Australia every day at school.
"Mr Hollege always encouraged us to get involved in technology competitions outside of school and would always offer his own time to help us."
Mr Afflick urged those interested in entrepreneurship to back themselves.
"Spend as much time as possible around like-minded people that inspire you," he said.
"The Queensland start-up ecosystem is growing rapidly and, as an aspiring entrepreneur, you should try to get to as many meet-ups and events at places like The Generator in Bundaberg."
Visit Audeara.com to find out more.