No More Tangled Headphones as Physicist Unravels His ‘String Theory’

/ 2 years ago


There are a number of things in life that are simply frustrating – traffic jams, paperwork and queues are just some, but high up on the frustration list for many is that simple act of tangled headphones. No matter how hard you tr, carefully wrapping up your headphones before placing them in your bag or pocket, somehow they manage to unwrap themselves and play a game of twister when out of sight so that when you next get them out, you have to spend five minutes trying to intricately undo the mass of knots that have miraculously appeared.

‘Tangle-free’ headphones have been around for a little while now and to be honest I think they’re just marketing junk as those cables still feel the need to wrap themselves around each other, leading you to the point at which you want to scream. This age-old problem however is no more as Robert Matthews, a physicist at the Aston University in Birmingham has unravelled this mystery and come up with a drop dead simple solution that appears to put an end to tangled headphones. Yes, that’s right, science and universities have come to the rescue once again for a solution to a trivial conundrum.

The solution comes with two simple steps. The first of these is to ensure the two ear buds are clipped together (this is where that random bit of rubber around your headphones comes into play) after which you clip the buds and the jack together as seen above, with the intention that holding them together stops the cable from threading through itself and creating the knots.

Matthews says

‘The study explains why your headphone cable mysteriously turns into one big jumbled mess while it’s in your bag or pocket. We’ve also struck upon an easy solution – simply clipping together the two ends of the cords makes the cable less likely to form a knot – saving the frustration of having to untangle it before plugging in. This was all about using hard science to tackle an everyday issue.

It was great to see how enthusiastic school students were to get to grips with the surprisingly complex science behind the phenomenon, and carry out experiments to study the effect and identify the solution.’

If you don’t quite believe that this simple ‘trick’ works, I’ve tried it with a couple of pairs of headphones myself and even when trying to mess the cable up in my hands, everything just falls out with no knots, tangles or swearing-in sight. Matthews may have just created the antidote to traumatic tangled cables syndrome.

Source and image courtesy: Daily Mail

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  • heh

    Instructions unclear, got d*ck stuck in headphones…

    • Ralph Kunkle

      They shouldn’t make them so sexy.