I've spent way too much time and money trying to come up with a way to prevent earbud cords from getting tangled in my pocket or my bag. If you're like me and prefer to use earphones when making a call with your phone, it's one of those nagging, persistent problems that becomes a huge waste of time over a couple of years. The two minutes it takes to untangle your cords adds up.
The Loop is an incredibly simple device that's solved the problem for me since I picked one up at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a couple of weeks back. Stick your audio connector through one of the two holes that go into the center of the doughnut, wind your cord around the loop and hang your earpieces from any one of the blades that circle the Loop.
They're designed to work with any brand of earbuds, so the fit when you hang the earpieces from one of the blades might be a little loose sometimes. In practice, this hasn't really been an issue. Even if the earpieces might fall out of the blade when you pull the Loop out of your pocket, you're still getting quick access to untangled cords.
The Loop was designed by Colorado architect Scott Rodwin, who chose to manufacture his product in the USA in Colorado Springs, just a few miles from the Air Force Academy. Here's what Scott says about his design:
"I am passionate about solving problems with great design. There are over a billion earbuds out there an they all share one thing in common - they get tangled. I knew I could solve that. Seven prototypes, 3 years and one patent later, I did. The design criteria were that it had to be incredibly easy, quick and intuitive to use, and it had to be durable, economical and good looking. My goal was to create the most efficient and functional earbud holder in the world."
I saw a lot of great technology at CES (and we're going to be covering a lot more tech on UTR in 2014), but I'm not sure I'll find anything this year that provides such a simple solution to such an irritating problem. The Loop debuted alongside a lot of other small startups in the CES Eureka Park section, an area hidden behind acres of Chinese knockoff manufacturers in an hotel several miles away from the show's flashy main floor.
You can buy The Loop direct here in a lot of 3 just under $6 each before the $4 shipping charge (if you buy 10, they're just under $5 each and the price drops to $3.50 each if you buy 100). That's around $21 to put one in your pocket with two additional ones to use yourself or share with friends and family.
Scott says he's launching a larger USB cable holder later this year and is contemplating an even bigger multi-purpose version. He's been told they'd be perfect for winding parachute cords and I'm hoping he comes up with a version that will solve the annual irritating tangle of Christmas lights.
I've shown the Loop to several people since I started using mine and a lot of them have said, "So what?" A few lit up and at least a couple have gone off and ordered for themselves. If you've got this problem, the Loop is a solution that works. They won't seem expensive once you start using them.
(I kept thinking about the Loop after this post went live and wrote some more about it on my Tumblr.)