These Wireless Earbuds Look (and Work) Like They're From the Future
Back in February of 2014, an unknown startup called Bragi launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their ambitious plans to create a fully wireless pair of smart earphones. After crushing their original fundraising goals, and facing a number of major setbacks, delays, and intense skepticism from the tech media, they have finally released the finished product to the world. And according to reviews, they've exceeded all expectations.
The Bragi Dash earphones connect to a smartphone over bluetooth 4.0, but they are much more than simply wireless earbuds. They have 4gb of internal memory, so a phone is not required to listen to music - and they include a crazy array of tech.
Low intesity red and infrared LEDs work with an optical sensor to enable pulse oximetry, so they can measure heart rate with high precision. They have 9 axis accelerometers to measure rotation and movement. They use a touch interface similar to the trackpad on a laptop, enabling gestures such as swipes.
They use an earbone microphone, that picks up vocal vibrations through the bones of the head, to capture speech with detail and clarity. There is an ambient microphone in each earphone, which in conjunction with some advanced software algorithms, creates a surprisingly realistic sound of whatever is happening around the wearer - so you don't have to take them out to have a conversation. And they come with an integrated charging case, so you can charge them on the go.
Bragi provides a smartphone app that expands the functionality of the Dash, with many features aimed at runners and other athletes. And they've already launched a developer portal that opens development of new features up, so another apps may soon be able to integrate with the Dash.
Sean O'Kane of Wired recently got to demo a pair, and was very impressed.
His review focuses primarily on the tech and user interface, without spending a whole lot of time on the actual sound quality - which I would consider of paramount importance, especially for a piece of gear that'll run about $300. I'll need to hear some reviews from audiophiles and audio professionals - or demo them myself - before I recommend these as a must-have. But they are sure to start showing up in the ears of music fans, athletes, and tech savvy folks all over the world, and I can get my hands on a pair, I'll post an in-depth review.