Our Kickstarter of the Week column checks out the most innovative and interesting new projects on the crowdfunding websites. That’s because in the last couple of years, some of the most exciting developments in technology, like the Pebble smartwatchand the Oculus Rift have come not from the established players, but from small teams with big dreams. We’re watching out for what comes next.
Of course, the project you back might not get funded, and even if it does, it might not ship. With that caveat in place, we’re still fans of the concept, and that’s because it has led to so many interesting new gadgets.
This week’s pick has to be the Here headphones project we saw on Kickstarter. Here are a pair of Bluetooth headphones that pair with your phone – but what is really interesting about them is that they don’t play any music or handle your calls. Instead, they’re designed to change the way you’re listening to the ‘real world’ audio.
Essentially, much like noise cancelling headphones, the Here headphones also have microphones on the outside. They pick up the outside audio, and then, using a digital signal processor, they modify the audio for you. The project’s creators say that the delay in processing the audio is so small (under 30ms) that you can’t perceive it. And using a paired app on your smartphone, you can control exactly what processing is being carried out.
The first, and most obvious, use is indeed noise cancellation. But aside from that, the Here headphones could also be used as a volume booster. Or, they could be used to add sound effects, so if you want a board meeting to sound cool, just add an echo filter. Or say you’re attending a concert; you could boost the bass by tapping at your screen. Similarly, if you’re talking to a high pitched friend, just adjust the equaliser and tone up the mids! The possibilities are pretty amazing.
The Bluetooth headphones have a claimed six hour battery life, and come with a carrying case that doubles up as a charger. It holds two complete charges for the headphones, so you can recharge them on the go.