Augmented Reality Displays Music

ORA-X raises the Glass bar for a twist on augmented reality

Augmented reality is one of the hottest emerging technologies right now. But it remains to be seen if the category will attract mass consumer appeal because AR devices tend to be bulky headsets that are specifically designed to exploit the technology.

patent-claimedORA-X, on the other hand, are over-the-ear audio headphones equipped with a Google Glass-like retractable, see-through projection display. Virtual video content is overlaid on the display, but doesn’t block out the outside world like AR devices such as the Oculus Rift or SEER.


Backerjack Podcast #19: Peers for your Ears and Cooking with Brains

In Episode 19 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:’

  • June, a smart oven that can recognize food and cook it for you.
  • Aumeo, an adapter for headphones that checks how you optimally hear audio and tunes music for each ear.

Download the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!


Connected Objects Music

Spiro X1 Bluetooth adapter eliminates the puzzle of headphone wire tangles

The headphones people listen to their music on can be considered sacred. What those same people could do away with are the mess of tangles that inevitably come with owning a pair.

New York inventor Daniel Geenberg’s Spiro X1 replaces the detachable wires of select headphones from big names like Beats and Bose with a compact, Bluetooth-enabled adapter that streams music from a iOS or Android phone.

Connected Objects Music Sleep

Kokoon headphones get comfy with you in bed, measure your sleep

A countless number of people around the world suffer from trouble sleeping, with 70 million of them in the United States alone. Obviously, getting enough sleep has been an issue since the very beginning of time, and as such people are constantly looking for new tools to help.

One such tool is the Kokoon, sleep headphones made in partnership with audio giant Onkyo. This partnership has birthed what are claimed to be stellar sounding headphones for everyday use. In addition, they’re also EEG-equipped headphones that not only help people fall asleep, but provide clinical quality sleep data, too. A Bluetooth 4.0 connection to a smartphone facilitates the use of the Kokoon app, allowing users to set intelligent alarms for power naps, recovery naps, or a full night’s sleep, depending on the need. These alarms, in addition to its range of sleep aids and techniques makes the Kokoon the complete sleep package.

Music Technology

Record high quality audio with ease with the RecorderPlugin

Given the vast capabilities of smartphones, it’s surprising that simply recording something can be much more difficult than need be. While there are many apps than can record live audio, the result is often a recording with less than stellar audio quality. Further, transforming a recording into an MP3 isn’t always straightforward.

The RecorderPlugin is a device which streamlines this entire process. The device can be plugged into anything with a headphone jack and can save recorded audio as MP3s on the fly. This means that most devices are fair game, from from smartphones and tablets to radios and TVs. The $75 base model comes with 16GB, but 32GB and 64GB options are both available as well. The $33,333 campaign is looking to ship the product in October 2015.

The RecorderPlugin is certainly useful, and the search for a practical solution for recording challenges is certainly real. Music buffs, business types, and even those in love with their own voice will be interested in the RecorderPlugin. That said, if users need something with much more polish, the Bluewire Bluetooth is probably a safer bet.

Connected Objects Music

BUHUEL Soundglasses use your bones to keep you aware of what’s around

At the height of the iPod’s popularity, a common news item was a warning about how unsafe it was to wander around the big wide world with headphones stuffed into your ears. A lot of it was fear mongering, but to a certain extent, the degree to which someone’s awareness is impaired while concentrating on their music is a very real thing.

Instead of hijacking ear canals, the Bluetooth-enabled BUHUEL SG05 Soundglasses use the sensitive bones in the ear to transmit music or voice so that the user can be free to hear what needs to be heard. As a result, the Soundglasses thrive in high noise situations which require earplugs or similar safeguards or in situations where hearing loss is a problem. In addition to the bone conduction technology, the Soundglasses also incorporate a bi-directional, noise-canceling microphone to facilitate clear phone calls.

Interchangeable lenses offer both aesthetic and actual versatility, offering different colors and the ability to use prescription lenses. A wide variety of mostly active types will find use in the Soundglasses, even if it boasts only three hours of talk/listening time.

The $165 glasses are a bit more practical than something like the Narwhal, and as such, its $80,000 goal has already been achieved—more than twice over. Backers can expect theirs in June of this year.


Secure Grip Earphones stay in place while you run your race

Many people enjoy using earphones and listening to their favorite jams while exercising. However, not all earbuds are created equal.

The Secure Grip Earphones system was created with sports lovers and exercise enthusiasts in mind. The product has been designed with a focus that includes where the ear cushion and ear canal meet. Small treads have been added to increase the points of contact with the ear, which also reduces outside noise for a better overall music experience.

Seems like a great idea for indoor activity or at the gym, but using earbuds while exercising outdoors (such as running, cycling or hiking) can put a person at a bigger risk for being victimized by crime or bodily injury. Interested backers might also like to check out MagClip and Tiny Earin. This campaign seeks to raise $10,000 by February 10, 2015. Early bird backers get one product for $15 with an expected delivery of April 2015.

Tech Accessories

Btunes plays music; wirelessly plugs into headphones eliminating tangles for good

There are tons of products devoted to the untangling and organization of earbud and headphone wires. BTunes would rather focus on making headphones wireless, so tangling is no longer an issue.

BTunes is an attachment for your headphones. Fitting into headphones where the wire can be removed, it connects to your smartphone so that you can listen to hifi music, make calls and talk to Siri. In addition, it’ll fit into any auxiliary jack in a car to listen to music wirelessly. With NFC, connecting to NFC-enabled devices is simple. The product is black and looks a bit like a Bluetooth.

BTunes is an excellent way to stay wirelessly connected to your smartphone. It’s unclear if there’s any type of button to answer calls with, however. Still, for music, Skype, Siri and countless other options, Btunes is the way to go. One with a pair of headphones in your choice of color will cost backers $49 for estimated delivery in May 2015. BTunes is looking to raise $40,000 on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Winter Sports

Shredz audio helmet kit lets you jam out on the mountain

Skiing and snowboarding are two activities that make winter bearable. There’s nothing like careening down a hill in a sea of white.

Now, you can listen to music or talk on the phone while on the mountain. Shredz is an audio kit for ski or snowboard helmets that affixes earbuds to the riders ears. It works with any helmet that comes with space for headphones already. Coming in either wireless Bluetooth or connected, Shredz is a great way to jam out or keep in touch with loved ones.

This Canadian product is great for habitual skiers and snowboarders. Some may argue that it may be dangerous to listen to music on the mountain, but for experienced riders, it’s probably okay. The only thing is that not everyone wears helmets, so it would be interesting to see if Shredz could develop a version that works well with toques or goggles. The Bluetooth enabled version of this Canadian product is going for $109 CAD (~$95 USD) for estimated delivery in March 2015. Shredz is hoping to raise $20,000 CAD (~$18,300 USD) on Kickstarter.


Headband-like Dreamphones deliver lullabies, stay on through sleep

Headphones that actually stay put can be a difficult item to find. And trying to sleep while wearing them can be nearly impossible. Most of them lack comfort in a pretty major way.

Wireless headphones may very well be the rave of the future. This would resolve that looming problem that so many people encounter with the constant hassle of untangling. This is one nice feature that Dreamphones has to offer.  Other common issues that this product addresses are keeping earbuds in place while exercising and overall comfort. The headband-style product syncs with any Bluetooth 3.0 device, so even sleeping while listening to music is more comfortable than with standard earbuds. It’s not clear what the headband is made of, but it is indeed washable. The material is thick, and so may be too warm to wear comfortably if one happens to enjoy exercising outside during the warmer months. The user also must be within 30 feet of their Bluetooth device in order for the wireless speakers to function properly.

Overall, this product seems like it will have great appeal to music lovers, exercise enthusiasts, and those who like listening to music while falling asleep at night. It seems like it may be worth exploring further, especially for those who are fed up with the constant annoyance of dealing with tangled and knotted earbud wires. This campaign seeks to raise $5,000. Early bird backers get their own for $59.