The Premise. Headphones have come a long way since being a simple wire connecting two hard plastic cups covered in a thin foam. Ergonomic, performance, and technological advancements have slowly evolved the headphone to its current state, but at its best, it is still a device that has to rely on something else to function.
The Product. Bragi LLC’s The Dash Wireless In-Ear Headphones are the first smart earbuds out there. With no cables whatsoever, each pair of headphones inserts into each ear and can be gently pressed or swiped to control playlists, volume, or track fitness performance. The Dash can sync up to a phone for music playback or to take calls, but will also function on its own. However, as one might expect from the tiny size, battery life is limited with three hours of playback on its battery life and 4 GB of non-expandable space to store music without using any other device. The fitness tracker can report heart rate, body temperature, distance, speed, and altitude among other things.
The Pitch. Designer Nikolaj Hviid introduces us to The Dash as his vision for the future of headphones. A series of clips shows us all the different features available and how seamlessly they work with or without the app. Afterwards, Olympic Triathlete Helle Frederiksen gives her endorsement for the headphones as a companion for fitness, and the design behind The Dash is explained. Pictures that accompany the campaign explain what each Dash comes with, all the specs and features, and what each reward tier includes. Bragi needs $260,000 to order plastic injection tools, develop prototypes, get certifications, and more.
The Perks. Shipping in November of this year, to get your hands on The Dash will cost $179, which is a $120 markdown from the suggested retail price. Developers who which to employ Dash headphone functionality with their app or who want to develop add-ons to the existing app will get a series of prototypes and access to the developer kit in July for $299.
The Potential. We’ve seen MP3 player headphones before, but the Dash is a miniature marvel. If Bragi delivers all of its promises on The Dash, this could be the template that all high-end headphones follow going forward. Fitness enthusiasts, business travelers, and tech junkies alike will want a pair, making the suddenly bulky-looking Bluetooth earpieces of the present obsolete. While they appear sleek and simple, The Dash might find fast traction as the perfect companion to Google Glass.