Not every invention is perfect and before each invention is ‘perfected’, we usually do what mankind do best: live with it. Headphones, earphones included, is one of them. They work just fine, wired or wireless, but one thing we have grown accustomed to is the need to remove them when we need to talk or listen to the ambient sound. In other words, earbuds impedes our hearing even when music is not playing. But this headphones issue may very well be a thing of the past if London-based Third Skin has its way. The company’s first product, called Hy, is a pair of high-tech wireless earbuds that’s going to eliminate the aforementioned problem once and for all.
Hy does three things: first, it obviously lets you hear music and second, when not playing music, it lets you hear the surrounding and converse without having to remove the device, and finally, it does the aforementioned all without you feeling that the earbuds are there. To be honest, we are not quite clear how it works, but according to the horse’s mouth, Hy features patent-pending hybrid balanced armature/piezo wishbone drivers, aided by active noise cancellation technology, to enable audio reproduction without the traditional large buds and therefore enables you to be aware of the environment when the music is not blasting away.
In contrast, normal buds’ large, ear hole-filling foam tip will most certainly muffle the surrounding voice. In addition, Hy also gets Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming as well as voice and external microphones that will allow for phone conversation, and also dishing out commands for Siri and Google Now. Another clever move with Hy is assigning all electronics to the back, inside the ear hook. By having electronics on the ear hook, it affords voluminous space that allows the team to accommodate two 260 mAh batteries, along side other electronics wizardry like USB micro B charging, infrared gesture sensor, plus other sensors like heart rate, body temperature, head motion and activity sensor, so it is good as an activity tracker too.
The batteries are good for up to 12 hours of playback per charge, which is many times over what current wireless earbuds has to offer. Like many modern gadgets, Hy has a companion app too. The companion app will let you in the data gathered by the ear-worn device and presumably, allows for tweaking of the earbuds’ performance and/or controls. Third Skin has taken to Kickstarter to peddle this awesome concept, but so far, the reception is rather lukewarm.
However, they are half way to reaching their goal and if you are willing, you can give it push by backing the campaign. A contribution of £139-189 (about US$174-237) will secure yourself a set of Hy, but that’s of course only if the campaign meets or surpasses its set funding goals. But be warned though, if realized, the product won’t ship until 2018 and that’s probably the main reason for the lukewarm reception. 2018 is more than a year’s wait for a product and in the tech industry, things can get obsolete pretty quickly. In any case, we wish Third Skin all the best and we also hope that something can be done about the delivery date which should help their endeavor greatly.
Images courtesy of Third Skin.
submitted via TIP US page.