Dash may be the creation of a small group of innovators, but the wireless earbuds wouldn't be on their way to a treadmill near you without the generosity of a lot of folks. Nearly 16,000, in fact. That's how many people forked over contributions to Bragi, the company designing Dash, in spring 2014 through a Kickstarter campaign. Bragi raked in more than $3.3 million to develop the product, one of the most successful Kickstarter projects. Backers got a variety of thank-yous, from product discounts and a personalized message from Danish CEO Nikolaj Hviid to a free set of headphones, access to prototypes for application developers and a three-night stay in Munich for Oktoberfest [source: Kickstarter].
Hviid founded Bragi in 2013, after leaving his job as the head of design at Harman Kardon, an international audio company. What was his inspiration for the headphones? "I wanted to take all of the stuff away -- the phone, the watch -- and make something as pure as possible. Just two earplugs to entertain me, listen to me and take care of me," he told Wired UK.
The keys to making the Dash headphones completely wireless are the microcomputers and biosensors lodged in each earbud. Using Bluetooth technology, the left and right buds are expected to communicate with each other and link to mobile devices. Dash uses two LEDS to capture its wearer's heart rate, oxygen saturation level and body temperature by emitting low-intensity red and infrared light into the ears more than 50 times per second. Stereo accelerometers packed into the headphones also capture information used to track pace and distance [source: Bragi].
That's not to mention the music. The headphones can store up to 4 GB (or about 1,000 songs) of music and play tracks stored on phones, tablets and other devices. Their audio pass-through technology allows runners to enjoy the tunes while remaining at least vaguely aware of the outside world by letting in noises like the sound of a car honking and a cyclist's bell [source: DC Rainmaker].