The touch-screen functionality is all well and good, but it may be tough to operate while sprinting through the park or doing the backstroke at the YMCA. That's why Bragi is also developing the headphones to respond to physical gestures that the company refers to as macros. Move your head in a certain direction, for instance, and you can move to the next track on your playlist. Shake your head "no" and you can decline an incoming phone call from your boss. The macros can be set to individual users' preferences and turned on or off at any time. Although they will initially be operable only in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet, the company is hoping to eventually get to the point where they can be used to operate the headphones independently [source: O'Kane].
Bragi is also working with applications developers so that the headphones can interact with a wide variety of different apps. Heart rate and other fitness data can be transferred to and used by most health and body monitoring apps, for example. In the future, the company is looking to expand app-based capabilities beyond the fitness and performance horizon and into everyday assistant territory, similar to the idea behind Google Glass. That includes the ability to bring up and use a slew of information – from weather reports to real-time language translation programs - with a couple of swipes, or maybe even a few voice commands or nods of the head [source: O'Kane].
These features have critics cautiously optimistic about Dash and licking their chops to get their hands on a pair of the earbuds. Some Bluetooth-related kinks in the software, including the ability to send certain information to the device, are expected to be worked out after Bragi starts shipping the products in September 2015. Still, the current model was impressive enough to experts that it took home the best of innovation prize in the headphones category at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show [sources: DC Rainmaker, Bragi].
Author's Note: How Dash Headphones Work
Wireless headphones aren't going to work for me. The trouble is that I'm very good (bad?) at losing stuff. Keys, phones, various forms of identification: turns out I have a preternatural talent for misplacing small and relatively important items. Taking away the wires will, I'm afraid, just make it easier for me to lose track of my earbuds. I used to think that spending more money on these things would make me more aware of them. Then I walked into the ocean with a pricey pair of sunglasses and walked out without my shades.
More Great Links
- Bragi. "Press Kit V2 2014." (April 5, 2015) http://www.sofemme.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Bragi_Presskit_v2_1_2014.pdf
- DC Rainmaker. "An update on the Dash, the wireless heart-rate monitoring music headphones." Jan. 8, 2015 (April 5, 2015) http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/01/the-dash-bragi-update.html
- FreeWavz. "About FreeWavz." (April 5, 2015) http://www.freewavz.com/about
- Kickstarter. "Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones." (April 5, 2015) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellobragi/the-dash-wireless-smart-in-ear-headphones/description
- Magdaleno, Alex. "Ultimate Bluetooth Headphones Will Track Your Workout." Mashable. Feb. 22, 2014 (April 5, 2015) http://mashable.com/2014/02/22/dash-earphones/
- O'Kane. Sean. "The first truly wireless earbuds are here, and they're awesome." The Verge. Jan. 2015 (April 5, 2015) http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/9/7512829/wireless-earbuds-ces-2015-bragi-dash
- Solon, Olivia. "The Dash: Ear's great way to monitor fitness." Wired UK. March 24, 2014 (April 7, 2015) http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-03/24/the-dash