The Afterhokz headphones look like regular headphones but you don´t wear them directly on your ears. You place them just in front of the ears (see above picture) and the sound is transferred by vibration to your cheak bones and then transferred to the ear. The tech is called "bone conduction". The advantages should be as follows:
Result: I was very curious about this product and couldnt wait to get my Aftershokz. I bought it online on Taobao here in China. Immediately after I received my set on a saturday morning I un-boxed it and tried it out.
I am still very interested in the concept of "open ear" headphones or "open hearing". Taking out the environment may be desirable when you are on an airplane (Lufthansa airlines has quite good Bose headphones for example) but other than that I would prefer to hear the music from a player AND still be able to hear the environment. That would be ideal. Just like we did when we were younger, listening to loud music in the car and opening the windows and having the feel, smell and sounds from the environment. That would be perfect!
I read about "Here by Doppler labs" earbuds on the Business Insider and this item might just be what I am looking for. Here are a pair of separate earbuds, connected via Bluetooth and the user is supposed to be able to control the amount of ambient real world sound/noise which can pass through the earbuds while at the same time, hearing whats comin from your player. They state: "Here allows you to instantly control real world audio so you can hear what you want to hear and be fully immersed in your audio environment." I am not sure they are for sale at this date.
If you have tried "Here" I would be happy to "hear" from you in the comments. 😉
Today I came across a new Kickstarter campaign which actually also just today surpassed its funding goal of US$ 150.000. Batband on Kickstarter. The concept seems to be similar as Aftershokz: Sound is also transferrred by bone conduction. The Batband doesnt really look like ordinary headphones, more like a clip on the head. It promises similar advantages as I mentioned about Aftershokz further above. They might have a better or more advanced bone conduction technolgy.
As for me: I didnt fund this project at this time. I am still a bit disappointed after the Aftershokz experience and will just wait out for the first reviews someone else may write about the Batband.
Summary: I still believe there is a huge market for a device that allows you to hear the environment AND the music or text coming from your device. And this doesn´t have to be for a target market of "young joggers". The bigger market may be seniors taking a walk on the weekend while listening to classical music or hikers listening to an eBook about the environment they are just passing through. Or think museum or tourist city bus.
I am not sure whether bone conduction will be the best and final solution though.
I also dont think that earbuds wil be the final solution, even if they filter or allow ambient sounds to pass through. Too many people, myself included, don´t feel comfortable wearing ear buds for a longer time. This is also a question of "fit" since every ear is shaped differently. (BTW: There is a company called "Nrmal" making traditional hearing devices printed to fit each ear (scanning ears and 3D printing the buds).
So I guess the best solution is still out there to be made. I assume this device might not even be sitting on your head but maybe on your shoulder. Directional speakers might come into play, allowing only the person within a certain angle to hear the sounds. We will see. What ever it may look like: I ll be among the first ones to fund or buy such product once it emerges!
Do you know of any other "open hearing" product I might have missed ? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below and maybe like or share this post.
About a week ago I came across an advertisement for the SIxpad products, namely the Abs Fit and the Body Fit muscle trainers. I dont recall where I saw it first, on Twitter or on Facebook. I did a quick research and found the official website of the Vendor from Japan.
But the Sixpad is next next generation, using EMS technology, using electric current to stimulate your muscles. You dont need to exersice actively. I thought: Heck, why not give it a try ?
The Vendor´s website in Japan wasnt helpful for me. Once I clicked on their shop it all turned to Japanese. Since I live in China, I finally checked Taobao, the biggest online shopping mall around here and found a variety of choices and ordered from one of those sellers (you can divide those prices by 6.3 to get the US$ equivalent). I ordered both Abs Fit and 2 Body Fit and three days later they arrived.
Let´s start with the Body Fit which is supposed to be used on thighs, arms and legs. This is what it looks like.
When you lift the lid you see the Bodyfit behind a clear window
After you pull the tray out from the box, you can take the out the insert with the Body Fit and lift the tray - more is unveiled underneath.
One Sixpad Body Fit - the actual device. Two button cell batteries (one spare). A big fat instruction manual in several languages, Japanese and English among them. A plastic disc used to open the battery compartment. A guarantee card. Several sticky gel pads (used on the contact points of the Body Fit. An elastic belt. A hard orange board on which you can "park" the body fit when not in use. And a PVC zipper bag in which you should store the body fit (on the board) when not in use and in order to avoid humidity.
Step one. Use the plastic disc (included in the package) to open the battery compartment and insert one of the button cells with the PLUS facing upward. Close the compartment.
Step 2: Adding the Gel Pads to Sixpad Body Fit
Sixpad Abs Fit Body Fit both require Gel Pads. These are attached to the product where the electric current will flow. The Gel Pads are needed to transport the electricity to the body without causing irritation or burns on the skin.
To protect the Gel Pads from dirt, they are covered with two clear foils which need to be pulled off. First pull off the orange foil on one side.
Then attach that side of the Gel Pad to the indicated area on the Body Fit. Repeat the same with the 2nd Gel Pad.
After both Gel Pads are stuck to the Bod Fit, carefully pull off the transparent foil on the other side. This will be the side facing your skin.
After you are done doing the EMS programm, carefully pull the Body Fit off you skin and place it on the board for safe storage.
Now let´s have a short look at the Abs Fit Unboxing. Here is what you get and what it looks like:
We have just started to use both Body Fit and Abs Fit. So much so far :
Both my wife and I have tested both the Abs Fit and the Body Fit over a period of several weeks and we feel it really works. Let me go more into detail:
Final Statement: I purchased the Sixpad products out of pure curiosity. No one has paid me for this review, nor are there any affiliate links anywhere in this post. I share my experience openly for others to read and in order to give readers an idea about the Sixpad products before purchasing them. I would be happy if you share or like this post. Besides that I have no benefit. If you have any specific questions, please post them in the comments below and I ll reply you as best and soon as I can.
The German magazine DER SPIEGEL picked up on smart phone breathalyzers which have been around for a year or so.
Breathalyzers help to measure the Blood alcohol content (BAC) of a person. This is important to measure when it comes to driving a vehicle after having alcohol.
The European breathalyzer trend started in 2012 when France introduced a law that requires motorists to carry a alcohol testing device with them at all times. Tourists travelling to France are also required to carry alcohol testing devices. What most people do not know: Until now there are only few brands which have been approved by the french authorities and carry the blue circular “Norme Française” (NF) Logo. Smartphone breathalyzers are NOT among those approved !
Ok let´s get started with the review smartphone breathalyzer look at some models:
A very basic model with monochrome display, which is a bit pricy though. Mostly seen on Ebay/Amazon.
A newer version by another factory with improved and colorful display indicating the alcohol level additionally by green, yellow and red colors.
Newer versions/connectors for iPhone 5 and for Samsung are supposedly under development.
New, but not yet on the market, is the so called Breathometer which collected almost USD 75,000 on Indiegogo until today and promises to deliver nothing more than already available on the market but without a display. This reduces the cost substantially with industry experts estimating the production cost to be below USD 1,00 per piece. Without the display, results will be transferred to the iPhone and are shown by its App and can be saved for future reference (?).
Main advantage over the early models is, that the Breathometer connects via the headphone socket and is therefore not bound to one smart-phone brand and universally useable.
The app is said to include a button which allows to call a Taxi in case you are over the allowed alcohol limit for driving. Nothing new here aswell, as there are a bunch of Taxi-apps on the market already.
What all these breathalyzers have in common is that they try to appear to consumers as being “life saving devices” by repeating their sales mantra of “help to save lives by checking whether you are still fit to drive“. Well how about not drinking in the first place ? Even the consumption of alcohol within legal limits may lead to accidents.
Once beyond the sales-talk let´s look at the actual results and that´s when depression sets in:
The results of the breathalyzers are not very exact, to say the least.
They do NOT give you a clear indication as to whether you are still fit to drive. Instruction manuals clearly point that out and often ask you to wait for 30 minutes after eating, drinking and smoking before you do a breath test. That might be difficult for many in a real-life situation. Breathometer states: “Our device is as accurate as other consumer breathalyzers on the market”.
Result: smart-phone breathalyzers are not much more than a party- or smart-phone gimmick which may quickly end up collecting dust.
There is no apparent reason as why not to use a regular consumer breathalyzer with a battery (random example) which comes at less than half the price of above gadgets and doesn´t even need to connect to a phone.
If you really want to check your blood alcohol level accurately, you should use a professional breathalyzers such as the police use. These are in a different price range though due to their fuel-cell technology for professional use.
But then again: If you fail that one, the police usually requires for a blood test, to actually verify the results.
My impression: save the money spent on such gadgets and make an “either-or” decision between drinking and driving instead of asking a gadget to clear you to do both.
Google Earth is great. But the globe I had sitting on my desk as a kid wasn´t that bad either.
I could touch it, swivel it around, easily understand the concept of the aquator and where I would have to live in order to experience an almost stable climate all year round. I could easily see why a country might be called “down-under” and some countries are supposed to be “on the other end of the world”. Best of all : I could turn on the light and watch our planet while falling asleep and dreaming of far-away places.
Well these globes are still around. Not much as changed though, some magnetically “float” in the air, some are made from marble – you can even buy a waterball globe. I have collected some here.
But, the concept of the traditional globe has been more or less the same for the past 30 years ago. Time to change that and introduce a new idea.
My new concept for the smart globe 2.0 is driven by two major ideas and changes:.
First, I suggest to use mini LEDs to light it. Not 2 or 3, not hundreds, but thousands to light up the Globe 2.0. Using these LEDs will allow much more variation than merely turning the light on and off and you can illuminate very very detailed areas on this globe, such as cities, rivers, counties and a lot more.
Secondly, I control the smart globe 2.0 by connecting it to a smart-phone through an app. This app includes hundreds of functions which in turn allow endless variations.
Imagine the possibilities:
Watch our planet, learn and study it, educate your kids and grand-children or yourself. Use the Smart Globe 2.0 in classrooms and excite the students with fascinating data and views of the unique planet we all live on. This is the next generation desk globe: Smart Globe 2.0