Damson kickstarts its bone conducting “Headbones”

June 17, 2014
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Picking commentary audio hardware for your smartphone can be a tricky task. There’s a huge choice of earbuds and headphones, ones with Bluetooth, pairs that folds up, and some with noise cancellation. To make your future choices that little bit trickier, I’d like to introduce you to, the rather cutely named, Headbones.

Damson is kickstarting its idea for a Bluetooth powered set of bone conducting headphones, which use your skull to amplify sound rather than a set of speakers.  The UK based company has already developed a range of wireless resonant “speakers” based on a similar principle, and is looking to raise £50,000 to get production of its headphones underway.

This idea, like other bone conduction based headphones, frees up your ears to listen to the world around you whilst listening to your music. However, if you’d rather block out the background noise, Headbones has you covered too, as the set also comes with switchable noise cancellation. Headbones offers up a full array of extra features too, including a built in microphone for calls, IPX5 water resistance, 10 hours continual playback on a single charge, and they fold up too.

bone conduction

For the curious amongst you, DamSon’s Headbones make use of the company’s Incisor Diffusion Technology, which replaces the traditional cone speaker with a system based on small pointed “teeth”. It sounds a little vicious, but the teeth are housed safely inside the device. It’s these teeth are used to transfer the audio signal voltage directly into vibration, rather than a speaker cone which passes them through the air. The headphones are placed on your temporal bone, where the vibrations are transferred to your inner ear, completely bypassing your eardrum. You may recall that Google Glass uses a somewhat similar Bone Conduction Transducer.

Whilst it’s a cool idea on its own, it will also be useful for consumers with slight hearing impairments too. Damson also states that its technology can offer a superior frequency response to traditional headphones, as its technology isn’t dependent on the size or power of a speaker driver. An interesting claim indeed from a newcomer to the audio industry, and one which we may have to test out.

Here’s a full hardware spec rundown:

  • Driver type: Incisor Diffusion Technology – micro vibration driver
  • Driver type 2: Attachable 2.5mm ear buds
  • Bluetooth: Version 3
  • Battery type: Built in Lithium Ion
  • Battery size: 32mAh
  • Playback time: Up to 10 hours
  • Standby time: Up to 300 hours (12 days)
  • Built in microphone: For Handsfree calls
  • Support for two simultaneous connections: Yes
  • Auto switch for call answering: Yes
  • Water resistant: IPX5 supported
  • Frequency response: 20hz – 20khz
  • Cables: Micro USB for charging
  • Weight: 80g (2.8oz)

It’s certainly an interesting product, and fortunately there’s still a few weeks left to help fund the project, if you so desire. If you are quick, a select number of early-bird backers can pre-purchase a discounted set of Headbones too. The final product is expected to cost around £99 ($160).

What do you make of the idea, can you see this replacing your set of headphones or earbuds?

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