Wireless headphones track health markers, improve sound control
August 1, 2014
Headphones have become a fashion statement the world over, with people sporting increasingly sophisticated or unusual models on their head. Now, a Florida-based company called FreeWavz has created a more minimalist and versatile earphone that does away with wires, and integrates activity-monitoring technology.
Developed by ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Eric Hensen, FreeWavz is an earphone that uses Bluetooth to connect to iOS and Android mobile devices. It is devised as a fitness smart accessory, equipped with pulse oximeters and three-axis accelerometers. These systems track a range of fitness metrics such as heart rate, number of calories burned, distance covered, activity duration and oxygen saturation.
The health stats are fed to the user through real-time audible alerts. Users can customize the frequency and content of their alerts by activity or time. For example, the user can set it so it updates data at regular intervals or when they have reached their target metrics.
In terms of design, FreeWavz forgoes earbuds to keep the ear canal free. It features a conical sound delivery mechanism wrapped in memory foam, that adjusts to the shape of the individual user's ear.
Users can also control how much environmental sound they can hear, as each ear has an independent volume control and a six-frequency equalizer. This is particularly useful for runners and cyclists, so they can still hear outside noises when exercising on busy streets.
As far as sturdiness goes, the earphones are water- and sweat-resistant. In terms of power, users can expect the battery to last between six and eight hours.
In order to increase the range of apps for FreeWavz, the company has made an Application Development Kit for third-party developers. The project is fundraising on Kickstarter, and early adopters can pre-order for US$179.
The video below shows FreeWavz in action.