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Headphones without speakers? Sound Band makes it a reality

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August 12, 2013

The Sound Band doesn't use speakers to play back sound

The Sound Band doesn't use speakers to play back sound

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Generally, when you think of headphones, you imagine small speakers that either sit in or over your ear. The Sound Band is different, as it doesn't feature any speakers at all. Instead, it uses surface sound technology, which means the user's ears are left open to take in the sounds around them.

Basically, the headphones send tiny vibrations through the back of the ear, which is how the user is able to hear without blocking outside noise. Additionally, this method of transmitting sound makes the headphones silent to others, so users can listen as loud as they want without interfering in the lives of others.

The video below provides a demonstration of the Sound Band.

The headset is wireless, connecting to smartphones through Bluetooth. Besides listening to music, the Sound Band also comes with dual omnidirectional microphones, so users can make calls. As you might expect, they additionally feature noise reduction and echo cancellation technology to help create clearer sound for the person on the other end.

The team behind Sound Band have worked through many iterations over the course of the last few years before finally coming up with the final production model. At first, it was just a proof of concept to let people see how surface sound would work, but now it actually looks like a pretty stylish and functional device.

In the final version, the back of the band features buttons designed to perform various functions. Users can answer a call, power the device on and off, adjust the volume, and so on. The buttons are located behind the head, which means that users will have to grow accustomed to the feel of the buttons to use them.

Hybra Advance Technology, the company responsible for the Sound Band, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Backers have already funded enough to send the project sailing past its US$175,000 goal. For buyers interested in owning a Sound Band of their own, a pledge of $135 is required.

The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information on the Sound Band.

Sources: Sound Band, Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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8 Comments

Color me highly skeptical. Achieving audio verisimilitude by exciting a column of air with a diaphragm is relatively easy but doing that via the kind of acoustic path this device works through is another matter all together.

At its price point it must deliver pretty pristine sound as well as just being cool. There should be room enough in the back of the neck blob for DSP that could conceivable make that possible (ignoring for the moment individual variation) but there is no indication that's what's in it. I will definitely want to hear one before considering a purchase.

DonGateley
12th August, 2013 @ 12:34 pm PDT

wow, these are actually pretty damn cool. I love the fact that you still hear the world around you. I work construction, and it's important to hear the people around you...but that also means you are usually forced to listen to classic rock...which gets old, I think I'll get these so I can drown out the classic rock once in a while.

I wish I knew about them sooner, so I could of snagged that $75 price tag...damn.

Derek Howe
12th August, 2013 @ 01:16 pm PDT

Its the same thing. Thats how sound works. Search up how to use anything as a speaker on google or youtube. Same concept.

Sergey Karchmit
12th August, 2013 @ 10:51 pm PDT

I've just paid less than £13 for Bluetooth over the ears cans because I WANT to blockout the world. My buttons are on the right hand ear can but are a bit too close for remembering which does what. I can answer phone calls/mute music and chat away.

Therefore to improve the SoundBand I would like to see the ear pieces unchanged but connected by a slim flat over the head BAND with buttons for volume up/down and 'next music' track spaced several inches apart for ease of use.

I know I'm relatively old at 57 but having cans on is not fashinable and the SoundBands control box at the back of the head is SO not cool either visually, or for access. My Band would be easily hidden under a baseball type cap and virtually undetectable, if the buttons were in the form of long segments touching the left side of Band near either ear could handle volume up/down and be much easier to use and remember. Touch sensitive buttons instead of mechanical would also be better in my opinion.

Sorry but the cost would have to drop dramatically for me to want to buy the SoundBand as it is and my Mother-in-Law used to have sound conducting ear amplifiers for her hearing and used to get 'feedback whistling' so would need to try before I buy too.

Finally from a females point of view I suspect that they would not do much for their fashinable hairdo but if they had a Band over the hair it could serve as a conventional hairband in windy weather and be less 'in your face' to others following you, cos I would be SO tempted to press someone elses buttons in a queue for a laugh as the control box hangs on their necks.

RichDragon
13th August, 2013 @ 04:00 am PDT

What is with this headphone design obsession of having the cords behind the neck where it's difficult to reach?

I agree with RichDragon, put them on an over the head band. I can't stand things hanging on my ears for support. Even designs that claim to be the most comfortable ever get annoying and painful in a short time.

Gregg Eshelman
14th August, 2013 @ 12:14 am PDT

To be tempted to buy one of those, I'd rather have the blob at the back of my neck go somewhere more user-friendly. I'd give it a nicer shape and put it around the front, like a pendant. I'd keep the loop around the back of the neck though, for practicality (carriability) issues. Like a neck strap+pendant with the speaker cables coming out of it at some point.

This would allow the device to feature a microphone as well without adding bulk near the ears.

Having a pair of wireless speakers connected to your smartphone is rather silly if you have to swap them out (or something) in order to answer a call.

I carry a bluetooth headset (Jawbone Era) on me all the time and I've bought a neck-strap to keep it at a handy distance. It works very well and my recommendation stems from my experience trying all sorts of bluetooth headsets over the years, as I do speak a lot on my (work) mobile.

Τριαντάφυλλος Καραγιάννης
15th August, 2013 @ 03:12 pm PDT

I completely disagree with the idea that the control should be over the head in some head band or down in front rather than back of the neck.

At the back of the neck it is out of the way, easy to reach,it is not going to dangle or bounce when working out, it will not interfere with existing jewelry or hairstyle or hat, tactile mechanical buttons would be easy to operate without looking.

I think it's a great idea and design.

Jsenni
16th August, 2013 @ 07:09 pm PDT

I think its perfect! Kids may get these to listen to music during class and no one would know. Adults and others can use these at work to provide music while still listening and paying attention to there job. Ill have to try them out. Don't listen to anyone's complaints on them not being "user friendly", being behind the head makes it easy to reach to and easy to put on and take off; very user friendly. Hope you guys gt the endorsement you deserve!

Facebook User
27th August, 2013 @ 06:52 am PDT
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