The Next Wave of Wearable Technology: Hearables

We're seeing a revolution happen in wearable technology, but it's not just limited to smartwatches and smart glasses. We've covered smart headphones before, and today we've got another concept from Bragi called The Dash.

The Dash smart earbuds are similar to the Intelligent Headset we found last month. They can listen and give you information about your surroundings, be it places you are visiting or people you are talking to. The Dash earbuds have a built-in heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, a music player with 4 GB of internal storage, and can function as a fitness tracker. Using Bluetooth, they can pair to your device for streaming music too.

What we're seeing with Dash, the Intelligent Headset, and others like it is a more subtle side of wearables. Google Glass is noticeable and can make other people around you uncomfortable. Besides the questions about privacy, there's just not a way to hide them. Even current generation smartwatches are big and bulky. With smaller earbuds like Dash, you can keep your technology from being the focal point and just let it help you behind the scenes. Some tech like smart glasses, are not widely accepted as something you can wear all the time. If I'm at dinner with friends or family, they might not like it if I'm wearing Glass the whole time. With something small like a wireless earbud, it's hardly noticeable but it could be feeding me useful information throughout our interaction. I could just be listening to music, but it's not intrusive.

A small "hearable" could be used to give you directions or pass you other information, discreetly and without the need for a screen in front of you. It could give you updates on sports scores, it could tell you about historical sites that you are visiting, or let you know that you are running late for that important meeting. Hearing is one of our senses that has not really been explored in the wearable space but companies are beginning to dive into what that particular sense could offer us. All of this falls into the category of augmented reality and I for one am ready to be a cyborg.

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