After their announcement earlier this year at CES, Florida based company SOUL Electronics confirmed that they will be releasing two sets of Bluetooth earbuds that will utilize AI technology previously reserved for professional athletes. The SOUL Run Free Pro Bio and BLADE headphones will look and behave in many ways like a normal set of Bluetooth headphones, but will also come with biometric sensors that provide a vast range of features that will aid in a runner’s training regimen. On top of boasting 8 hours of playback on a Bluetooth 5.0 signal, the sweat proof earbuds will contain bio-sensors to monitor heart rate, elevation, speed, step length and width, and a number of other metrics that will track and analyze runs to better an athlete’s performance. When a runner deviates from good form, the earbuds will provide real-time voice coaching that SOUL claims will help a runner correct their form.
SOUL, which has previously partnered with big name celebrities like Psy, Ludacris, and Usain Bolt to brand their headphones has partnered up with Korean research company Beflex Inc. to develop and implement the new AI technologies into their headsets. Through a technology called “Advanced Markerless Gait Capture,” Beflex and SOUL provide the biometric capture data from a runner based on head movement. These biometrics will measure changes in a number of variables such as vertical oscillation, head angle, leg force, consistency and shock. The headsets then send the data to an iOS or Android app which in turn sends real time voice coaching to the runner. According to SOUL CEO Patrick Tang “Gait Analysis was formerly conducted with full equipment in a specific environment, but with Beflex Inc.’s technology, the technology can now be implemented in our earphones...” SOUL claims that in addition to improving a runner’s form with these new features, their technology will also help prevent injury.
Last year, a number of Bluetooth headphones that incorporate AI hit the market. Google released their Pixel Buds which, in addition to incorporating Google voice command, include a language translation feature. Fitbit even released a runner-centric headset called the Fitbit Flyer, which are a set of headphones with a pre-recorded running coach feature that operates via the Fitbit Coach app. Though neither contain biometric components that measure data about the wearer’s posture or environment, there is clearly a industry focus on incorporating biometric and AI features into new products. The SOUL Run Free Pro Bio will be priced at $149.99 and the BLADE $249.99. Both will be available for purchase in Q4 of 2018.