Headphones solve a lot of problems, but they also create new ones. By blocking our ear canals we become less aware of the world around us. Runners and cyclists might not hear a car approaching. In a work environment a co-worker could struggle to get your attention (maybe that was the idea). In high noise environments we crank up the volume to dangerous levels. Fortunately, bone conduction has become more accessible (thanks ex-militar tech). Transducers send sound waves directly to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. This allows for situational awareness as the ear canals are left open. For daily use and athletes the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium seem promising based on a detailed review over at The Verge. Want to roll your own? Adafruit sells a pretty sweet bone conductor transducer for exactly this purpose.
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I’ve been using the Aftershock Bluez2 for almost two years now as I ride my bike on some busy roads and highways. Great to be able to hear the trucks coming behind me while still hear the voice prompts from the fitness tracker app on my iPhone. Wearing headphones while riding and driving is illegal in many states and provinces. Can think of some possible uses in some other wearables such as winter headbands and toques (stocking caps for those outside of Canada.)
Good points. Any downside to using bone conduction for headphones? I’ve read that audio quality is noticeably degraded for music. I mostly listen to podcasts and audiobooks and expect them to be fairly good at spoken audio.