The latest and greatest innovation in audio gear is the advent of bone conduction headphones for the modern consumer. Originally designed for military applications, bone conduction is a technique for delivering audio to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Studio Banana Things, a London-based tech company well known for their successful Kickstarter campaigns, has created the BatBand, a Bluetooth headset that utilizes bone conduction to deliver high-quality sound.
BatBand is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably on the back of your head. Its coated spring steel frame and sweat-resistant foam lining make for a durable piece of headwear that isn’t going to cause discomfort with prolonged usage. Not only can you listen to your music on the go without headphones, you can also take and make calls using BatBand’s noise-cancelling omnidirectional microphone. BatBand gives you control over your device with its touch-sensitive interface, allowing for the use of built-in smart gestures that affect volume, calling, and your personal soundtrack. The most interesting part about bone conduction is that it frees up your outer ear to external sound, allowing you to listen to what you want while still being in tune with the world around you. This feature is perfect for anybody that requires proper awareness of their surroundings but loves music or always needs access to calls. Bikers and drivers can listen to music while remaining cognizant of pedestrians, cars, or any other hazards they might encounter. BatBand will also feature an app that will allow users to personalize their band, create presets, and equalize music for the best experience possible.
As an audiophile, I know that this product would take some time to get accustomed to. I’ve yet to experience bone conduction audio, but the consensus is that the audio quality doesn’t truly compare to high-quality traditional headphones. Some people have reported that certain sounds or even certain songs can be uncomfortable when experiencing them directly inside your skull, which concerns me as an avid listener of music that spans the frequency spectrum. The band itself looks very futuristic, but I’m not certain that the design is going to appeal to a wide variety of consumers. I personally don’t find it to be particularly aesthetically pleasing, but Studio Banana Things received an incredible amount of support on Kickstarter, exceeding their goals by a wide margin. The BatBand has all the requirements to achieve market success and if people are comfortable with the inner-ear sound, I expect this product to go far.