With similar design features as Ray Ban’s Wayfarer, the Zungle Panther is a set of audio shades with built-in bone conduction speakers. By connecting your lightweight (0.1 lb) shades to your smart phone via Bluetooth, you’re able to whip around town listening to your favorite playlists. The bone conductor speaker technology transmits sound waves to the listener’s skull via vibrations.
This allows for a personalized listening experience and at the same time, keeps your ears free from headphones or ear buds. So in other words, you’re connected to the world around you and still able to crank Pandora playlists straight out of the powerful speakers coming out of your audio shades. How cool is that?
The technology is strategically housed in the Panther’s sunglass stems. To control your audio shades, the jog dial is conveniently placed on the right stem. This allows the user to control songs, volume, and the built-in noise-cancelling microphone that lets you make and answer calls. The Zungle Panther maintains its aesthetically pleasing, James Dean-like appearance, without compromising its functionality. For example, the patent-pending micro-USB port is hidden on the hinge of the audio shades – camouflaging the technology from onlookers checking out your shades.
The Panther prototype has been praised for its quick charging times. It’s powerful battery, housed in stem legs, allows for hours of music play – every hour of charging time is equivalent to four hours of listening time with maximum sound output. So feel free to take that long bike ride to your favorite beach and still have plenty of time to knock off a few chapters of your bestseller. If you need to recharge before a gym session later on in the evening, a quick charge while in the shower should provide you another four hours of music play.
The Zungle Panther audio shades come in five different frame and lens color combinations: Matt Black x Bonfire, Matt White x Moss Green, Gray x Oasis Blue, Neon Green x Bloody Ruby, Neon Pink x Aurora Purple. There are more options for wearers interested in swapping out their lenses. Panther’s lenses can be swapped out for Oakley’s Frogskin lenses. The Oakley lenses provide 100% UV400 protection – giving the owner additional options with regard to optimizing their audio shades.
With $2.4 million raised in their Indiegogo crowd funding campaign and a February 2017 delivery date scheduled, the Panther’s are ready to hit the outdoor wearables market. Their greatest feature, in my opinion, is the bone conduction sound system. This allows for safe listening. By having the ear completely free from headphones, a bike rider can still hear a car approaching from behind while simultaneously listening to their favorite playlist. This is not possible with a set of ear buds blocking the outside world and is downright dangerous, especially if you’re living in the city commuting to work.
Zungle did a fantastic job at designing a lightweight pair of high-tech sunglasses without sacrificing the cool-factor. As much as people want the latest and greatest technology, there’s a tendency to overlook innovative gear that makes people look ridiculous. The Panther shades look like a modern version of the Wayfarer and can be personalized with five different color options. You can even customize them further with Oakley Frogskin lenses. The Zungle Panther comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty and a seven-day no-questions-asked return policy.