An Introduction to Bone Conducting Headphones
Bone conduction technology has been around for years now, i believe since the 70's. It replaces the traditional method of vibrating the eardrum with sound waves instead conducting a frequency through the bones in your skull as a way to transmit music right into your brain. As a musical playback device, despite many companies dipping their toes in the water, it has not seen huge success due to the outstanding sound quality delivered from traditional driver designs such as balanced armature and dynamic driver . Therefore the technologies use has seen itself flourish in use by soldiers and medical practitioners due to you being able to receive communications without an impairment on your peripheral hearing. One example is battlefield troops being able to hear command and radio traffic without having the traditional earpiece blocking one ear and making it harder to pinpoint where incoming fire is being directed from. If this is of interest to you read up over at DigitalTrends about how the US has developed a new bone conducting helmet for just this use. Chances are though you aren't reading this because someone is taking potshots at you in a warzone and instead you find the technology useful in a more civilised setting.
In my experience with bone conducting units I have actually been very impressed with the function and used the Aftershock AS450 when road cycling. This allowed me to have awareness of other vehicles on the road while and also the ability to take calls through the in built microphone. Admittedly the sound quality was nothing like the headphones I am used to but then again when out on the road you arent exactly doing critical listening.
Batband Bone Conducting Headphones
The Batband, which has currently smashed its Kickstarter goal, promises to address the fidelity question and bring a better level of sound quality to the technology. I will definitely be interested to try this one out as I am already a fan of bone conduction headphones but the implementation just hasn't been there from previous offerings. Along with the increase in Fidelity the Batband has a number of other interesting features such as ergonomical (although admitedly still rather strange looking) styling and left/right sliders that will conduct a number of operations such as volume, track controls, power and call answer features.
I gotta admit I like it and cant wait to give them a shot sometime in the near future but if you would like to jump on board the Kickstarter right now you are able to secure yourself a Batband Headphone at the introductory backer price of $149.