When we hit up Las Vegas for CES 2012 last month, we saw plenty of headphone companies offering up their wares. Paraphrasing what one fellow attendee told me, “It seems like all it takes to promote headphones at CES is a cheap product and some booth babes.”
So it’s very refreshing when a headphone company brings a great, innovative product to CES. Take AfterShokz, for example: their headphones don’t go in, on or around your ears. Instead, they use your very own skull to create sound.
AfterShokz’ headphones use a patent-pending bone-conduction technology to transfer sound into your head through vibration. AfterShokz calls these headphones “ear-free:” the headphones sit directly in front of your ears. The technology was originally developed, like most cool things in life, by the military.
One great advantage of the headphones is that they won’t fall out of your ears – because, of course, they don’t go in your ears! – and are great for sports. In fact, AfterShokz headphones come in both Sports and Mobile flavors, as well as Game.While bone-conduction headphone technology has been around for a while, the quality has made it impractical. The thing that differentiates AfterShokz from the competition is the increased sound quality, as well as their application of magnetic dual suspension transducers.
Of course, actually listening to AfterShokz’ headphones, it’s clear that they still aren’t built for audiophiles, but still produce decent sound. Of course, with nothing actually in your ears, your ears remain free to take in all the sounds of the outside world. AfterShokz also told us at their CES booth that there is “no hearing damage” risk while using their headphones.
The tech also takes up some battery power. Rather than sucking the life out of your mp3 player, however, AfterShokz charges via USB. They charge in about 3 hours, and stay charged for up to 15 hours, depending on playback volume.
Overall, AfterShokz’ headphones are certainly unique, and great for sporty, active users, or anyone curious to check out this unique, up-and-coming technology. Users who enjoy noise-canceling/sound-isolating technology, or users who need high-fidelity sound may want to give these ones a pass, though.
AfterShokz headphones retail for $59.99, $69.99 with in-line microphone, come in Mobile, Sport and Game models, and will be available in Bluetooth models starting this summer.
For more information, see AfterShokz’ official website, or follow them on Twitter. AfterShokz’ bone conduction headphones are available for preorder through their site and Barnes & Noble, and will ship in late February.
But next week you’ll have a chance to win your very own pair of AfterShokz this week. Stay tuned to gagagadget for details!