We first came across the idea of solar-powered Bluetooth headphones back in 2009. Five years later, the proliferation of Bluetooth LE and the capability of today's solar cells has given London-based startup Exod the tools needed to turn the concept into reality. With its Helios headphones, the company is dangling the prospect of a dangle-free listening experience in front of mobile music lovers.
As anyone who has spent time untangling those stubborn knots will attest, headphone cords are generally bad news. The thought of going completely wireless with your set of cans certainly has its appeal, but just how much listening time can be afforded purely by energy from the Sun?
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The Helios headphones rely on a photovoltaic panel built into the headband to draw on the Sun's power. The Exod team says each hour of exposure to natural light can provide its Bluetooth headphones with enough juice for half an hour of clean energy listening.
But if sunlight is scarce, the 430 mAh battery can be topped up through a Micro USB charging cable plugged into an AC outlet. When fully charged, it should be good for 15 hours of use. And if the Bluetooth is proving problematic, the headphones also feature a 3.5 mm audio jack for a more conventional connection.
The headphones also have an integrated microphone, intended for use with a paired device to enable hands-free phone conversations. Buttons on the earpiece allow the user to change tracks, adjust volume, take calls and also switch the solar panel on or off.
Helios will be available in wood color, black with mat or glossy finish and carbon. Exod is looking to raise £50,000 (US$78,500) through its Kickstarter campaign, with early pledges of £100 (US$157) still available at the time of writing. Shipping is slated for July 2015 if all goes to plan.
You can check out the team's pitch video below.