Wearing earbuds while riding a motorcycle, ATV or bicycle is not without its challenges. They tend to fall out for starters, and often don't provide much protection from the effects of high winds and traveling at speed. Slimbuds, from EAOS Media, are designed to correct those issues.
The fit comes from the use of silicon ear grips designed to keep the earbuds securely in place without irritating your ears. The company claims that they stay put regardless of what kind helmet your wear and under any riding conditions – on or off road.
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Slimbuds also promise improved audio quality for rider-to-rider conversations, phone calls, and music listening by way of what the company calls a "chin-mic." This two-microphone design sits on the chin, just under the lower lip. One mic picks up what the rider is saying, the second detects changes to the sound environment, like sirens and horns, and lowers the volume on your phone to be sure you can hear them.
An accompanying app, called the Co-Pilot, and handlebar mounted push-to-talk and volume controls allow you to remotely control your audio, receive phone calls, and activate voice commands. It connects to an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth and provides a couple of interesting features.
You can send your location to a pre-determined list of emergency contacts in the event of an accident. Set it up ahead of a ride with a group, and you can use it to chat with your friends while you ride. Because this works via the phone network, not Bluetooth, it doesn't matter how far apart you might get from each other.
Passive noise cancellation is used to reduce engine and wind noise and the Slimbuds can go about six hours on a single charge.
EAOS is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to help take the Slimbuds from prototype to production. The company has currently raised over US$56,000 of its $30,000 goal with a month yet to go in the campaign.
Pledges for Slimbuds, including the app and remote controls, start at $99. That's $100 off from the expected retail. If all goes as plan Slimbuds are expected to start shipping by August 2017.
The question is, are they better than a helmet-based Bluetooth audio set-up? Potentially superior sound and noise cancellation could be points in favor, but on the other hand they are unlikely to be as convenient as a system that always resides in your lid.
There's more information on the Slimbuds in the following video.