Despite technology's best efforts, headphones and sports just don't mix that well. Loss of awareness of your surroundings, uncomfortable earphones and tangled wires make them less than a perfect solution and it's these shortcomings that The Sonic Walk aims to address by providing a more natural, ergonomic way of listening to music and exercising.
The Sonic Walk looks like a backpack without the pack. It's basically a shoulder harness that fits snugly and securely against your body (unlike pesky earbud cords). Built into the shoulder straps, within inches of your ears, are two small speakers. Amplification is also integrated. So you get to listen to your music without dealing with the annoyances that headphones bring.
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The idea is nothing new, and there's at least a concept or two just like this tucked away in the Gizmag annals, but the Sonic Walk appears to be sleeker and more ergonomic than other systems. It's also packaged in a variety of different types of sport-specific systems. The small, 8.5-oz (240-gram) 300 series Lightning is designed for jogging and running, while the 600 series Sierra is meant to attach to a backpack when hiking, cycling, etc. There's even a larger version designed for motorcycle speeds up to 60 mph. Sonic Walk systems include other helpful accessories like LED lights for nighttime visibility, storage pouches and hydration pockets, though specific features vary by model.
Systems like these threaten to disturb others, since you're basically blasting your music straight into the surrounding environment, but assuming people use them considerately, they could be an effective alternative to earphones.
Prices start around US$90.
Source: Sonic WalkView gallery - 9 images