High School students reinvent headphone cable for the 21st century

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The Spiro X1 Bluetooth adapter from Daniel Greenberg and his team of fellow High School students

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Music lovers can waste many hours and huge sums of money searching for a pair of headphones to match a certain style or preferred sonic signature, only to have to put them to one side and start again just to join the groovy wireless in-crowd. If those premium cans are the kind where the audio cable can be unplugged, however, then the Spiro X1 will allow them to be transformed into Bluetooth ear candy.

Daniel Greenberg's Spiro X1 has similar functionality to the successfully crowdfunded BTunes plug, but with a somewhat different aesthetic – one that screams out to the Beats generation. The original concept was born of late night discussions by team members at a hackathon held at the University of Pennsylvania. By the end of the PennApps event, the High School students had the makings of an idea.

Months of hard work resulted in a proof of concept in February of this year, followed by electrical and mechanical designs, and then the latest aesthetic prototype.

Roughly 38 mm (1.5 in) in diameter and about 12 mm (0.5 in) thick, the Spiro X1 has been designed to work with any source device compatible with Bluetooth 4.0. It has a multifunction button that's used for playback control and to answer calls (if the source device is a smartphone), and there's a volume rocker to the side.

An LED halo informs listeners of wireless status and when to head for the nearest power source to charge the internal battery over micro-USB (the battery is expected to be good for over 5 hours).

Users will just need to unplug the audio cable from their headphones, plug in the Spiro X1 and power up, pair with a source player and bop to the beat.

"Wires have always been a pesky nuisance," says Greenberg. "Our device would serve to make everyone’s life easier and make strides towards a more modern, wireless world. With all of the amazing technology out there, there are no reasons why someone should have a physical wire going from their headphones to their device. We hope, in a couple of years, that wires will exist no more and the Spiro X1 will be the new wire. "

Greenberg and team have hit Kickstarter to get the device into production. The campaign has just launched so early bird pledges of US$40 are still available as of writing, representing a saving of $20 on the expected retail price. If all goes to plan, delivery is expected to start in December.

Sources: Spiro, Kickstarter

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