Vie Shair headphones swap cushions for air frames to improve comfort

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The Vie Shair headphones replace standard cushions with geometric 3D structures(Credit: Vie)

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Even the plushest headphone ear cushions can end up generating fatigue to the point where breaks are necessary. A new startup, based out of Tokyo, Japan, has come up with a headphone design that addresses the stress and heat buildup associated with typical over-ear units. The Vie Shair headphones feature a unique air frame that relieves pressure on the ears while permitting more environmental awareness.

Most over-ear headphones available are either open- or closed-back, with the latter providing enhanced isolation and less sound leakage. One exception is the Rock Jaw Audio Sentio, which can effectively switch between the two modes with a simple twisting motion. These latest headphones from Vie Style are also convertible, yet take a completely different approach by replacing standard cushions with geometric 3D structures.

At a glance, Vie's open-air frame looks like a type of open air cage and is designed in such a way as to "float" the speakers away from the ears. Made of flexible nylon, these frames offer a cushioning effect with minimal contact against the skin. Clamping force is directed towards the skull's bone structure rather than soft tissue, which is claimed to help maintain comfort over time. The open frame also adds the benefit of reducing heat and sweat buildup. Those preferring more isolation/privacy and less ambient noise can always remove the open frame and swap in a closed one.

The Vie Shair headphones use 60 mm planar magnetic drivers, which, compared to dynamic speakers, offer minimal sound leakage with improved clarity. They also feature 3.5 mm input, wireless Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX support, built-in LED lights, onboard controls, and an internal battery that's good for up to eight hours per charge via micro USB.

On top of all that, Vie Shair are designed to be able to share music with an unlimited number of additional Vie Shair headphones. Each unit is equipped with a transmitter and receiver that operate off a proprietary 2.4 Ghz broadcast protocol. Through the built-in TX/RX switch or companion app (available for Android and iOS), users can search for and pair with additional headsets up to 100 ft (30 m) away. So long as units are in range, individuals can enjoy stereo sound quality with low latency.

The Vie Shair headphones are currently funding on Kickstarter, having raised 16 percent of the US$150,000 goal in a day, with another 44 days left to go. A pledge of $199 sets you up with one Vie Shair in choice of color with open-air frame, closed-air frame, soft case, audio cable, and USB cable included, saving $200 off the planned retail price.

The company has developed a number of prototypes, the latest version of which was recently showcased at CES 2016. If tooling, manufacturing, testing and crowdfunding go according to plan, backers can expect shipments of Vie Shair headphones to start as early as this November.

The company's pitch video can be viewed below.

Source: Vie Style

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