Not only is it unsafe to wear earbuds while cycling or riding a motorbike, but it's also a hassle to fit those buds on underneath your helmet. That's why Ahead was created. It gets mounted on the outside of any type of helmet, and transmits streamed audio into that helmet via vibrations – leaving the user's ears free and clear.
In some ways, Ahead works like a regular Bluetooth earpiece.
It wirelessly receives audio (such as music or turn-by-turn navigational cues) from the user's paired smartphone. That phone can be safely squirrelled away in a pocket or bag. Additionally, using a button control on the device, the user can place or receive calls. Dual mics pick up their voice with little to no wind noise, reportedly even when travelling at speeds of up to 60 km/h (40 mph).
Unlike an earpiece, however, Ahead clicks into a bracket that's strapped or adhered to the user's helmet. Instead of a speaker, it has an oscillator that passes vibrations into the helmet, essentially turning it into a wearable speaker.
The device itself weighs 63 grams, is water-resistant, and is claimed to run for up to eight hours on one 1.5-hour charge of its battery. It works with any smartphone, although a free iOS/Android app offers increased functionality.
Ahead is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, where a pledge of US$89 is required to get one. If all goes according to plans, shipping will begin in October. Prospective buyers might also wish to check out the similar Domio.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more