AIRbudz earbud add-ons let outside noise in
As great a convenience as they are, headphones and earbuds appear destined to forever plague active music listeners. First, there are the annoying, dangling cords smacking you in the face. Then, there's your complete obliviousness to the outside world. For the former, we have inventive storage systems like Cordcrunchers and Hoodiebuddies. For the latter, AIRbudz.
Airbudz give you an audible lifeline to the outside world by way of large air channels. According to the creators, Airbudz deliver distortion-free music while allowing some ambient noise - like say car horn or someone yelling "Watch out!" - to make it down your canals.
If you're sitting around your living room cruising the Internet and listening to your latest downloads, you probably don't care about ambient noise. In fact, you may want to completely drown out ambient noises (read: nagging spouse, roommate, parent). However, if you're actively engaging in a sport or activity that utilizes hearing, being able to hear ambient noise is important. When it comes to snowboarding, skateboarding, running, biking and other activities where people commonly listen to music, being able to hear some sound from beyond your playlist will keep you safer.
Airbudz isn't really doing anything completely new. We've seen other systems like earHero that attempt to do the same exact thing. What's cool about Airbudz, though, is that they're simple earbud accessories that fit around 70 percent of existing earbud models. Forget spending hundreds on a dedicated set of sport earbuds and just slide these on your regular earbuds when you need them and take them off when you don't. The company is just trying to get things going on Kickstarter so it doesn't have final prices, but we could see these being a popular solution so long as they're priced reasonably.
If you're interested in seeing what types of over-dramatized situations that Airbudz can prevent, check out its YouTube channel. While some of the videos give you an idea of what they're all about, some of them are just awful - like the one that implies that a biker-jogger crash was the fault of the jogger since she was wearing headphones. The one below is about right, though.
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I also wonder how sanitary these would be.
FYI, you're confusing earbuds, which rest outside the ear canal, with in-ear monitors and canalbuds, which fit in the ear canal. Without proper sealing, the latter designs sound like garbage. And if you really want to let sound in and compromise sound quality, you can do it for free by just using the cheap earbuds all music players come with.
Except that doesn't really work. FWIW, I don't need audiophile quality sound when I'm jogging or cycling. I would like to hear the cars and people around me, however. Don't know if these are the solution, but the problem definitely exists.