Motorcycles

Headwave Tag creates a personal concert hall in your helmet

Headwave Tag creates a persona...
The Headwave Tag applies soundwaves to the outside of the user's helmet to fill the inside with audio
The Headwave Tag applies soundwaves to the outside of the user's helmet to fill the inside with audio
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The Headwave Tag applies soundwaves to the outside of the user's helmet to fill the inside with audio
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The Headwave Tag applies soundwaves to the outside of the user's helmet to fill the inside with audio
The device is attached to the outside of the helmet using an industrial-strength adhesive and has an adjustable curvature to fit different helmet shapes, sizes and models
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The device is attached to the outside of the helmet using an industrial-strength adhesive and has an adjustable curvature to fit different helmet shapes, sizes and models
The Tag is made of made out of thermoplastic polyurethane and it measures 123 x 61 mm (4.8 x 2.4 in), extending just over 2 cm (0.8 in) out from the helmet
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The Tag is made of made out of thermoplastic polyurethane and it measures 123 x 61 mm (4.8 x 2.4 in), extending just over 2 cm (0.8 in) out from the helmet

Almost two years ago, we featured a prototype device that would turn a sports or motorbike helmet into a speaker. The Headway stuck to the outside of a helmet and used surface transduction to transmit audio waves into the helmet. Now it's all grown up and it's called the Headwave Tag.

The Tag was conceived by Headwave founder Sophie Willborn, who wasn't enamoured with having to wear headphones under her helmet when biking. She pointed to awkward cables and easily dislodged earbuds as two frustrations caused by headphones, and set about trying to find a solution.

The solution that presented itself didn't just seek to improve headphones for under-helmet wearing, but did away with them altogether. The Tag's lack of cables or interior installation mean that it doesn't affect the fit of the helmet. After two further years of development, the Tag has been molded into a final product.

That development has seen many more prototyping rounds, testing everything from battery size and connectors to button positioning to casing pigmentation, Willborn tells Gizmag. Among the changes made include the addition of an adjustable curvature so that the device can be attached to different helmet shapes and sizes, and the reduction of the user interface down to a single button.

The device is attached to the outside of the helmet using an industrial-strength adhesive and has an adjustable curvature to fit different helmet shapes, sizes and models
The device is attached to the outside of the helmet using an industrial-strength adhesive and has an adjustable curvature to fit different helmet shapes, sizes and models

Users need only link the Tag with a phone or music-playing device via Bluetooth 4.1. By applying sound waves to the helmet which pass through it via transduction, the Tag is then able to fill inside of it with audio of the user's choosing. "You can imagine Tag as a strong loudspeaker without any membrane," says Willborn. "Tag uses the helmet itself as a membrane to create the sound."

The result is increased immersiveness, with music playing all around the user's head. The vibrations are also said to create powerful bass tones.

The Tag is made of made out of thermoplastic polyurethane and it measures 123 x 61 mm (4.8 x 2.4 in), extending just over 2 cm (0.8 in) out from the helmet. It is able to withstand speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph) and is both water- and shock-proof. It has a 600-mAh li-ion battery that lasts for around 6-8 hours and is charged via USB.

The Tag was launched at the beginning of January and is available to order now at a price of €299 (about US$324). The video below provides an introduction to the device.

Source: Headwave

Headwave TĀG, The World’s First Concert Capsule™

6 comments
serge747
Seriously? riding a motorcycle is already a fun and engaging experience. Listening to music not only distract you from the actual sound of the engine and surrounding, it also shelter you from life-saving sound cue about your surroundings. Well, this is how I ride and after 20 yrs I still haven't donated any organ ;)
Erik Guilfoyle
While Serge has a point, I find my rides in unfamiliar terrain are highly distracted when I'm trying to figure out which is my next turn. Constantly looking down at the map near my next turn make me feel far less safe then a headset that speaks the directions. Serge's point is valid in that you MUST pay full attention on a bike. But I can do that better with audible audio in some circumstances. I don't think this product is yet worth the cost. It's not much more then a speaker. Add some functionality like automatic volume control based on speed (adding to Serge's point) and the value starts to grow. I'm still wanting for a HUD so I can keep my head upright and on the road at all times :) Even maintaining my speed has me looking down on occasion.
Techtwit
As Eric says, a lot of money for a one-trick pony. Why not incorporate pilot - passenger and bike-bike comms, as well as mobile 'phone link functionality? As for charging via USB, my bike has a 12v power point, but no USB. Wonder if she did any work on the various helmet shell materials to check for degradation due to the vibrations beinf introduced to the shell by this gadget? I would want a lot more information and functiionality before even considering buying one at that price, and then there is Serge's very valid point about concentration and safety.
guzmanchinky
Ok, so here's a secret: I ride with a full Bose over the ear noise cancelling headset inside my helmet, and play music. I can't even hear my engine (like having an electric bike!) and the music is so clear, I can turn it way down and still hear it. Emergency noises like ambulances and horns come right through, because noise cancelling headphones don't filter out noises unless they are continuous. This helmet speaker system seems amazing, but unless you ride an electric motorcycle compensating for the engine noise would require so much volume that I think your head would explode eventually. That said, if I ever buy an electric motorcycle (and I will one day) I'll buy this helmet sound system right away...
Douglas Bennett Rogers
There won't be any degradation from the sound, otherwise you couldn't have paper speaker cones! I would be worried about forehead impact. Anything not mounted on nose or ears is good!
Nostromo47
I'm with the commenters who are concerned about distractions the rider (driver?) of a motorcycle would experience. Safety demands that riders NOT be isolated from the business of operating their bike. Better the passenger wear this "concert hall" in a helmet. But then they would need a intercom to talk as they do in helicopters. In California, it is illegal to wear headphones over both ears while driving a car. One ear, OK, but not both.