JBL's solar-powered headphones might never need to be plugged in
Headphones with no wires offer music-lovers a new kind of freedom, but the reality is they require an onboard power source that inevitably needs recharging. Audio giant JBL is putting forward a possible solution to this dilemma via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, where it is canvassing interest for a new set of solar-powered headphones that promise “virtually unlimited” playtime.
Just a prototype at this stage, the JBL Reflect Eternals connect to a user’s devices over Bluetooth and function much like a set of regular wireless headphones. The 700 mAh onboard battery can be fully charged in two hours via USB and offers up to 24 hours of playtime, an impressive figure in itself.
But where things get interesting is the solar-charging material built into the headband. Called Powerfoyle and produced by Swedish company Exeger, this is apparently engineered to generate power whether it is indoors or outdoors, even when dealing with artificial light or indirect sunlight.
According to JBL, provided the battery is fully charged to begin with, an hour and a half outside each day will keep the headphones running for up to 68 hours, depending on the lighting conditions. Two hours spent outside per day will offer up to 168 hours of playtime, while 2.5 hours sunshine each day will keep them running indefinitely.
Other features include compatibility with Google Voice Assistant and Amazon Alexa, hands-free calls and settings to allow more ambient noise to filter through.
It might seem odd for a company that has been around for 70 years to turn to crowdfunding to get something into production, but they aren’t the only big name to recently take this route. Sony crowdfunded a personal air conditioner back in July, while Canon did the same for its Ivy Rec clip-on camera around the same time.
For its part, JBL says it “wanted to tap a platform that welcomes new ideas and innovations,” and its first foray into crowdfunding will allow consumers to “provide early response to the concept.” These responses could even shape the commercial version, with JBL noting it will make “necessary product adjustments” as part of its go-to market strategy.
Early pledges of US$144 are available, with shipping slated for October 2020 if the campaign runs as planned. You can check out the pitch video below.