"Total-encapsulation" headphones promise wireless audio and language translation
Some pretty imaginative personal audio gear is already riding in on the wave of improving wireless connectivity, but there's none more ambitious than the so-called Sound program from startup Human Inc. Its debut earphones may look like somebody spray-painted sea-shells and asked you to tune into the sounds of the ocean, but if they perform as planned they'll be useful not just for wireless listening, but as portable speakers and language translators, too.
Seattle-based Human Inc. is the stealthy startup behind the Sound program, and after raising US$5 million in investment capital earlier in the year it is now starting to reveal some features that will underpin its flagship product.
The sleek wireless earphones are designed to totally encapsulate the ear and offer personal surround sound. They will also allow the increase or decrease of ambient noise, a handy feature already seen in Parrot's high-end Zik 2.0 headphones.
The as yet unnamed earphones will enable multiple wearers to tune into the same device, or if the situation calls for it, double as portable speakers with volume and sound quality that the company claims will be superior to most smartphones. A consistent sync between both ears is also promised.
But perhaps the boldest of all claims is the indication that these devices will have some language translation. The company doesn't say anything other than a soon-to-be revealed function will "aim to break language barriers." This sounds like it might have some similarities to the Pilot earpiece that we covered last week, which is designed to provide near real-time translations of multilingual conversations.
On top of all that, there are tactile controls for volume adjustments, track selection and answering phone calls and the company claims the earphones will connect with mobile devices instantaneously. Our experience with Bluetooth speakers tells us this would be some sort of leap, but that's assuming these will use Bluetooth connectivity, something the company is yet to confirm.
Other things the company hasn't detailed at this point are pricing, availability and why it insists on referring to its product lineup as a "program." But to cram all of these features, which we've seen around the place but not in the one package, into devices not much larger than your ear would be an accomplishment that could warrant that kind of grandiose tag.
Source: Human Inc.