If you're a skier/snowboarder who likes listening to music while hittin' the slopes, you can try wearing earphones underneath your helmet, or you can get a helmet with built-in speakers. The former can be fiddly, however, while the latter doesn't let you hear your tunes once you take the helmet off. That's why Denver, Colorado-based startup Unit 1 created the Soundshield – it's a helmet with its own wireless headphones, that can be removed for use on their own.
When being used in the helmet, the headphones' ear cups dock into openings located over the ears (cleverly enough), while their headband sits along the bottom edge of the helmet, across the back of the wearer's neck. A patented four-anchor quick-release mechanism keeps them securely in place, until it's time to take them out.
The headphones themselves are water-resistant, foldable, feature 40-mm drivers along with a mic for taking phone calls, and they communicate with the user's mobile device via Bluetooth 4.2 – they also have a 3.5-mm jack, should you wish to use them hard-wired. One charge of their lithium-ion battery is good for a claimed 16 hours of playback.
Given that users will likely be wearing thick gloves or mitts, their controls are pretty simple. One big ear-cup-located button is tapped to pause music/take calls, skip tracks or repeat tracks, while a dial surrounding that button is used to adjust volume.
For its part, the safety-certified helmet features a 3-mm ABS shell with an EPS foam liner, customizable padding, a removable goggle clip, and a total of eight vents. It can also be used for non-winter activities such as skateboarding, and it is safe to use without the headphones attached.
The Soundshield is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where a pledge of US$169 will currently get you one – assuming it reaches production. The planned retail price is $299.
You can see it being demo'd in the following video.
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