DropLabs gets ready to rumble with bass you can feel in your feet
Many people claim to get a real buzz from listening to music, but if you don a pair of EP 01 sneakers, you really will get a buzz. The "sonic-sensory footwear" has been designed to add a live event feel to music on the move thanks to a transducer in the midsole that coverts sounds into vibrations you can feel.
"We've developed a proprietary technology that we have integrated into the midsole of the sneaker that converts audio signals into vibrations," said DropLabs CEO Susan Paley. "When these vibrations are delivered through your feet and synchronized with what you hear in your ears, it is a completely transformative experience for digital entertainment. Although initially envisioned to recreate the energy of live music, adding this immersion layer to gaming, movies and VR is next level."
The original EP 01 sneakers were released last year, but developer DropLabs says that they sold out quickly. A new upgraded "Triple Black Edition" has now been unleashed, with the sneakers still simultaneously pairing with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and BT headphones but now allowing for dynamic tuning for different content.
That content is streamed to the sneakers, turned into vibrations and the audio is then sent up to the headphones so you can hear the audio while feeling the beat. The intensity of the sole buzz can be controlled through an iOS/Android companion app, filters can be applied, and now there's a color wheel that allows wearers to take control of the LEDs on the sneakers.
The EP 01s are reported to be water resistant, but not waterproof, they sport an integrated battery that's good for up to six hours of use between charges, and are said to be good for travel by plane. The technology makes use of Bluetooth 4.2, though it's also possible to physically connect the audio source to the sneakers, when gaming or watching TV for example, using a supplied low-latency cable.
We've seen a number of devices over the years that let users feel the music – including stones you place all over your body, a subwoofer for your chair, and a portable thunder box for bass players – though our own experiences of such technology are somewhat mixed. That said, customer testimonials for the EP 01 sneakers do seem universally positive.
The real kicker here though is the price. The EP 01 sneakers are on sale now for US$299, though there is a 30-day "risk free" return period and one-year limited warranty.
Product page: EP 01