Headphones have now been around for ages in one form or another, and their most basic design has changed little in all these years. Though some have different colors, aesthetics, and may be in-ear buds as opposed to over the head models, they all typically have one thing in common: a cord. To be exact, a cord that is prone to becoming tangled, shorting out, and is too short to do much else than sit and listen while the headphones are in use. People have simply dealt with these hassles and drawbacks over the years, but recently the tide has been turning toward cordless models.
Leaving the AUX cable behind definitely hasn’t been without its challenges, but the idea is so popular and novel that developers keep aiming to create well-functioning headphones that are wireless. Not only does the question of connectivity have to be solved, but such headphones also need to fit well and integrate key controls. While some companies are focused on creating wireless headphones specifically made for certain devices, another named Bragi has developed a device that goes beyond music players: the Dash. These earbuds may look unassuming, but they have the potential to change the way we all look at headphones going forward.
How Dash Earphones Work
In short, the Dash is much like a mini computer that you can place into your ears. On the right earbud are touch sensitive controls that play and pause music, change the volume, and cycle through playlists. The left earbud’s controls manage the device’s stat and time tracking system, and it also allows you to alter settings for the Dash’s other functions. There are absolutely no cables involved, just two pods that you put into your ears and connect to your phone with Bluetooth.
The device has its own app that lets you easily control various settings and access data. Though these earbuds are the size of most others, the Dash contains 150 components, 27 sensors, and a tiny 32 bit processor to power its features. It has a profile that’s ergonomic so it can fit in ears of any size, as well as an assortment of sleeves that provide a better fit and greater comfort.
Once the Dash is connected to your smartphone, the earbuds then connect to each other through near-field magnetic induction (NFMI). The gadget was designed so that you don’t have to take the earbuds off if you don’t want to, except when it comes time to charge them. You can, of course, listen to music with them just like you would any other earbuds, but these come with an integrated 4 GB music player that stores about 1,000 tracks. You can also play music via the Bluetooth connection all while doing whatever else you need to get done, such as playing sports, exercising, walking to work, or even cleaning up around the house.
Tow other key functions of the Dash are the ability to make calls and control functions with swipes and taps. You’d normally change a track by pressing a button, but you can just swipe an earbud when wearing this gadget. With its digital signal processor and touch controls, you can quickly tap if you want to make or take a phone call, without having to take the Dash out of your ears. There’s a microphone embedded into the device that’s not sensitive to background noises, which allows for great call quality.
Charging the headphones isn’t a problem, and you don’t have to plug it into an outlet. It has a portable charger that can juice up the device in less than 30 minutes, and just setting the earbuds inside of its case will charge the Dash. Once it’s fully charged, you can use the earbuds for up to four hours at a time.
Bragi is trying to constantly pack more features into the Dash, and eventually the company plans for the earbuds to offer a range of functions and have apps available that will take it to another level. For now, they’re able to make calls, play music, and can also track certain health stats.
The company had made a lot of emphasis on these earbuds being the ultimate fitness companion, especially for cyclists, runners, and those who enjoy water sports such as surfing and swimming. The Activity Tracker that comes with the device’s app keeps up with your heart rate, performance, number of steps, amount of energy that you’ve exerted, and oxygen saturation in real time.
All of the information that’s tracked shows up in the gadget’s companion app, and this is also where you’ll find the Dash’s manual and settings. What’s really neat is the audio feedback that you’ll occasionally hear to alert you of certain actions, all courtesy of a friendly female voice that will tell you when the earbuds need to charge or what your heart rate is while exercising.
The company behind the creation of the Dash is Munich, Germany based Bragi. Most people came to know about the unique earbuds via a Kickstarter campaign that was launched to fund the product’s development. That campaign was wildly successful and generated tons of media buzz, which is how Bragi was able to make the Dash available for sale and continue upgrading its software.
Though many have praised the earphones and Bragi won a 2016 Red Dot Award for packaging design, the company has made it clear that the device is a work in progress. Bragi’s staff continues to update the Dash’s software and are tweaking it to resolve issues with its Bluetooth connectivity. Looking toward the future, Bragi also plans to offer tools and an SDK toolset for developers so more apps that are compatible with the Dash can be created.
Pricing and Availability
The Dash is available for sale on the Bragi website in both black and white for $299. Along with Dash sets, you can also buy other accessories compatible with the device as well as replacement parts. As of yet, the Dash hasn’t reached brick and mortar retail outlets or other online stores.