Batband may be the goofiest bone-conduction headphones ever
You remember the Ostrich Pillow. Of course you do. You can’t forget it. It’s a large pillow you stick your whole head inside in order to block out the bustling world and get a quality nap. Plus, you can tuck your hands into it. It’s delightfully weird, and it’s a Kickstarter success story, having raised nearly $200,000 in 2012 to go into production.
Studio Banana Things, the creator of the Ostrich pillow and its smaller cousins, is back on Kickstarter with another product that involves cradling your head. The Bluetooth Batband is a bone-conduction headset that sends sound into your skull in three places, two above your ears and one at the back of your head.
The biggest advantage to bone-conduction headphones is that you can hear the world around you. They leave your ears free to listen for cars or people while still delivering music to your mind.
The Batband has low-profile touch controls built into the band with sensors on the left controlling power and phone calls and a slider on the right for volume and changing music tracks.
The Batband isn’t the only bone-conduction headphone set currently raising money via crowdfunding. AfterShokz has been in the market making audio gear with this tech for several years and is now running an Indiegogo project for its new Trekz set. If you’re looking for a sportier alternative to the Batband, then AfterShokz looks like the place to go.
Batband promises to deliver what it calls “high-fidelity sound conduction.” Sound quality has sometimes been a complaint about bone-conduction headphones, though it’s hard to judge the Batband without trying one out. If you’re intrigued enough to back the project, it will cost you a pledge of $149 (about £95 or AU$210 — it ships to several countries).
Keep in mind that not all crowdfunding projects deliver as promised and on time. Studio Banana Things does have a good track record of coming through with its Kickstarter pillow projects. The Batband has so far raised over $68,000 toward a $150,000 goal with 46 days left to run.
There may be some compromises with the Batband, most noticeably that it takes up some space around your head. This could make certain hats or hairstyles difficult to wear with the device. At the same time, it has a retro-futuristic look you might find appealing. It reminds me a bit of the headgear brainless Mr. Spock wore in “Spock’s Brain.” There’s something dorky-cool about that.