By Kevin Kelly
With so many headphones to see at CES 2012, you have to wonder what steps manufacturers are going to in order to make their products stand out. AfterShokz has chosen to do that by ignoring your audio canals and taking things to the bone. Their new line of headphones, introduced at CES, actually use bone conduction technology similar to military-grade hardware to deliver sound through your cheekbones directly to your inner ear.
“Bone conduction technology has been around a long time; developed initially for our military forces that need to hear remote communication via a headphone, without any restriction to ambient noise in their surroundings,” said Bruce Borenstein, the president and CEO of AfterShokz. “We’ve taken that technology and built it into consumer-friendly headphones that active adults, business travelers and gamers will benefit from, both in the short and long term.”
Rather than fitting into or on your eyes, the AfterShokz sit right in front them, with the soundpads pressed against the high part of your cheekbones just in front of your ears. The added advantage to this besides the bone conduction is that your ear remains uncovered, allowing ambient sound to come in, which is extremely important for joggers, bike riders, and other people who need to be able to hear what's going on around them while enjoying their music.
Aftershokz come in three models: the standard AfterShokz Sport, the AfterShokz Mobile which comes with an in-line microphone, and the AfterShokz Game which sports a USB connector and a microphone for chatting while gaming. All models are light, water-resistant, a carrying case and feature in-line controls on the cord. They do need to be charged via an included USB connector, and you can expect about ten hours of battery life from the included rechargeable battery. The AfterShokz Sport is available now for $59.95, with the Mobile and Game coming by the end of January for $69.95, and they can all be purchases through Barnes & Noble, which is their exclusive launch partner.
For more auditory and visual news, keep reading MTV Geek's CES 2012 coverage!