Saturday, 4 August 2007

Invisible Earphones

I like listening to podcasts with my portable MP3 player, especially the podcasts at EconTalk. When I am at work I like to listen to MP3s because by listening to good podcasts I feel as if I am not wasting my time but instead I am learning and educating myself.

Unfortunately, whenever I wear earphones, co-workers see me wearing earphones and, not wanting to distract me from what they presume is music, decide not to speak to me. Even if they want to talk to me they may believe that because I am listening to MP3s I wouldn't hear them. Wearing earphones then is terribly anti-social. If you want to be isolated in the workplace or even among your friends or family, wear earphones everywhere with you.

What I need to do then is to purchase invisible earphones.

This idea has already been suggested at Halfbakery and apparently the invisible earphone has already been invented by Reece Myers, a 22-year-old who graduated from Brunel University. The article however claims that the inventor is having trouble finding a manufacturer.
Mr Myers' 'Discreet Sound System' consists of a single inch-long thin pad that uses bone conduction to transmit sound directly to the inner ear - technology similar to that used in hearing aids.

The system operates wirelessly using a Bluetooth connection between the pad and the headphone output socket on the MP3 player.

As well as being invisible, the wearer can hear external noise like approaching traffic because there are no earphones to block the eardrum.

Little microphones in the device constantly monitor external noise and adjust the volume to suit, lowering the music when the user is in a quiet area like a carriage or increasing it in noisy locations like train stations.
Another website claims to already have an invisible wireless earphone. Some of the reasons why they are selling it seem quite interesting. Their main website says, " Our spy wireless earphones are great for: Students. Both high school and post secondary students... No more breaking your head over a difficult tests or exam." This website looks suspicious. On the About Us page it says, "For what cell phone you intent [sic] to use it [sic]." For all I know the whole site may be a scam.

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