Smart earbuds are catching on quick: from Bragi’s Dash to Doppler Labs’ Here. And more and more of these “hearables” are packed to the eardrum with biometric sensors, but none of them will fit you as well as the Aware.
United Sciences, a company we reported on before for its non-invasive 3D-scanning technology, has put its research to use for a commercial product. You’ll now be able to get your ears scanned to have your earbuds sit perfectly in your ear. But that’s not all the Aware is good for — it can obtain biometric data, including brain waves via an electro-encephalogram (EEG), and like most smartwatches, Aware can measure your steps, heart rate, distance traveled, and calories burned.
The earbuds connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you’ll be able to view all this diverse, recorded data through the Aware app. Recording your brain waves, for example, can help you focus on the task at hand. The sensor tracks the brain’s beta waves, and the earbuds will make an audible alert to warn you when your concentration is breaking.
“We should unlock a lot of new secrets about the brain once we get consumers in the wild tracking their day-to-day activities.”
It works similarly for stress by tracking the brain’s beta waves that are related to stress, as well as heart rate variability. The app can display that data in real-time, which can subsequently show you what’s triggering your troubled mind and heart.
Aware can also track the brain’s alpha and theta waves, which can be useful when you’re trying to relax. The app displays a triangle, with the left side representing focused consciousness, the right side representing stress, and the tip of the triangle representing relaxation. United Sciences believes by helping you see this data in real-time, Aware will be able to help you relax throughout the day.
But let’s not forget about those delta waves — they correlate to sleep, which Aware can track as well. Monitoring these waves overnight can help you identify what issues you have when sleeping, such as if you’re grinding your teeth, if you’re snoring, and when restlessness in your sleep occurs.
“We should unlock a lot of new secrets about the brain once we get consumers in the wild tracking their day-to-day activities,” Sam Kellett, Jr., CEO of United Sciences, told Digital Trends.
And of course, the company claims the sound emitted through the earbuds to be “superior,” thanks to the custom fit of the hearable. The placement and angle of each speaker can suit the acoustics of each ear, and there’s also a natural noise cancellation effect that occurs thanks to the perfect fit. We’ll have to get our hands on Aware to see if the audio quality is par for the course or better.
With 16GB of internal storage, Aware can log data without Bluetooth, and can store music. It has variable battery life, thanks to a 220mAh capacity. If you’re just listening to music, it can survive for five to six hours; if you’re listening to music and recording biometrics, then it will only last for two to three hours; and if you’re tracking sleep, it can last for 10 to 12 hours. Aware also has wired auxiliary audio support, so you can always plug it in to continue listening to music.
The earbuds also support gesture controls: Tapping once on the earbud will allow you to play or pause music, or answer a phone call. Double tapping can send a call to voicemail, or turn situational awareness on or off — this helps you identify sounds around you. The earbuds also have a pod connecting them together, which gives you access to volume and power buttons.
So how exactly will you be able to get your ear scanned through a Kickstarter campaign? The company is working with malls and various locations around the world to offer a “scanning” event, where buyers can head over to get their ears 3D scanned. The Aware earbuds will then be shipped to them within a few days, sometime in June. So far, the Kickstarter names 24 countries they will hold these events in, with quite a number of cities included.
United Sciences is offering three variants for backers: a $99 version will just get you a custom fit, Bluetooth, and a microphone — perfect for those who are not interested in the biometric scanners. The scanning kicks in with the $249 variant, along with situational awareness, and mobile app integration. For $500, you can get the $249 variant as well as the software development kit, in case you wanted to integrate the data from Aware into your app.
There’s no doubt the devices will make their way into consumer hands — the company has already surpassed its $100,000 goal, with 27 days left to go.