Over the years, we’ve seen a number of helmets designed to allow action sports athletes to wirelessly listen to their favorite music while skiing, snowboarding, or skating. Most of those options looked promising on paper, but in reality they often came with a few compromises, including a clunky interface for controlling your tunes, or the inability to continue listening after you’ve taken the helmet off. But a new product called Soundshield looks to change all of that, bringing modular design and simplicity to an audio-enhanced helmet at long last.
The concept behind the Soundshield comes from a company called Unit 1, which recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to get the product off the ground. At first glance, the Soundshield looks a lot like just about any other helmet you might find a skier or snowboarder wearing, but look a bit closer and you’ll find some interesting features integrated into its design.
For instance, it comes equipped with a set of built-in headphones that allow the wearer to listen to music, podcasts, or audio books while skiing or skating. But when they’re done, those headphones can be undocked from the helmet itself and worn completely independently. When you’re ready to return to the slopes, just snap them back into place, put on your helmet, and go.
Those same headphones also feature a single button on the side that allows the wearer to control the audio they are listening to. A single tap pauses or plays the current playlist, while double tapping skips a track and triple tapping jumps back to the previous song. A single tap also picks up any incoming phone calls, with a built-in mic allowing users to chat with friends and family without having to take the helmet off.
Users can also use a voice-activated dialing system to place calls of their own. The headphones are equipped with Bluetooth technology for easy pairing with a smartphone, but also include a standard 3.5mm audio jack. Unit 1 says they have a battery life of 16 hours in wireless mode and come with customizable ear pads for improved comfort, too.
Unit 1 is hoping to raise $50,000 to get the Soundshield into production, and as of this writing it is about halfway to that goal. If successful in its crowdfunding efforts, the helmet/headphone combo should go into production late in 2017 and begin shipping by December. The retail price for the device is expected to be $299, but early-bird supporters can actually order them now for as little as $169.