While fitness tracking wristbands and smart clothing are nothing new, the next generation of health-focused tech could reside right in your ear. Bragi's Dash wireless Bluetooth earbuds are capable of tracking your performance, measuring your body's vitals and, playing music--even without your smartphone.
The Dash comes loaded with sensors, including a 3-axis accelerometer, a red and IR LED and optical sensor, a five-field capacitive sensor and a thermometer. This means that the Dash earbuds can measure your body temperature, how many calories you've burned, your heart rate and your body's oxygen saturation. Additionally, the Dash can track your steps, cadence, speed, drop rate and airtime if you're participating in extreme sports, turns and distance.
Bragi has also packed the earbuds with a 100 mAh battery and a 32-bit ARM processor with 4GB of onboard storage, although it warns that these are just preliminary specs that may change before The Dash hits the market. Although 4GB isn't a lot of room, you could store music on the device for your workout if you don't feel like bringing your smartphone or iPod.
The earbuds' Kickstarter page touts the device as much more than a fitness tracker, claiming it's an in-ear personal assistant. Besides tracking your body's activity and playing music, the earbuds can provide auditory feedback on your performance and act as a Bluetooth headset for taking phone calls, thanks to its integrated mic. The Dash also comes with a transparent audio feature that lets wearers channel ambient noise through while blocking out other distracting sound.
Bragi says additional cases for the headset could extend beyond just exercising, such as firefighters using the in-ear gadget to monitor their health and improve communications. The company claims that the device could eventually be used to translate foreign languages to its listener in real time.
There's no set price for The Dash just yet, but the Kickstarter page lists a suggested retail price of $299. Early bird backers can snag the headset by reserving a pair for $179. There are still 47 days left on its Kickstarter campaign and Bragi has already raised nearly $240k of its $260k goal.
The Dash isn't alone in this nascent category. Intel unveiled its smart earbud concept at CES 2014, which is capable of extracting health information as you work out. The earbuds can also provide feedback on your performance and suggest new songs according to your jogging speed. LG also unveiled a new pair of smart fitness-focused earbuds at CES 2014 that accompany its Lifeband Touch health band.