The Dash is Fitness Tracking and Music to Your EarsCategory: Gadgets
Posted: February 16, 2014 01:58PM
Fitness trackers and monitors like Fitbit are becoming increasingly popular these days, but they're another piece of equipment you have worry about – and remember to grab. Most people who exercise regularly listen to music while doing so, so wouldn't it be better if one device could provide both? Enter The Dash.
The Dash is a pair of wireless in-ear headphones that combines a slew of features you'd normally need a variety of devices for. It's an all-in-one device that manufacturer Bragi breaks down into three categories: Listen, Track, and Communicate.
Under the Listen component, The Dash offers crisp and clear sound without any cables thanks to the Bluetooth connection between the two ear pieces. You can also use Bluetooth to play music from a Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a smartphone, but it also includes 4GB of space built-in, so you can store songs directly in The Dash as well. The Dash comes with three sizes of silicone sleeves that should provide a secure and comfortable fit for anyone. Each Dash ear piece weighs less than 13.8 grams, and with no cables pulling them and an ergonomic, three-point fit, using the correct silicone sleeve should provide a secure fit for "94% of all people."
The Track component is what really sets these headphones apart. The Dash can track your performance (pace, steps, cadence, and distance), measure your body vitals (heart rate, oxygen saturation, and energy spent), keep track of your goals, and provide you with realtime acoustic feedback. The Dash is compatible with third-party applications, or you can use Bragi's own app. You are able to use The Dash without a smartphone, but some of the tracking utilizes the GPS of the phone and thus will not get tracked.
If you do have your smartphone with you, that's where the Communicate component comes in. The Dash can work as a Bluetooth headset, complete with passive noise isolation and audio transparency. The Dash uses an "ear bone microphone" that allows it to pick up the "mechanical vibration generated by your voice from the ear bone."
All the controls, outside of using a smartphone app, are done by touching either the left or right ear piece, but instead of me explaining it, Bragi supplied this handy image:
The Dash is currently undergoing a Kickstarter campaign, and with 42 days still remaining, it has already blown past its $260,000 goal – at the time of this writing, it's approaching $1.7 million with over 8,000 backers. Probably not surprising, The Dash does not come cheap. There was an Early Bird special for the first 1,000 backers to grab a pair at $179, but that's sold out, so now the minimum is $199. Still, if this is something you're interested in, the suggested retail price is expected to be $299, so Kickstarter backers do enjoy a substantial discount. There are also various developer packages to choose from if you'd like to get your hands on a pair of prototypes and/or start developing more applications for it.
Purchasing any of The Dash packages gets you a left and right ear piece, three sizes (S/M/L) of silicone sleeves, a micro USB cable, a slick carrying case, the Bragi app, a manual, and two Bragi stickers to show off your loyalty. Thanks to the $666,667 stretch goal that has already easily been achieved, the carrying case features a built-in battery pack that can fully charge The Dash in less than an hour and provides up to five full charges.
Speaking of battery life, The Dash is expected to "at least provide 3 hours of battery life when all sensors are in use and up to 4 hours when only playing music." Using the Advanced Control Center (which was the second stretch goal), there are power saving features you can enable that can increase the battery life under certain uses. There is a battery life expectancy of at least three years with 1.6 charges per day, so it should last quite awhile. That being said, the battery is not replaceable due to the waterproofing of the ear pieces. Yes, if you like to run in the rain or even swim, you can still utilize The Dash – though with the latter, some functionality (like Bluetooth to a phone) gets disabled.
The Dash is certainly a unique device and features a lot of cool and interesting technology. Check out the images below and/or the Kickstarter page to learn more about the technical details.
Source: Kickstarter and Press Release