The future is here, and it is magical. I’m listening to music streamed through the air from a cloud somewhere, using a pocket computing device that is more powerful than my first 10 computers combined. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people doing this right now, but how many of them are using earbuds that were printed on a 3D printer? OK, I’m probably not alone there either, but it can’t be a lot of them.
The people at AIRbudz were nice enough to send me a set of their alternative earbud attachments. That is, the rubber attachment you find on most sound isolating earbuds, the part that sticks into your ear and seals out all other sounds. There should be a word for these things, but I certainly can’t find one with a casual internet search.
What sets AIRbudz apart is that they lack most of the sound isolation that other earbuds often sell as a feature. The complete isolation may be great when you are trying to work in a noisy office, or enjoy a movie on an airplane, but it is downright dangerous to life and limb when walking down the street or sitting in the same room as your spouse. That last one hits a little too close to home as I was testing a new set of a-Jay’s One+ earphones last night, and looked up just in time to realize my wife was talking to me and I wasn’t hearing a thing.
AIRbudz fixes the isolation issue by building their buds with air channels that let sound pass through. The external sound is subdued a little, but not enough to prevent a person from having a conversation or hearing a warning sound. As earbuds go, they work well, don’t seem to alter the music any, and are comfortable. Just moments ago they allowed me to hear and respond to my wife without having to pull an earbud out and ask her to repeat herself. The next test is to secretly try them on my son’s skull candy buds. Maybe then he will stop unplugging in the middle of a conversation and asking us to replay it.
Check out the AIRbudz KickStarter project page for more information; they’ve only got a couple days left and may not reach their goal. I’m in for 3 sets.