For a few years now, there’s been quite a lot of chatter in the tech-press about “hearables:” devices that we will be able to wear in our ears that will provide a range of digital services, a bit like smartwatches. But what value will these devices offer, and will people really want to wear them regularly?
Hit The Gym With No Wires
Apple already has wireless headphone buds that slot into your ears. But the problem with Apple’s offering is that you still have to carry your phone with you. Sure, you might have a zip up pocket to stow it while you’re on the leg press machine, but do you really want an $800 device in your pocket while you’re engaged in strenuous physical activity? Probably not.
Hearables offer a solution. Unlike the wireless headphones of today, hearables have the ability to store information onboard. So if you want to listen to your gym playlist while pounding out reps on the squat rack, you can do so safe in the knowledge that your phone is safely stowed in your locker, not in your pocket waiting to get crushed.
Augment Your Hearing
If you take a look at the current list of hearing aid accessories, you can already see the direction in which future hearables are likely to go. Today’s hearing aid technology comes with numerous quality-of-life features, as well as a whole host of sound-augmenting features. You can do practically anything with today’s top-of-the-range hearing aids, like isolate voices in a room, change settings dynamically depending on your location, and boost the volume when it’s hard to hear. Hearables of tomorrow will likely offer all these features and more, allowing you to pick up what’s being said in adjacent rooms or across a windy field.
Download Audio Content By Waving Your Hands
Gesture control never really took off on mobile phones. Sure, some people use it, but the versatile touchscreen made if redundant.
Not so with hearables. Today’s prototype hearables already use gesture control for commands. But these controls are limited to telling the device to pause, stop, play or skip to the next track – you can’t use gestures to do more complicated things, like download new audio content.
Tomorrow’s hearables will change all that. More sophisticated gestures will replace today’s somewhat limited lineup, and we may get the ability to talk to hearables, telling them what we’d like them to do next, such as download and play a new album from iTunes.
Get Live Updates Piped Straight Through
Rather than receiving notifications on your phone screen, hearables may allow you to get live updates piped directly to your ears. For some people, this might be a little intrusive, but you can imagine all kinds of applications in business. For instance, a stockbroker could get an alert through to their device if a stock goes above or below a certain price. Likewise, people trapped in emergencies could be fed instructions on how to help a person who is dying. The possibilities are endless.