Running is great. Music is great. Combining them can be fun, but it also creates a safety issue. X-Shock thinks they have a “bright” idea to address this with transparent, LED-equipped wireless earbuds.
These are truly wireless in the same vein as AirPods, so there are two separate buds that go into each ear. X Shock says they have set it up so the buds automatically connect when removed from their case, plus the case itself charges the buds and can act as an external battery for your phone. Here’s what they’re pitching from their IndieGoGo page:
At the core,
- Gold-plated antenna to achieve the best connection quality
- 60 hours of playtime, the longest amongst its competitors
- Instant auto-pairing function
- Seamless control of your mobile device functions
On the outside,
- Safety LED’s; added safety for protection in the dark
- Double-injection technology, one of the best water-resistant solutions, which makes the X-SHOCK a true sport earphone
- Ergonomic design that guarantees the perfect fit
- Naturally isolate outside noise
That last bit is bolded because that part scares me. Even with flashing bits in your ears, you still need to hear what’s going on around you. These LEDs aren’t a magical solution that will stop cars from accidentally hitting you. One of the most important rules of thumb in running and cycling safety is to NEVER assume the cars saw you. You are soft and squishy and full of liquid and organs, and cars are made of metal. If there’s a car coming down the road, you shouldn’t rely on LEDs to keep you safe, you should be aware and have a plan to get out of the way if necessary. By sealing off outside noise, you’re being robbed of that very important bit of situational awareness.
In addition, I foresee a practical issue with these, and that’s hair. The buds aren’t huge, so anyone with a shaggier haircut or longer hair is not going to benefit from the safety benefits provided by the lights. Also, these really, really look like the earbuds from Doctor Who’s Rise of the Cybermen, so you won’t hear cars coming OR a Cyberman clomping along yelling about upgrading you.
These seem like a good idea, and they look cool as wireless buds, but for them to truly be a safety tool it would be better for them to have an LED neckband for more surface lighting. Still, if you’re in the market for some funky earbuds, check out the X-Shock IndieGoGo campaign here!