Parrot puts on headphone gesture gadgetry
Moves with the music
Parrot ruffled feathers at CES 2012 this week with the second generation of its smartphone-controlled quadricopter, the AR.Drone 2.0, however the company has much more that just that up its sleeve, also launching a set of snazzy Bluetooth headphones that boast NFC connectivity and a built-in accelerometer.
The Zik Parrot by Stark are over-ear Bluetooth headphones packed with high-tech features. For starters, all playback is handled with gestures. Swiping one's finger up the earpiece adjusts volume, while swiping forward skips tracks. Simples.
Utilising the accelerometer, the headphones detect when a user removes them from their bonnet and automatically pauses the music, continuing playback when put back on again.
Then, making use of its NFC capabilities, users can tap their phone to the cans and easily connect the two. There's a battery life of approximately 5 hours as well as various built in microphones for active noise control and the entended use as a hands-free kit.
The Zik Parrot by Stark haven't been given an official release date or price structure, but we expect them to be on the premium side of the financial fence when such details do appear. ®
abuse"Swiping one's finger up the earpiece adjusts volume, while swiping forward skips tracks." It's going to be hard to resist slyly swiping people's headphones on the tube for s&g's
"Swiping one's finger up the earpiece adjusts volume..."
Not sure that's a good idea... Merry pranksters could seriously damage one's hearing by making use of this particular feature without notice.
Also, there are bound to be instances where certain fabrics, etc. could act like said finger, and cause unexpected (as well as painful) increases in volume.
At a minimum, the phones should have a physical lock-out switch that prevents the local volume control from activating. Miscreants would then have to physically interact with the headphones at a much more noticeable level, thereby letting the user know that unwanted tomfoolery is occurring.
Heard you the first time, no need to repeat...
How about setting the volume on the playback device on the desired volume and the headphones to maximum? That solves it, right? Oh and frogs do jump out of the water before it reaches boiling point. I would imagine people would notice a certain increase in volume...
It's not a matter of...
...wanting to stick with "pesky graphite controllers."
From an ergonomics standpoint, I actually think the touch-based electronic volume control is a pretty cool idea. However, there are some real safety issues related to this particular innovation.
Anything that causes a moving change in the sensed capacitance (or resistance, depending on the touch-sensing technology being used) of the touch device in a proper direction can cause the volume to change. Depending on the sensitivity of the touch sensing device, this can present an opportunity for a practical joker to seriously damage a person's hearing; the miscreant's light and barely-noticeable touch could crank the volume up to 11 before the user even realises the device is being manipulated.
A physical lock-out switch would require a certain amount of increased pressure to be applied to the headphones in such a way that the user would almost certainly know that someone was fiddling with the controls.
(Bullhorn, since we're talking about volume being cranked to 11.)
Finally innovation and...
...already nay-sayers commentarding without having tried it out yet. Of course it is a good idea! I have been waiting a long time for those pesky graphite based volume controllers to become obsolete. Still got a few headphones where changing the volume results in a crackling sound reminiscent of old transistor radios. The fewer moving parts, the better IMHO.