Innovation That Matters

Social headphones bring back the art of listening to music together

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Wearhaus ARC headphones can pair with other nearby users, syncing audio across multiple devices.

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Music is something that should be shared with friends, but the rise of iPods and smartphones means that many consumers now experience music predominantly as a solitary affair, closed off from the world through their headphones. We’ve already seen Muzik attempt to make headphones more social with built-in buttons to instantly share current tracks on social media. Now California-based startup Wearhaus is introducing its ARC headphones, which can pair with other nearby users, syncing audio across multiple devices.

Using Bluetooth, the headphones are linked wirelessly to wearers’ mobile device, which uses the ARC app as a control dashboard. Through the app, users can stream music straight from services such as Spotify, Pandora, YouTube or SoundCloud, control playback and volume, and even change the color of the LED light ring on each ear. The devices also link with other ARC headphones, delivering the same audio feed to both in perfect synchronicity. Users can either sync with friends to share a track, or use the app to detect nearby ARC owners and tune into what they’re listening to. When two headsets are synced, both pulse with the same color as a visual cue. The app also offers chat and playlist swapping.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the headphones:

Wearhaus is currently crowdfunding the first batch of ARC headphones through its own website, and backers can pre-order their set for USD 149.99 until 7 June. Are there other ways to turn listening to records into a social activity again?



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