There are experts who believe that headphones have reached its peak hence why makers are currently dwelling on promoting superfluous features. Some are of the opinion that there is not much more to do as far as improving the core concepts of headphones.
Headphone technology differs to devices like phones, computers, or game consoles as big generational leaps often don’t provide much meaningful performance improvements over previous standards.
However, an innovative company just three years old is looking to change that by reinventing headphones with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
Inspero Inc, whose mission is to completely rethink headphones by inventing a new way to experience and interact with sound, launched Vinci 2.0 two weeks ago.
Following the success of its award-winning 1.5 version on Kickstarter, the AI-focused audio technology company, is back with its second generation smart in-ear headphones for the active fitness community.
The startup is utilizing the power of AI to create the world’s first standalone smart workout headphones with 3G cellular, music streaming, voice AI assistant, health sensors, and fitness coaching all in one device.
Vinci 2.0, which ironically stands for invention, features a built-in AI assistant that utilizes neural network learning algorithms and biosensing hardware, the first smart headphones to do so.
For the first time, users can enjoy a completely phone-free and hands-free workout experience.
Vinci 2.0 will give users the convenience of going for a run without carrying their phones but still being able to access their music (both online and offline), make phone calls, track their fitness performance, and even sync with Amazon Alexa for additional skills and services – all directly from one device.
Vinci and Alexa, the two voice AI assistant components that are built directly into the headphones, allow for all of Vinci 2.0’s features to be voice controlled.
In order to familiarize itself with users' music and lifestyle preferences, Vinci collects and analyzes user data such as heart rate and current location whenever users listen to music and make voice commands.
Vinci actually acts like a computer and is equipped with the same processor found in smartphones and tablets. The headphone is powered by a MediaTek quad-core Cortex A7 processor with 1GB of RAM.
This hardware supports Vinci’s highly customized (Android-based) OS and UI which facilitates the syncing with Amazon Alexa for access to more than 12,000 skills and services, enables users to voice control their music, make phone calls, get calendar alerts, ask for health and workout statistics.
All of Vinci’s features are available to users wherever they go thanks to its built-in 3G cellular and WiFi connectivity, also a first for headphones. In the scenario where there is no internet, the 32GB of built-in storage allows users to save their music locally and listen anywhere they go.
Songs and playlists can be accessed by simply logging into Spotify, SoundCloud, or Amazon Music account directly on the headphones.
These can be controlled by voice commands or quick hand gestures such as waves, swipes, etc. For interactivity, Vinci 2.0 features a 1-inch OLED display which facilitates its intuitive voice and gesture control interface, another first for headphones.
Inspero, which was founded in 2014 by two MIT Alumni, David Zhu, Wei Wu, believes Vinci 2.0 will transform not only the way people listen to music but also the way people interact with the world while listening to music.
Only the future can determine the impact of the one f a kind headphones. But based on early feedback from backers the signs are positive. The startup raised $53 million in a Series A funding round from SkyChee Ventures in September of 2016.
Shortly thereafter, they raised $987,384 from 4,885 backers and also received 3,446 comments on from its Kickstarter campaign in just 37 days. Currently, the startup has already raised $339,733 from 2,292 backers with 50 days to go for its 2.0 edition campaign on the crowdfunding platform, well over its $20,000 goal.
The tremendous support has propelled Vinci to win top Awards and was featured at NFL Super Bowl LI.
The headphones are available for pre-order via its website as well as on its Kickstarter campaign page for $79 – a 47% discount off the original price of $149.
Vinci has a number of international backers as it will ship worldwide, except for Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.