The concept of using bone conduction headphones to listen to music or audio-books is nothing new and has been an innovation in technology for some time. Yet, an individual in France has come up with an innovation that takes bone conduction technology and adds it to something many would not have considered previously; the individual incorporated it inside of a bike helmet.
Finding Innovation to Solve an Interesting Problem
Writer Donald Papp from Hackaday posted over the weekend an interesting article regarding how an individual in France used current technology and applied it in an innovative way as a creative answer to an interesting problem. The individual in question, Matlek, was confronted with the fact that it was a forty-minute commute on bike that was dull without being able to listen to music. However, it was also a fact that in France, it is illegal for any driver to be wearing headphones; this was the problem facing Matlek that forced him to come up with a creative solution.
Since Matlek had no intention of breaking the law, risk blocking out surrounding sounds by wearing headphones and unwilling to be the cause of noise pollution for others by using a speaker system; the solution was for Matlek to be creative with a custom attachment from a bike helmet that plays audio through the use of bone conduction. Though the writer admitted being worried about at first that the innovation was a worrisome idea, the article goes on to say the Matlek’s creation is well thought out.
Breaking Down Bone Conduction
Before going on, it would be a good idea to briefly explain what bone conduction is as there are still those who are unfamiliar with the technology. Bone conduction can be described as the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. While bone conduction transmission devices are generally used by individuals with impaired hearing, those with normal hearing can also use these devices.
The birth of bone conduction goes back to the 18th century, as it was discovered by the famous music composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Since he was almost deaf, he found a way to listen to the sound of a piano using his jawbone when he attached a rod to the piano he was using and then clenched it with his teeth. He would receive the perception of the sound through the transfer of vibrations from the piano that would reach his jaw; it proved that sound could travel to our auditory system by using another medium besides our eardrums with the other medium being our bones.
Research and Hard Work Pays Off
Apparently, Matlek didn’t just rush putting together his innovation but was the result of researching about bone conduction audio, collecting a variety of various components to be utilized as transducers, trying out which performed the best while testing different parts on his body. The sweet spot was just behind the ear and the bony area had good accessibility with the solution being helmet-mounted.
There are some modifications that Matlek plans to do but his innovative solution is something that others could eventually benefit from. Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in another way to receive good audio transmitted by bone conduction, this can be accomplished by sending it through one’s teeth; biting down on a metal rod sends audio directly to your inner ear.