With an estimated 265 million blind people worldwide, anything that can enhance their safety while at the same time enabling independence and accessibility is welcome. Smartphone GPS directional systems are great for providing step by step and directions and announcing cross streets, but since phone speakers aren’t sufficient with all the noise outside, especially in busy cities, headphones or earbuds are a necessity to take advantage of the location and direction information. The problem is, for everyone but especially for blind people, when your ears are blocked by buds or headsets, other sound clues are impeded. If you aren’t aware of moving vehicles, bicycles, and people, your safety is compromised.
AfterShokz‘s Bluez 2S wireless bone conduction headset are designed specifically to provide great sound while keeping airways clear and open so you can hear bikes, dogs, cars, buses, people and anything else of which you need to be aware. You can use the Bluez 2S to make and receive phone calls as well as well as listen to music and audio books. The Bluez 2S’ lithium-ion battery charges fully in two hours and is then good for ten hours of standby or six hours of continuous use. It connects with smartphones or other sound sources via Bluetooth 4.0. The headset is light at 1.45 ounces (41 grams) and uses dual noise-cancelling microphones to block surrounding sound, which improves voice quality of content coming through the headphones. With a dynamic range of 20Hz-20kHz and equalizer presets for base boost and to control treble buzz, the Bluez 2S also has a feature it calls LeakSlayer to release sound generated by the transducers to cancel sound generated by the headset housing itself. The headset also has a nanotechnology coating and waterproof gaskets to protect the electronics from weather or sweat, which makes Bluez 2S a smart accessory for runners and bike riders who often sacrifice hearing environmental sounds while listening to music or other content during exercise.
If it performs as intended, the Bluez 2S headset sounds like a good choice for anyone, whether blind or not because of the safety considerations without sound quality compromise. For blind people who move independently, however, the safety factor of unrestricted ears combined with clearly spoken directions and navigational clues trumps the usual solutions.