Could these new headphones cut road accidents?

By Sun Motors Published

products | headphones


IT'S A modern day curse for cyclists and drivers alike: iPhone zombies who step off the kerb with headphones glued to their ears making them oblivious to what is going around them.

Now a company claims to have come up with a solution - headphones that automatically kill the music when they detect the user’s name being called or when they “hear” noises such as bicycle bells, car horns or phrases, such as “get out of the way”.

The microphones can be programmed to detect certain “trigger noises”

Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, the headphones work by using tiny microphones to detect ambient sounds. However, the microphones can also be programmed to detect certain “trigger noises” which can be uploaded by the user and chosen from a smartphone menu and when these are heard the will automatically turn down the volume.

When there are no trigger sounds, the ‘phones can improve music quality by adding sound waves that cancel out the background distractions.

The number of accidents caused by both drivers and pedestrians “failing to look” has risen by 12 per cent over the past decade

The headphones are made by Harman, one of the biggest makers of music speakers in the world, which suggests that the technology could help improve road safety amongst pedestrians or cyclists who wear them. The failure of pedestrians to look where they are going, because they are glued to their phone or listening to music, was partially blamed for an increase in deaths and injuries on the roads in 2014.

The number of accidents caused by both drivers and pedestrians “failing to look” has risen by 12 per cent over the past decade, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

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