Bragi—a smart headphone and hearables maker based in Munich, Germany—has announced what it calls the next generation of true wireless devices, the result of a partnership brokered with Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, in 2016. The two new members of the Bragi family include The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, said to be “The World’s First Custom-Made Wireless Ear Computer,” featuring a unique, personalized experience, and The Dash Pro, a polished, reloaded, re-engineered sequel to The Dash.
According to a joint release from the companies, The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro aren’t just headphones, hearables, or true wireless devices, but powerful ear computers. Bragi’s mission brings together artificial intelligence, mixed reality, service enablement, and cognitive learning in a single product designed to improve the quality of life for its end user. Partnerships with companies including IBM, BMW, and iTranslate offer differentiation between the Munich-based startup and its competition.
According to the companies, users of the new hearable devices can:
- Listen to music, podcasts, and more via seamless, streaming Bluetooth audio.
- Store up to 1,000 songs and/or podcasts on 4GB of internal storage. Carry just The Dash Pro and leave the phone at home.
- Make or receive phone calls (even in noisy environments) with enhanced Versant™ advanced voice technology from Knowles.
- Leave the USB cord behind; the products are said to deliver up to 5 hours of battery live and 30 hours on-the-go.
- Carry a conversation in multiple languages. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro are now compatible with iTranslate.
- Go hands-free with the Virtual 4-D menu and access core features with just head gestures and audio commands.
- Enjoy a run, swim, or bike ride with auto activity tracking. The device recognizes the activity so users can keep track of their workouts automatically without pushing a button.
- Visualize workouts from within the Bragi app, including current performance and a detailed breakdown of past activities.
- Get wet! The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro are waterproof in up to 3 feet of fresh water.
- Hear what you want to hear. Audio transparency lets you block out sound, or let it all in.
“The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and the Dash Pro are the most intelligent devices of their kind, representing incredible advancement and achievement over the last 18 months,” said Bragi Founder & CEO Nikolaj Hviid in a press release. “These magical devices have seamless Bluetooth pairing and connectivity, a longer-lasting battery life, and groundbreaking achievements like real-time language translation powered by iTranslate, a 4D menu allowing users to go hands-free, and integration with IBM Watson’s famed AI. We’re excited to enable people to do more.”
“We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Dash Pro tailored by Starkey Hearing Technologies. As the world’s first custom-made wireless ear computer, this product is going to empower consumers to lead with confidence in everything they do,” said Starkey Hearing Technologies Senior VP Brandon Sawalich. “Our partnership brings a whole new dimension of personalization and customization to hearable technology to the market.”
The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro join The Headphone, widely released in January 2017, and The Dash as Bragi’s third and fourth products. In addition to the new products, Bragi is also announcing the launch of Bragi OS 3 (BOS 3), included with each The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro device. All were unveiled during a launch event at Blueprint+Co in New York City on May 16.
The Dash Pro Tailored by Starkey
The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is offered exclusively through a highly-assisted personalized shopping experience at approximately 5000 audiologists throughout the United States and Canada.
“The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is an exciting development for the hearable industry and the hearing aid market. Guided by Starkey’s focus on ‘all things ear’ and our unparalleled understanding of the hearing health continuum, The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey has the power to eliminate negative perceptions of hearing aids, invite people to better manage their hearing, and enable them to fully experience their world at every age,” said Sawalich.
According to the companies, Bragi’s advanced integration of sensorics will provide value to Starkey’s consumers, while Starkey’s knowledge of advanced audio processing and psychoacoustics expands Bragi’s potential to enable people to utilize Fourth Platform (contextual computing) interfaces. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is designed to take this one step further, enabling athletes, musicians, content creators, technophiles, and other precision-based fields to see real benefits from having the ultimate fit and a truly personalized, customized audio device made just for them.
The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey device is crafted based on an exact impression of the user’s ear canal for best isolation and a perfect fit with an emphasis on clarity, detail, and no loss of bass frequencies. HearClear replaceable WaxGuards allow for long-term wear, minimal cleaning, and, at US$499 ($699 CAD), The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is reportedly one of the lowest priced custom-made in-ear headphones (wired or not) currently available on the market.
The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey also includes a craftsman’s signature on the packaging, as well as a laser engraving of the user on the external slider and earbuds.
The Dash Pro
The Dash Pro is designed to offer best-in-class, professional-grade Bluetooth connection quality and exceptional audio without interruption. A simple one-touch setup connects Android, Apple, or Windows’ devices in a matter of seconds, says the company. The Dash Pro carries up to 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, and 5 charges (up to 30 hours on the go).
The critically-acclaimed audio transparency feature carries over from The Dash, allowing desired sound to pass through The Dash Pro, or cancelling out what you don’t want to hear. Knowles® Balanced Armature Speakers are said to deliver premium sound in an ultra-small package to enhance comfort and listening pleasure. Knowles Versant™ advanced voice technology is designed to deliver the clearest possible hands-free communication and voice commands in the most adverse situations, reducing the need to look at a second device.
The Dash Pro contains more than 150 micro-components, a 32-bit Processor, artificial intelligence powered by Dash AI, and 27 sensors, all in a package about the size of your fingertip. Those sensors facilitate Bragi’s Kinetic User Interface, which enables users to literally turn their body into the device with a tap of the cheek or a nod of the head through the Virtual 4-D menu.
The Dash Pro’s design has undergone careful exterior alterations from The Dash. The aluminum slider is now gun metal with a Bragi blue or Starkey gold leather inlay. The Dash Pro is exclusively available in black.
The Dash Pro reportedly retails for US$329 ($349 including VAT in the EU) and is available right now through the Bragi Shop. Rollout to major retailers including Best Buy are taking place over the coming weeks.
Bragi OS 3 (BOS3) is the fourth major OS update for The Dash and comes preinstalled on all new The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro editions. New features include the following:
- iTranslate Compatibility. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro are now integrated with iTranslate, bringing real-time, face-to-face conversational language translation to audio devices for the first time in around 40 different languages. Users wishing to access this feature will need to download the iTranslate Pro App in the Apple App Store. Users of The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey and The Dash Pro will receive a free 1-month trial with their purchase.
- Virtual 4D Menu. The Virtual 4D Menu is a unique, hands-free, head gestures (and audio only) based, way of interacting with The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, The Dash Pro and The Dash, giving users the option of accessing core features in situations where their hands are preoccupied with other things.
- Easy Bluetooth Handling. A simple one-touch setup connects your Android, Apple, or Windows device in a matter of seconds. The 6-digit confirmation code has been removed while a secure connection is maintained. The menu for Bluetooth Classic and BLE connections can be now found on the right earbud, leaving the left earbud for third party apps integration.
- Auto Tracking. The Dash now understands whether you are running, cycling, or swimming so the user can keep track of workouts automatically without ever pushing a button. This marks the first AI-powered skill that simplifies the UI and makes fitness tracking hassle-free.
- Simplified Touch Interface. The Touch UI has been simplified and made more ergonomic to use. Additional “Use Guides” support the user to easily connect to The Dash and explore its smart capabilities.
- Offline Storage and Data Transfer. Activity sessions are now stored and transferred to the Bragi app automatically so they can be accessed for future use.
- Sound Improvements. Advanced tonal balance for natural sound.
- Clearer Audio Transparency. The microphone’s noise floor has been greatly reduced and improvements have been made in understanding the naturalness of the acoustic landscape.
Source: Bragi, Starkey Hearing Technologies