In this teardown, we look inside a very special pair of headphones. We are not going to dig into its acoustics, because that’s not why it’s interesting.
Halo Sport is a wearable neurostimulation headset that accelerates improvement from movement-based training. It’s the first consumer product of its kind; neurostimulation technology has only been used in clinical and research settings previously.
To give us the inside scoop on this new technology, we’re joined by Halo Neuroscience CTO Dr. Brett Wingeier and Product Design Engineer Ian Shain. We always come away from these “insider” teardowns with so much new knowledge! If you have a product you want to share with the hardware community through teardown, get in touch with us here.
For this teardown, we’re focusing in on 3 major features of interest:
1. Electrode Design - The Halo Sport electrodes are what separates this product from a standard set of consumer electronic headphones and allows it to become a full neurostimulator.
2. Dual Band/Bridge Design - Halo Sport uses two distinct bands to help fit, and apply the proper pressure, to all head sizes.
3. Acoustically Transparent Ear Pads - A primary target user for Halo Sport is the high performance athlete. In order to allow these athletes to wear Halo Sport and still receive coaching, the Halo team developed acoustically transparent ear pads that allow sound to travel through them.
For our new readers, Fictiv is a manufacturing platform and the fastest/most efficient way to fabricate parts (including 3D printing and CNC machining). Our expertise is around the mechanical side of hardware development so for teardowns, we dig into the mechanical systems and leave the electrical analysis to our EE friends.
My favorite part about the Halo Sport headphones is that the Halo Neuroscience design team made what could have been be an intimidating device familiar by putting it into a headphone package. Everyone knows how to put on a pair of headphones and athletes and fitness enthusiasts already wear headphones when they’re working out. So putting on Halo Sport to train is pretty easy compared to our imagined alternatives… perhaps a helmet reminiscent of medical experimentation?
Muse’s LowDown Focus meditation sunglasses leveraged a similar strategy. Can you think of anything else? No, Snapchat Spectacles don’t count… people still find face cameras creepy.
It goes without saying that putting a neurostimulator into a pair of headphones will make… a more complex pair of headphones. If you’re curious how this product compares to other headphones, check out our previous teardown of Alpine headphones with Lunar, which are unique due to having bass transducers in the headband.
Brett and Ian gave us some hints as to where Halo Neuroscience is venturing next: As the science of neurostimulation advances, there are huge opportunities to expand into different types of training such as attention focus, stroke rehab, and physical therapy. As Brett put it, “the brain is a big place.” We couldn’t agree more and we can’t wait to see where this technology might go in the future.
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