From Guest Writer, John Andrews, Shopper Marketer | 2X Founder/Co-founder & Advisor
Outdoor activities have been enhanced by wearables for years beginning with the humble Walkman headphones. Smartphones and Bluetooth technology fundamentally changed how we consume audio and video content and how we communicate. In many cases, it also began to disconnect us from the world around us. I frequently hike, bike, run and walk with headphones while listening to music, books and podcasts and usually only use a single headphone in one ear for safety. I also like being connected and hearing the world around me. Part of the enjoyment of the activity is just being outside and semi-unplugged from a phone or computer. Since I started working on the Lucyd project, I have been keenly interested in new kinds of outdoor experiences and how wearables can blend in more seamlessly with our everyday lives and activities.
I am currently training for a 9-day mountaineering course that includes summiting Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier with all kinds of training along the way. Just as I did with training for Mt. Everest Base Camp, I am using the wonderful Umstead State Park near my house, and a Training Mask breather to reduce my available oxygen intake. Umstead has some nice rolling hills and there is a perfect 10-mile loop that has 1000’ of elevation gain across its course. It’s a great place to train for being at high elevations without actually being at high elevations! Umstead is a lovely place, and I really looked forward to hiking with my Lucyd audio glasses as opposed to a single Airpod Pro that I wore before being introduced to this amazing new bluetooth eyewear technology.
Using Bluetooth glasses completely changed the entire complexion of my hike. I was amazed at how much of a change the difference in using headphones made. Instantly I was more in tune with the woods, the sounds of birds and animals and streams and also with my own footsteps. I started my hike with a little Band of Heathens from Apple Music to get into the flow of things and the sound was just fine. Bluetooth glasses don’t have the full range that earphones provide, but the sound is still rich and full and better than the phone speaker. I needed to make a quick call with a business colleague and asked siri to dial my phone for me. One thing that I have been concerned about was the amount of ambient noise on the other end but my co-worker couldn’t even hear my labored steps. I finally switched to my book for the remainder of the hike. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before I heard a mountain bike coming up behind me and moved over to let them pass. For some reason those folks rarely call out, and I would prefer not to have a speeding bike run me down.
I really enjoy the new experiences offered by open-ear listening. Like the advancement of other wearable devices such as the iWatch, the device itself fades more into the background and begins to just become an assistant for routine tasks. I even noticed with passing hikers and bikers there was much more interaction with people saying hello that seems to have gone by the wayside with headphones and earphones. No one could tell I was listening to music or my book, so there was just more of an approachability factor.
Net net, my Lucyd bluetooth glasses made the entire hike much more enjoyable. I look forward to trying them soon on a bike ride if it ever stops raining again in North Carolina.