• The Neptune headphones and mp3 player mimic the way whales and dolphins communicate underwater
  • Sound is transmitted through the cheekbones to the cochlea part of the ear
  • The 4GB device holds 1,000 songs and costs £100

By
Jennifer Smith

17:31 GMT, 29 September 2013


|

16:11 GMT, 30 September 2013

A bizarre new technology allows swimmers to listen to music while underwater, by conducting sound through the bones in the human skull.

The Neptune headphones send sound waves to the inner ears through swimmer’s cheekbones, resulting in them being able to hear music in their heads.

The device mimics the way dolphins and whales communicate in the water by transmitting sound vibrations.

The device has been popular among recreational swimmers who can listen to up to 1,000 songs on the mp3 player which rests on their goggles

The device has been popular among recreational swimmers who can listen to up to 1,000 songs on the mp3 player which rests on their goggles

A waterproof mp3 player streams the
music which resonates through the bones and into the highly sensitive
cochlea part of the ear.

The headphones take inspiration from a 1970s product which transmitted music through the collarbone in the same way. 

Dave Seiler, from US
manufacturers Finis, said: ‘Back in the 70s there was a product called
the Bone Fone, a floppy tube that was worn round the neck and
transferred sound into users’ collarbones.

The Neptune underwater headphones and mp3 player transmit sound vibrations through swimmers' cheekbones and into their inner ear

The Neptune underwater headphones and mp3 player transmit sound vibrations through swimmers’ cheekbones and into their inner ear

The £100 device mimics the way dolphins and whales communicate underwater

The £100 device mimics the way dolphins and whales listen to each other underwater

‘The product wasn’t very successful and so the technology lay dormant until recently when we revived it.

‘We have come along way since those times and have now launched a truly unique product in the Neptune.

‘Bone conduction is perfect for using under water because there is no air for sound to travel though.

The Neptune takes inspiration from a 1970s product, the Bone Fone which transmitted sound through the collarbone

The Neptune takes inspiration from the Bone Fone which transmitted sound through the collarbone

‘The speakers of the Neptune sit on the cheek just in front of the ear.

‘These speakers then send vibrations through the cheek bones to the inner ear.

‘The result is an incredible audio experience that makes you feel like the music is playing inside your head.
‘It is the same way that whales and dolphins listen to one another.

‘Having the music just appear in your head is quite surreal but once swimmers get used to it they love it.

‘Neptune
has been a real hit with recreational swimmers, and it can store 1,000
songs so the user will run out of energy long before they run out of
music.’

The Neptune, which holds holds 1,000 songs, costs  £100 and can be bought at finisinc.com.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Jetty,

London, United Kingdom,

6 hours ago

Dunno. Swimming has a lot of risks involved so I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have a pool full of people that can’t hear a lot. There is a lifeguard for a reason usually.

Civrasien,

Vincennes_France,

6 hours ago

Not new technology. We had them in the Royal Navy when I was a diver in the 60’s & 70’s. They’re called bone transducers.

Roy IoW,

Ryde,

7 hours ago

The only new thing about these headphones is their ability to hear sounds/music under water. When I was in Signals in the RAF, we always wored our (old fashioned now) headphones in front of our ears and not on top of them. It stopped the lugholes from getting sweating and sore, and the sounds were just as clear from the skull in front of the ears. Plus it was easier to hear someone if they needed to speak to me.

Gary,

Midlands,

8 hours ago

Soundbites pop radio anybody?

Brit abroad,

Florida,

8 hours ago

WHY ? just more noise pollution.I go swimming to escape noise and relax why would I need extra noise ?Sad that people need to be plugged in all the time!!

Jess,

Sydney,

8 hours ago

This is hardly new technology, nor has it lied dormant since the 70s. Bone conducted audio has been consistently in use for decades. Bone Anchored Hearing Aids work this way. The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb has been using a bone conducted head set for over a decade. That said, bone conductors do make appropriate hearing devices for underwater use.

Paulio,

Halifax,

12 hours ago

I suppose they’ll be listening to that new wave music….

Bemused American,

Northwest, United States,

12 hours ago

Is there no place free from outside noises? Give me the peace and quiet of swimming a few laps.

slowman,

Glasgow,

12 hours ago

Are we so unable to manage our thoughts that we need music even while swimming? I’m still intrigued to know if they would be any use to a deaf person?

irwin,

Gravesend UK, United Kingdom,

13 hours ago

I will buy a pair so I can listen to my Wet wet wet album.

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