It’s not every day that a totally new mobile device is invented and offered to the public. But such a product has arrived in the form of the Optinvent ORA-X, the world’s first smart headphones now available as an Indiegogo campaign. The ORA-X is a high-quality earphone and head-mounted-display device rolled into one. It’s like having your tablet or smartphone as part of your headphones experience. The display extends at the end of an arm, which essentially holds a small screen in front of the eye.
While smart glasses will not catch on with the public because it invades the personal space around people’s eyes with new technology, the ORA-X has an elegant solution, according to Optinvent CEO Kayvan Mirza. “We invented the smart headphones to have a fully adjustable display that can swing and fold up above the head when not in use,” Kayvan said. “When I listen to Shakira, I like to see her shake her booty, so the display will come down for sure.” He spoke exclusively with Examiner on November 5, with only 20 days left in the ORA-X campaign.
The display has all the functionality of an Android tablet and the earphone surface provides touch capability for texting, phone and internet. Listening to music with no need for video? Up swings the arm, and the face is totally free of technology. The ORA-X looks like a fashionable headset and the person wearing it appears normal and trendy–or at least not nerded-out. In this way, the ORA-X has more versatility, functionality and potentially more fashion appeal even than Beats, according to Kayvan.
“Society talks about going ‘hands-free’ constantly, but we have all become slaves to our handhelds,” he said. “Well, the ORA-X is a big step in the exodus from that enslavement, without making anyone look like a wearables tech geek.” Google Glass had problems in that regard as some of its early adopters faced harassment and even assault from angry onlookers. The high price of Glass and its camera angered some people who thought of it as an invasion of privacy and a symbol of the 1%.
But with millions of cams mounted to buildings, streetlights and residences, and embedded in every phone that also tracks users’ location, buying habits, social media posts, communication and internet searches, let’s all face reality–Google Glass was the least of our problems and the privacy cat was out of the bag long ago. The ORA-X has a cam, but so does every other device. It’s inexpensive. You can reserve your ORA-X for as little as $150 and pay the remaining $275 balance when the ORA-X ships during summer 2016.
Optinvent partner TelepathEye is readying a novel EyeSpeech interface for the device. The interface is ideal for head-mounted displays in that it minimizes the number of visible targets while maximizing the number of targets that can be intuitively brought into view for selection. Obviously with a display that is always in your field of view and cannot be touched like a handheld, the interface needs to be reimagined. EyeSpeech technology is pushes the interface targets onto a virtual carousel that the ORA-X wearer can spin in either direction and select targets by tapping the earphone surface.