The Throat mics first sound samples were pretty much uncomprehensible. I recorded a number of new sound samples in the last weeks, so Diego could test the speech recognition with real samples from calls. I’ve listed a few of the samples below.
After the first research and discussion with Peter and the group, I decided to work on the area of integrating communications into biking clothes. The interaction with smartphones during bike rides is always a hassle – a cyclist has to either stop and take their cellphone out to take incoming calls or send messages. Headsets and hands-free accessories that are available are often effected by wind and external noise. Even if a microphone is shielded against wind noise, one still needs to remember to put on a headset and not leave it at home. When Peter put on the bike-jacket as a demonstration of velocouture, I noticed its tight-fitting collar which might be the best location to integrate a throat microphone. Together with Diego, who wants to integrate smartphone-controls with speech, I will work on a collar-integrated (throat) headset to simplify communication for cyclists.
My initial research on topics of veloculture and velocouture resulted in various links that I would like to collect and comment here for further reference. I place the links in 3 categories, that closely resemble the 3 research packages created by Peter – Couture – Technology – Wearables or What Couture is out there, Which technology is available and What combinations of both have already been created.
Couture/Wearables: There are several manufacturers/designers of velocouture out there, who design and sell various apparel aimed at cyclists. Rapha being on of the companies that are one of the pioneers of combining traditional pro-cycling style with a more urban style. http://www.rapha.cc
Other manufactureres of velocouture include Bobteam, Decathlon, Cyclo, and various others, who produce couture for pro-cycling as well as amateur cyclists.
My research also turned up a swiss website which sells special biking caps that are supposed to offer helmet-like protection for the cyclist, while looking a lot cooler than normal bike helmets. Various models are available, they sell for around 82€ without shipping.
Another product for protection against injuries is a wearable airbag called Hövding(hovding.com) which comes in various designs and is supposed to inflate as soon as unusual movements are detected. The Hövding is available for 299€ at http://shop.hovding.com/
Also – special gloves are available from Zackees.com that include led-turn signals which can be used for signalling turns and lane changes to vehicles in the front or back of the bike, the gloves are sold for 75$.
Technology: In terms of technology we might be able to integrate into our cycling apparel, multiple sites turned up in my research.
One of the technologies that turned up are sensor-textiles from Fraunhofer IFF that are developed by Fraunhofer specially in cooperation with the projects that need them, these are unfortunately un-affordable.
Another possible resource for smart-textiles is a company called sensing-tex which specializes in luminous and sensing textiles – and offers a wide variety of affordable experimenting/developing kits in its online-shop.
The most interesting technology that turned up in my research is bone-conduction, transmits sound directly to the inner ear using a persons skull-bones as transmitters, this technique often creates the illusion of sound eminating directly from inside a users head. One company that manufactures these kind of headsets is AfterShokz, unfortunately their products are selling for 40€ or more, which makes them too expensive for a quick experiment. This technology is also used by the famous Google Glass hmd-glasses, which are hard to come by as they are only available for research or selected US-customers at the moment and cost about 1500$.
A more affordable alternative turned up in the form of throat-microphones, that take the sound of a users voice directly from the throat and aren’t effected by outside noise or wind.
Microphones of this kind are easily available from popular online-retailers starting at 20€.