Many athletes know what a hindrance headphones can be when it comes to high-energy sports.
Now imagine trying to shove those same headphones under a helmet. Cyclists, skiers, snowboarders, skateboarders and other athletes who count helmets as part of their equipment will know exactly how unpleasant this feels.
“Some people love listening to music while playing sports. They’ll listen to music anytime they ride. What we wanted to do was create something that was easier to use,” said Sebastian Koper.
Domio is a small device that attaches to the outside of a helmet and plays music inside the helmet so the wearer can listen to audio without having to wear traditional headphones. It’s essentially a mounted radio that allows for wireless music streaming from a smartphone.
Koper, the founder of Hearshot, the Toronto-based company behind Domio, rotates through several helmets in his everyday life. Aside from his motorcycle, Koper is active in kite surfing, mountain biking and was a regular snowboarder in high school. It was while kite surfing with his co-founder Bart Lipski that they first stumbled upon an idea for a communication company. From there, Hearshot was born.
Originally, the two, Koper with an engineering background and Lipski with a business background, wanted to develop a product to make communicating with partners or friends while engaging in high-energy sports as easy as possible, and on the way, developed Domio.
Domio is smaller than a hockey puck and turns on with the press of a button located in the middle of the device. By optimizing Domio to the user’s phone, the device streams music directly from a smartphone. After downloading the optimization app, the user must place the phone inside the helmet to activate it.
When demonstrating the device, Koper placed his phone on the table and then placed his bike helmet overtop, which is hollow side down. This initial stage helps the optimization app create a profile of the specific helmet you’ll be using, to account for different sports that use helmets with a variety of thickness and materials. Then, by holding down the centre button on the device for fifteen seconds, Koper registered Domio with the helmet and optimized it to stream music from his smartphone.
Furthermore, the app allows a user to keep several helmet profiles on the app so they don’t have to adjust the sound levels every time they put on a new helmet. The app is free, and included with the product. Several different combinations of tapping the button in the middle of Domio allows a user to perform certain functions without taking out their phone. These include, pause, play, skip song, loop. etc.
While some sound currently emanates from Domio while it’s in use, the team is looking into sound isolation gel to prevent this from happening.
Koper sees the company growing into a larger communications and audio company, with Domio at the helm. He goes on to say that he and his team aim to develop a portfolio of products in a few years with Toronto being the main headquarters of the operation.
“Toronto is home for us. It’s a great place for us to develop this product and this company,” Sebastian Koper.
Domio is now available for pre-order on the website for $49 for shipping to the U.S. and Canada. Delivery is estimated for fall 2016.
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