Bone-conducting headphones let you hear GPS directions through the sounds of the road

cycling headphones
© Gemma Roper

Typically, we would never write a post about cycling and headphones because it's pretty dangerous to block your ability to hear the traffic around you, but unless you have Lloyd's great smartphone-paired hearing aids, using smartphone directions while cycling is tricky without them.

Plenty of apps exist to give cyclists directions or track their ride, but to follow along, cyclists have to keep looking down at the smartphone clipped onto their handlebars.

Designer Gemma Roper has thought up a solution. Called Safe + Sound, these headphones meant for cycling use bone conduction to send audio through the cheekbone instead of directly into the ear. That way, cyclists can hear turn-by-turn directions clearly with their ears open to hearing the sounds of the road.

The bone conduction modules clip onto the straps of any cycling helmet to rest right on the cheekbone. The directions will actually come through clearer than if you were wearing conventional headphones because the audio won't have to compete with the other noises being picked up by your ears.

When at home, the modules can be clipped into a headband with ear pads for conventional listening. They use a regular 3.5mm jack cable so they can plug directly into your smartphone or computer.

Right now the Safe + Sound headphones are just the creative product of Roper, but I won't be surprised to see a commercial version of these in the near future.

Bone-conducting headphones let you hear GPS directions through the sounds of the road
The headphones don't cover the ear, so a cyclist can hear traffic around them as well as turn-by-turn directions.

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