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Survey shows outdoor athletes love listening to music but hate their earbuds

  • Published in Tech
by Kraig Becker/ www.digitaltrends.com
 
 
 
 
WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU 

Looking for a pair of earbuds for use in action sports? A survey has found that many athletes have trouble finding adequate earbuds.

Do you like to listen to music or podcasts while taking part in your favorite outdoor activities? Do you find that your earbuds aren’t especially well-suited for those outings? If you said yes to that last question, it turns out you’re not alone. A recent survey of more than 400 “weekend warriors” who enjoy action sports like mountain biking, trail running, and skiing shows that most of us aren’t very happy with our options when it comes to earbuds built for use outdoors.

The survey was conducted by a company called Earshot and reveals some interesting insights into how action sports athletes view their headphones. For instance, 72 percent of those surveyed indicated that they prefer to listen to music while participating in their sport of choice, although nearly 20 percent who chose not to listen to music said it was because earbuds aren’t built for use in their favorite activity. Another 16 percent claimed that their existing headphones aren’t very good or are just downright awful. And while 40 percent indicated that they had spent $100 or more on a set of earbuds, nearly half (49 percent) said the would spend even more if they could find a set better suited for their needs.

The biggest complaints that outdoor athletes had with their existing headphones were that the cords often get in the way (33 percent), they are uncomfortable to wear (23 percent), and they don’t fit properly (17 percent). The athletes involved in the survey also indicated that fit and functionality are the most important aspect they look for in their earbuds, with comfort and sound quality coming in second and third. Twenty-five percent said that they felt that most earphone manufacturers simply didn’t understand their specific needs.

In a press release revealing the results of the survey, James Bell-Booth, Earshot co-founder, said: “To me, the most important finding from our research is that 35 percent of action sport athletes said they’re at least somewhat likely to abandon their activity if their headphones don’t work properly. As a community, we need to take more seriously the headphone requirements of action sport athletes, and get to work making products that meet their needs better.”

Of course, Earshot had ulterior motives in conducting this survey. The company has designed a line of earbuds that it expects to launch on Kickstarter later this month. With a magnetic locking system to hold them in place, long battery life, and completely wireless operation, they apparently have been designed with action sports in mind. They are also waterproof and rugged enough for use in demanding environments like those favored by outdoor athletes.

The new earbuds are expected to sell for $136 when they become available, although anyone interested in grabbing a pair can register now for a 40 percent discount.

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First robotic cop joins Dubai police

  • Published in Tech

After bringing in Lamborghinis and Ferraris to patrol roads, Dubai police have enrolled a robotic officer, the first in a unit that aims to make up a quarter of the force by 2030.

The robotic cop stood to attention Wednesday night at the foot of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, as tourists and passersby snapped selfie souvenir photos by its side.

Wearing a police cap and moving on wheels, the robot features a computer touch-screen on its chest that can be used to report a crime or inquire about speeding tickets.

At 5ft 5in tall and weighing 100kg, it can speak six languages and is designed to read facial expressions.

"Our aim is to raise the number of robots to 25 percent of the police force by 2030," said Brigadier Khaled al-Razzooqi, head of Smart Services at Dubai police.

CREDIT: AFP

The robot, to be deployed mainly at tourist spots, is equipped with a camera that transmits live images to the operations room and it can identify suspects wanted by police.

The main purpose is to "find a new way to deal with people", said Razzooqi, while acknowledging that robots could not replace humans on tasks such as making arrests.

Police in Dubai, a growing tourism hub which attracted nearly 15 million visitors last year, have previously attracted media attention by parading expensive luxury cars as patrol vehicles

 

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Copenhagen cycle jams tackled with electronic information panels

  • Published in Tech

 

 European affairs correspondent/The Guardian

Danish capital last year saw more bicycles enter city than cars, with almost half of residents cycling to work or school

Copenhagen now has so many cyclists that the city is installing electronic information panels along its bike lanes to help prevent two-wheeled traffic jams.

In what city hall has called a world first, an initial five screens will be fitted at strategic points on the Danish capital’s 390km (240-mile) network of protected bike lanes, the state broadcaster Danmarks Radio reported.

“There’s a need for improved accessibility for the growing number of cyclists who unfortunately in many places are now having to fight for space on the bike lane,” said Morten Kabell, head of the city’s technology and environment department.

“We’re hoping with these new information boards to give cyclists the opportunity to choose the least congested route through the city.”

Copenhagen’s residents cycled 1,400,000 km a day last year, with 41% of people – including 63% of MPs – cycling to and from work or school, and 32% of all city-centre journeys being made by bike.

Last year, the number of bikes entering the city centre exceeded cars for the first time: sensors recorded 265,700 bicycles daily against 252,600 cars – a major increase from the first survey in 1970 that recorded 100,000 bicycles and 340,000 cars.

At the forefront of efforts to make roads more cycle-friendly, Copenhagen has seen bike traffic rise by 68% over the past 20 years. But despite spending more than 1bn Danish krone on cycling infrastructure since 2005, jams are now increasing.

“Cyclists are already experiencing congestion on the city’s most used cycle paths,” city hall said in February, unveiling an eight-year, Dkr 1.1-1.8bn (£130m-£210m) cycle lane priority plan

Forecasts show daily bike traffic across Copenhagen set to grow by 25% by 2025 and by 36% in the rush hour. 

Several Copenhagen bike lanes are already reaching capacity at peak times, with one – across the Queen Louise bridge – reportedly the busiest in the world, carrying up to 40,000 cyclists a day.

“With the number of cyclists in Copenhagen now, we have a congestion problem,” Niels Agerholm, a traffic researcher at Aalborg university, told Danmarks Radio. 

“If there is an easier way through, signs like these could get people to change direction.”

The new signs, costing Dkr4.2m, will carry information on roadworks, special events, distance to destinations, queues and slow-moving bike traffic, and suggest alternative routes using different bike lanes. 

Other infrastructure changes to speed up city-centre journeys include widening existing lanes, improving signalling at intersections and building more bike-only bridges to add to the 17 already installed.

The city also recently introduced a “green” update to ibikecph, its route planning app. Besides offering cyclists a fast route, a cobblestone-avoiding alternative and another suited to cumbersome cargo bikes transporting small children, it now also suggests a quieter, more restful “green” route

With a traffic density four times lower than that of the city’s regular bike paths, some 60km of Copenhagen’s integrated bike paths are now classified as “green routes”, with a further 57km planned, city hall said. 

Typical users include older cyclists, families with children and people simply not in so much of a hurry. The app has been downloaded on to mobile phones more than 60,000 times and is consulted more than 20,000 times a month.

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