Bragi Dash is the realization of a dream. It’s a completely wireless earbud system that sounds as good as it looks, and there’s good reason to think it’s the future of wearable audio technology.
At Tech Open Air Berlin, we spoke with its founder, Nikolaj Hviid about what makes Dash so special — and he threw a bit of shade at Apple in the process.
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The Next Web: Before Bragi, everything was wired or wired Bluetooth headsets. You went a completely different direction. What inspired that?
Nikolaj Hviid: I wanted to make discrete assistants to entertain, enable and protect. For the assistant to be discrete it had to have an audible contextual interface (ie. In the ear). The contextual engine needs to use sensors. If the in the ear device has cables, it hugely influences sensor measurements.
We had to invent a way to get rid of the cables, otherwise we would have failed at our objective
TNW: What was the biggest technical hurdle in creating the Dash? (I guessed latency)
NH: Actually it was to miniaturize all the electronics while having essentially two tiny computers do processes absolutely synchronous.
TNW: You had a massive crowdfunding campaign for Dash (it earned $3.3 million, and was seeking $260,000). Was there a lot of pressure to deliver once you had backers’ investment? Tell us what that process was like.
NH: Oh boy! I felt a huge obligation toward the people that had placed so much trust in my team and myself. A lot of the pressure was self inflicted because we so badly wanted to deliver what we had promised.
I’ve had days where I just wanted to crawl under a stone and stay there. But the huge majority of Kickstarter backers did support us and cheer us up. One of the most memorable events was when we had invited 20 backers to our office to see what we are doing. A gentleman had made a cake with a Dash on it. People were trying The Dash and were incredibly supportive. It has been a hugely positive experience.
TNW: Many believe Apple will create completely wireless earbuds (similar to Dash) for the next iPhone. Would it bother you if they actually did?
NH: The Dash is much more than wireless earbuds. They are in reality microcomputers that work as a headphone, headset, tracker and human input device. It is like asking Porsche if they are concerned about Ferrari launching a gokart (ha!)
We have build a solid foundation for further new amazing experiences on The Dash, and our customers see how The Dash through software updates seems to be a living platform that keeps evolving.
TNW: What’s next for Bragi?
NH: We have just released BRAGI OS 2.0 that makes The Dash louder, better and smarter. We have another product planned this year that we think will make another splash.
Essentially in a few years time people will look back and wonder why anyone ever bothered with cables. It’s like looking at the ‘80s and wondering why the remote controls were cabled to the TV.
Headphones will become a lot smarter and become more independent of the phone. The first step has already been taken by integrating a music player directly into The Dash.
Bragi will drive that process, and we already started by pioneering this space with The Dash.