Inspired by the music festival “silent disco” trend, headphone brand Wearhaus Inc. recently launched its new product Wearhaus Arc, new wireless headphones that aim to bring back the intimacy and fun of listening to music together.
After connecting with Wearhaus app (available for iOS and Android) on your phone or phones nearby, Wearhaus Arc can sync multiple users’ headphones using a proprietary Bluetooth mesh network with 30m syncing range, allowing users to share a favorite song with a friend or broadcast a playlist to fellow commuters. A variety of privacy settings are also available: the listener can choose to broadcast to any nearby Arc user, friends only, or to turn off music sharing entirely.
The headphone is sleekly designed with each earcup features an iconic, ring-shaped backlight that can be set to any color via the mobile app. When other people tune in to your music, their lights pulse with the same color – a visual cue to tell who’s listening with you. A capacitive touch panel allows you to easily control volume, playback, and sharing with simple gestures.
Wearhaus was founded by Nelson Zhang and Richie Zeng, two ex-Berkeley engineering students. As an early member of Xinchejian, the team built the first prototype of Arc at the Chinese hackerspace in July 2013. The project then entered Highway1 – a rigorous, 4-month hardware incubator program backed by PCH International, a veteran supply-chain company with clients ranging from Beats to Apple Inc. Wearhaus is now based in Berkeley, but their industrial designers work out of their studio in Wuxi of Jiangsu Province.
The first batch of Wearhaus Arcs are expected to ship by this holiday season. To prep for the launch, the company kicked off a crowdfunding campaign on Wearhaus website since May 6 for $75K of funding. As of the time of writing it had raised more than $55K from over 320 backers. During the campaign Arc will be available for a special backer’s price of $150. It will run until the end of May, but pre-orders will remain open afterwards at the full $200 retail value. Moreover, the company also planned to launch a campaign on Chinese crowdfunding platform DemoHour later this year.
Even though the argument on whether it is a good time to invest in Chinese music market is still going on, the rising hardware trend has attracted several entrepreneurs who see opportunities in developing smart hardware for music streaming to make their early efforts in this sector. Starwish, a startup founded by a serial entrepreneur in China’s music industry Gary Chen, launched an Android-powered smart headphone VOW and StarChat, a mobile app for musicians to interact with their fans.
image credit: Wearhaus