Ever wished if you could listen to your favorite songs during your swimming lessons or while you are bathing in your pool? Instead of the monotonous splashing noise of water, to listen to the soothing sound of music? Well, now you can listen to your tunes while swimming and that at a very high quality thanks to the new SwiMP3. Without a doubt, Finis’s SwiMP3 (128MB, $249.99) is the most unusual MP3 player we’ve ever seen. What struck me when I first learned about the SwiMP3 was that the unit used bone conduction audio technology to deliver music to the listener’s brain. Well-known by audiologists, bone conduction is a technique where sound is transmitted to the listener by resonating vibrations through the cheekbones. Vibrations passed this way directly trigger the movement of the fluid in our inner ear, transmitting sound and bypassing the air conduction mechanism of our middle ear.
Unlike other MP3 players, the bone conduction audio technology of SwiMP3 sends the vibrations that generate the sound through your cheekbones, thus giving it a perfect clarity. Thus SwiMP3 is revolutionary in that it relies on bone conduction of sound. When the device is placed on any bones of the skull (i.e. the cheek bones or the mastoid tip) it leads to vibration of the fluid in the inner ear. Thus swimmers can enjoy clarity of sound with the SwiMP3 device that was never before possible. Bone conduction is a safe, well-established hearing mechanism in humans that the SwiMP3 player leverages to enhance aquatic activity. FINIS’ application of the technology brings an entirely new level of experience to swimmers of all abilities.
SwiMP3 Product Features
Attaches easily to any swim goggle or snorkeling mask
Built in MP3 control panel
Next / Previous track
Pause & Shuffle functions
8-hour rechargeable battery
Plays both MP3 & WMA files
Easily Drag & Drop playlists
SwiMP3 System Requirements:
Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP, Mac OS 9, OS X
Intel Pentium II 233MHz or equivalent
128 Mb RAM, 35Mb available hard drive space
USB port, CD-ROM drive
Internet connection recommended
On the flip side, this product does have some challenges to face. Turbulence is generated as you swim through the water and the end result is sound. With each stroke arms and legs are thrashing about, breaking above and below the water line and introducing a cacophony of splashes and churning bubbles. Furthermore, the exhaling and inhaling of air throughout the course of the workout is more pronounced than a runner’s because gulps can only be taken at specific intervals when the swimmer turns their head sufficiently out of the water. This moving the head in and out of the waterline in itself presents challenges as sound waves travel at different intensities under different mediums. Swimming makes a lot of noise and it is not necessarily something that an in-pool music device can completely overcome. Moreover, SwiMP3 can potentially result in nausea in some swimmers inner ear imbalance.
SwiMP3 is not something designed to isolate you from the world around you, it is just a device that should play music well enough that it entertains and distracts you lap after lap after lap. It makes no sense for expectations to be unrealistic (like comparing S/N ratios with that of land-based portables) as this unit was designed for a practical purpose. So put your wet suit on and plug yourself to the swimming experience of your life!