Every now and then, a consumer electronics idea comes down the pike in which innovative design and high-powered hardware is trumped by the power of sheer cuteness.
Such is the case with the Axent Wear headphones, a crowdfunded initiative to bring glowing LED cat ears to the heads of young people worldwide.
It’s actually one of those ideas where you wonder why no one thought of it before. The Axent Wear headphones aren’t powered by any particularly high-end hardware. They’re standard over-the-ear cushion headphones with a 3.5-mm jack, microphone and USB charger. No Bluetooth or wireless options, but the 3.5-mm jack is removable and replaceable, in case it gets damaged.
The outer cans of the headphones themselves, meanwhile, are lit with bright LED rings, available in a variety of colors. LEDs also light up the headphones’ “cat ears,” which double as fully functional external speakers. Both the headphone and the external speakers are equipped with 40-mm drivers and deliver a range of 20 Hz to 20 KHz in frequency response.
Axent Wear was founded by recent University of California Berkeley graduates Wenqing Yan and Victoria Hu, who developed the idea through several iteration in one of the university’s incubation labs.
“One of the things that we ended up changing, through feedback from our friends on Facebook, was they wanted bigger cans — over the ear instead of on the ear,” says Hu on the project’s Indigogo video. “A lot of people were requesting that.”
The young entrepreneurs seem to be doing all right. With more than 20 days left in the fundraising campaign, they’ve raised more than $930,000, well surpassing their goal of $250,000. The basic pledge of $150 will get you a pair of the first headphones to come off the line, estimated delivery in April 2015.