Hey, Vinci? Why do you have a screen that I can't see?
Vinci claims to be the world's first pair of truly smart headphones and its ginormous Kickstarter total suggest that people believe it. They play music, via wire or Bluetooth, but they also have a 3.2in touchscreen, Android OS, Wi-Fi and a 3G SIM built-in. That means they can stream music direct from Spotify, though they also have 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. The internet connectivity is also the gateway to their Alexa-style voice assistant abilities.
It's basically a phone you wear on your head.
Craving a takeaway but can't be bothered to call? With a quick "Hey Vinci!" you can have your head-mounted assistant place your order for you. (Though as it doubles as a fitness tracker, complete with an optical heart rate monitor, it might frown on your consumption.) Vinci's makers say the AI will learn from you as you use it, creepily predicting your behaviour and making suggestions. Downsides? That screen. You can't see it when they're on, but everyone else can. Displaying your music taste to the other people in your train carriage - brave.
They're not due to arrive in their final form until March next year. Though the more expensive of the two versions has a fancier DAC and noise cancelling, which might be worth the extra outlay.
The current early bird deal for these robo-headphones is a frankly remarkable US$99, ahead of predicted RRPs of US$199 for the basic pair or US$299 for the 'Pro' version. Which is not a lot of moolah for decent headphones, let alone decent headphones with all the promised bits.