Robert Follis Associates

Awareness! The Headphone App - This iPhone App Can and Will Save Lives!

Press Release   •   Sep 30, 2010 12:23 BST

London UK: For immediate release

Awareness! The Headphone App
- This iPhone App Can and Will Save Lives

With increasing numbers of people using in-ear and closed headphones, there are serious safety issues caused by their isolation from the world around them.

These Are Recent headlines:
- Teen killed by car while wearing headphones
- Headphone Wearing Jogger Killed By Plane
- Teacher killed by tram while listening to headphones

This is a Google search for people killed while wearing headphones

Awareness! solves the problem of headphone isolation, allowing users to listen to their music and remain fully world aware, but of course, we can't pre-empt Darwin!

This is an essential app for music listening pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, bikers and others who need audio awareness for safety's sake.

Awareness! The Headphone App
- £1.79 GBP / $2.99 USD 
- (reverts to $4.99 and £2.99 on Oct 5)

- a unique new class of active functional headphone app
- connects iPhone's microphone to iPhone headphones
- for iPhone and iPod Touch - coming to iPad and Android

product info here & video - here

Awareness! uses the built-in microphone on the iPhone and iPod Touch to allow users to listen to their music with total peace of mind, knowing that important sounds, warnings, shouts, sirens, alarms or conversations, wont be missed.

- V1.1 available now from the Apple App Store
- be safer on the streets- avoid headphone related accidents 
- banish headphone oblivion

Users can hear whats going on around them, while they're listening to music and they can set precisely the amount and type of external sound they want delivered into their headphone mix.

- bleed in external sounds 
- auto-set microphone trigger level 
- allow warnings to break through even the loudest music
- fully auto or fully manual

"If you are on a bike and lost in your music, Awareness! will let you hear that truck horn before it's too late. If you are on a train, Awareness! will let you hear the next station announcement beforeyou shoot past.

Even in the office Awareness lets you listen to your music, yet hear when someone talks to you"

"Set-it and forget-it, until you need to hear what's happeningaround you!"

- maintain spatial audio awareness for better safety in any surrounding
- use while travelling, in the office, at home
- use anywhere headphones or earphones are used
- use with music, videos, games and audio books.

- true iOS4 multi tasking app built to work on iPhone4, 3GS, and iPod Touch*
- connects iPhone's microphone to the headphones
- classic VU display, intuitive and easy to use.
- microphone auto-set, analyses ambient sound levels
- automatically sets a microphone trigger level to exclude everyday background noise.
- vibrate only warning function
- works with all headphones headsets and earphones- including closed, on-ear, in-ear
- works with noise isolating and noise-cancelling headphones
- NOTE Headset with microphone required for iPod Touch 3G

Minimum Requirements:
* iOS4.1 only
* iPhone 4 or 3GS
* iPod Touch 4* iPod Touch 3 with headset

* Will NOT work on iPhone 3G or iPod Touch 2G
* Will NOT work with Wireless or Bluetooth headsets
* Will NOT work on iOS 4 / 4.0.1 / 4.0.2 - these are in testing and verification will be announced
* 0.6mb

COMING SOON: There will be regular free updates, including full versions of new features such as "Ducking" which turns down your music when someone talks to you.

BLUETOOTH: Awareness is not designed for or tested on Bluetooth or any other wireless headphones due to latency problems - yet! - watch this space.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Awareness! works with all headphones. Headphones and Headsets with mics attached work best and are essential for cycling.

THE MICROPHONE HAS TO BE AVAILABLE: With standard headphones, if your iPhone/iPod Touch is in your pocket, or you are using a case that covers the built-in mic, performance willbe impaired.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR EARS! If you need to turn the mic volume up high to hear when someone talks, you're probably listening to music too loudly, please take care of your ears!

AWARENESS DOES NOT HAVE SUPER POWERS: If you are listening to Death Metal at 110dB, or standing next to a Jet Engine, Awareness is not going to help you hear a conversation!

DISCLAIMER - Common sense is highly recommended! If you stroll in front of a speeding truck, Awareness will not save your life. We don't think anyone should wear headphones in situations where they need their wits about them. We know people do this though. Awareness can help, but common sense is highly recommended, Darwin had a point.


'Awareness' is very valid Tech helping Safety story and very topical with DOT and AA and more weighing in on the subject right now.

Article from The Sun on 22 Sept -

Highlighting 'headphone zombies,' Edmund King, the president of the AA, recently called for the Department for Transport to launch a campaign warning cyclists of the risks of being lost in music. "They [iPods] are meant to be mobile, but if you are cycling, you need all your senses about you," the AA president said.

'Your earphones could kill you'. The campaign director of Youth for Road Safety told the Daily Mail: "People don’t realise how dangerous listening to music is on the roads - whether pedestrian or cyclist. It takes one of your key senses away. People shouldn’t do it." 
"You can legislate until you are blue in the face. On the issue of iPods we just need to raise awareness."

ABOUT ESSENCY - UK developer essency was formed in 2009, the result of a collaboration between experienced sound recording engineers, programmers and musicians. essency co-founders Alex and Antony share a passion for technology and music making that spans over 25 years. This is the first release in a trio of initial Apps by essency, designed to enhance the usefulness and usability of music playing devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. iPad, Android, Symbian, Blackberry, PC and Mac versions will follow.