(Photo : Youtube/ Richard Tech) Urbanista solar-powered headphones

Urbanista introduces its new wireless noise-cancelling headphones, the Urbanista Los Angeles, and it has a solar panel integrated into the length of the headband, allowing it to draw power from both indoor and outdoor lights.

Urbanista's latest headphone is solar-powered

Although its built-in 750mAh battery can be charged through USB-C and offers up to 50 hours of battery life, the real appeal of the new headphones is the solar charging.

According to Wire, the solar-powered headphones are due to ship in early summer and it will cost around $232 each.

Even though Urbanista's site promises infinite playtime from the headphones, the exact amount of power these headphones can generate while solar charging varies.

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One hour spent in the sun should generate enough power for three hours of playtime, but on a cloudy day that drops to just two hours, Urbanista stated.

In a worst case scenario on a long-distance journey, users will need at least 8 hours of light exposure in order to get an hour of listening.

Urbanista Los Angeles headphones are similar to the Miami range when it comes to other features. The only thing that sets them apart is the solar-powered panels.

Both headphones have built-in microphones for use with voice assistants like Google Assistant or Siri, an ambient sound mode, on-ear detection, and they wirelessly connect through Bluetooth 5.0. In the box users get a carrying case, audio cable, and in-flight adaptor.

The Concept of Solar-Powered Headphones

Urbanista is not the first company to come up with the concept. In Dec. 2019, JBL announced a very similar pair of solar-powered headphones and it was crowfunded on IndieGoGo.

JBL is known to be one of the best companies when it comes to producing wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, and it wanted to be the first company to produce solar-powered headphones. 

However, the Reflect Eternal headphones by JBL are not available yet. In Dec. 2020, the company posted an update on the project's page saying the headphones were facing major delays because of the coronavirus pandemic, and that it would be offering refunds to its backers.

Both JBL's and Urbanista's headphones rely on the same Powerfoyle solar charging technology that is developed by Exeger, according to Engadget.

The material can be screen-printed onto flexible plastic, laminated, and according to Exeger, it follows the principle of photosynthesis to generate and store electricity. Just like photosynthesis, Exeger uses different dyes of different colors that absorb photons.

Exeger's CEO Giovanni Fill told Wired that JBL were a bit unlucky with the pandemic, and Urbanista became lucky because Exerger and Urbanista is located in the same city in Sweden. Exerger clarified that they will pick up the project with JBL as soon as possible.

Urbanista's headphone development

Meanwhile, Urbanista CEO Anders Andreen stated that he was skeptical in the beginning about the project but when they started to determine that they could make a product that essentially gained back as much energy as is used, they knew they can remove the need for charging.

Andreen said that the company's goal is to take a sizeable slice of a wireless headphone market that could be worth $42.1 billion by 2026. He stated that they want the headphones to be affordable so people can purchase as many pairs as they want.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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