Wireless audio tech for outdoor enthusiasts

CHIPS, from Outdoor Technology, allows helmet-wearers to listen to music and answer calls, hands- and wires-free. Courtesy of Outdoor Technology

Skateboarders, skiers, cyclists and snowboarders are all united by their use of helmets.

And those helmet-wearers are further united in knowing that their headgear is not only clunky, but also manages to separate them from their phones and MP3s. Until now.

CHIPS is a wireless audio system that slips into any helmet with an audio-enabled liner and allows users to seamlessly listen to music and talk on the phone, hands- and wires-free, all while wearing their helmets. Created by Outdoor Technology, an outdoor action lifestyle company specializing in wireless audio and apparel, the device merges sports, technology and safety.

Caro Krissman, co-founder and CEO of Outdoor Technology, says that CHIPS will be a game-changer for helmet-wearing sports enthusiasts who want to stay connected without distracting wires hanging from beneath their helmets.

CHIPS is notable for its innovative technology, but should also be commended for its simplicity and ease of use. Users simply drop the device into the slot of a helmet liner and they’re in business. They can then make calls and listen to music without removing their helmets or messing with wires.

The system is controlled with two buttons -- one controls volume and the other accepts or ends calls -- so even people wearing gloves can operate it with ease. Plus, CHIPS has a built-in mic, so calls will come in and go out crystal clear -- assuming you stick the landing.

The CHIPS patent is currently pending, but expect to see it in the U.S. sometime this winter, selling for $129.95.

I, for one, just might use the device to listen to audiobooks. Now I can finally catch up on "A Game of Thrones" while pretending to know what I’m doing on the bunny slopes.