Audio brand Urbanista is looking to bring an end to the problem of wireless active noise cancellation (ANC) headphones running out of power. The company claims the Powerfoyle solar cell material used on the Urbanista Los Angeles headphones can charge the battery with any kind of light, not just solar. The idea is that you’ll get “virtually infinite playtime.”
If you’re outside for an hour when the sun’s shining, the solar cell tech will add up to three hours of listening time to the battery, according to Wired. Even if it’s a cloudy day, you’ll seemingly get an extra two hours of additional battery life for each hour you spend outside. Ambient light will recharge Urbanista Los Angeles as well, but you’ll top up the battery faster even if you leave the set next to a window. Otherwise, you can charge the battery using a USB-C cable.
Powerfoyle is the brainchild of a Swedish company named Exeger. The material can apparently be used in any design. Urbanista says this marks the first time the tech has been integrated into headphones.
However, JBL has tried to use the tech as well. The company started a crowdfunding project in 2019 with a similar aim of offering almost unlimited playback with its Reflect Eternal headphones. Partly due to travel complications arising from the onset of COVID-19, JBL canceled the project, and is offering refunds to all backers through the end of this month.
Elsewhere, Urbanista Los Angeles have full compatibility with iOS, Android and Windows systems, according to the company, along with Siri and Google Assistant support. You can toggle between ANC and ambient sound modes with the press of a button. Through an on-ear detection feature, the headphones will pause audio when you remove them and continue playback when you place them back over your ears. There will be two color options, including a midnight black variant.
Whether the company’s charging claims hold up remains to be seen. Urbanista Los Angeles will cost £169 (around $200), though the company has yet to open pre-orders.