By Andrew Liszewski
We all know you shouldn’t ride a bike while wearing earbuds since they block out ambient noises and tend to make you oblivious to what’s going on around you. But thanks to a relatively cheap app you won’t have to go out and buy a special pair of headphones if you like listening to your music while riding, and also staying alive. Awareness! The Headphone App might have a clunky name, but it cleverly uses the microphone either on the iPhone or the iPod Touch (presumably via the mic-equipped earbuds) to let you hear what’s going on in addition to your music.
I particularly like that it doesn’t just create a mix of surrounding noises and your music all the time, but actively listens for any sounds that exceed the level of regular background noise, tuning them in as necessary. So you might not hear the dull roar of passing cars, but you’ll definitely hear an angry motorist honking. It does require you to occasionally calibrate what ‘regular background noise’ is, and you won’t be able to use a case that blocks the iPhone’s built-in mic, but for just $4.99 it’s a minimal compromise solution to make your ride a little safer.