In 2004 Finis, Inc., the leading innovator of competitive aquatic training products, released the groundbreaking waterproof SwiMP3 player for swimmers, triathletes, surfers, synchronized swimmers and anyone involved in water activities. More recently, in the spring of 2007 Finis introduced the SwiMP3 V2. This next generation SwiMP3 has been revamped with a new style and better functionality. Since the launch of the original SwiMP3, over 35,000 users have been rocking out to their favorite tunes while they swim. The unique player has been recognized in a number of publications including the New York Times, Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone, as well as, on popular entertainment networks such as MTV, the Discovery Channel, MSNBC and ESPN. In the midst of a technology crazed holiday season, the Finis v2 stands alone. The SwiMP3 V2 has been featured in numerous holiday gift guides and is becoming a must-have on many consumers' shopping lists.

Unlike other waterproof players that rely on traditional air conduction technologies, the SwiMP3 player uses bone conduction - the direct transfer of sound vibrations from the cheek bone to the inner ear - to provide the swimmer with exceptional sound clarity. The SwiMP3 player (pronounced "Swim-P-3") allows athletes to hear the same high quality music while they're in the water that they're accustomed to hearing while running, biking or at the gym. While other waterproof players rely on the transmission of sound through water or air, often producing a muffled sound, the SwiMP3 player directly stimulates the inner ear, resulting in exceptional sound quality for the listener.

Today, Finis has released a new and improved SwiMP3, the SwiMP3 V2. The new, fully waterproof player attaches easily to any swim goggle or snorkeling mask, and can be used with all competitive swim strokes. It holds approximately 60 songs, or 256 MB, for four hours of continuous music. The v2 has a new slim, non-bulky design and a built in rechargeable battery. The SwiMP3 V2 now plays both MP3 and WMA files and includes other new features such as volume, shuffle, and resume.

As Finis has been awarded a USA Patent for Bone Conduction MP3 players for use while swimming, there truly is no comparable product on the market. "This is a revolutionary step forward for aquatic athletes," said John Mix, President, Finis. "Swimming while listening to their favorite music is a dream many swimmers have long shared. While others have tried to produce waterproof players, results have been less than satisfactory. As the technical leader in the aquatics industry, Finis is proud to be the first to master the technology and bring high-fidelity sound to aquatic sports."

Bone conduction hearing is a safe, well-established hearing mechanism in humans that the SwiMP3 player leverages to enhance aquatic activity. Finis' application of the technology brings an entirely new level of experience to swimmers, either while working out or taking a leisurely swim.

-- Click here for details for buying the SwiMP3 V2 online

Sound Transmission: Air vs. Bone Conduction
By Janice D. Janas, MD

The human ear is a complex and fascinating organ that over the course of evolution has allowed us to hear in an air-filled world, rather than the fluid filled oceans of our ancestors. To understand how sound transmission works, the anatomy of the ear can be divided into three portions: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear is composed of the auricle and ear canal. The tympanic membrane (ear drum) separates the outer ear from the middle ear. Within the middle ear are the tiny ossicles or bones of hearing: the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup).* The inner ear, within the bones of the skull, contains a complex array of fluid filled spaces in part separated by the basilar membrane. The organ of Corti rests on the basilar membrane and contains the sensory cells which transmit nerve impulses to the auditory portion of the brain via the cochlear nerve.

The human ear functions on the principal of air conduction. Sound waves produced by an external source travel down the ear canal and cause vibrations of the tympanic membrane. These vibrations set in motion the tiny ossicles. The footplate of the stapes rests on a tiny membrane (the oval window) which vibrates in response to the motion of the stapes. A traveling wave is established in the fluid surrounding the basilar membrane and organ of Corti. The resultant vibration of the basilar membrane then stimulates the sensory cells to transmit nerve impulses that are translated into the perception of sound within the brain. Though complex, this system is extremely efficient and allows our human ear to perceive the faintest of sounds in our air-filled environment. Athletes have long enjoyed music during their arduous workouts. Portable radios, CD players and now MP3 players use air conduction to transmit sound. Unfortunately, anything that blocks the ear canal interferes with the air conduction of sound waves. As such, swimmers whose ears are underwater most of the time have been prevented from enjoying music during their workouts.

The new SwiMP3 is revolutionary in that it relies on bone conduction of sound. When the SwiMP3 is placed on the cheek bones, the device causes direct vibration of the skull. This vibration then triggers the onset of the traveling wave of the fluid within the inner ear, either via a direct effect or by triggering movement of the stapes footplate (a point that is debated by auditory physiologists). In either case, the air conduction mechanism is bypassed, and "normal" hearing is still achieved. Swimmers and other aquatic athletes can now enjoy clarity of sound with the SwiMP3 device that was never before possible.

Bone conduction is a safe, well-established hearing mechanism in humans. The medical interest in bone conduction rests both in its diagnostic usefulness in testing the integrity of the air conduction pathway and in amplifying sound for the hearing impaired. Audiologists have used bone conduction studies since the 1920's as part of a complete assessment of hearing. Bone conduction hearing aids have historically been the treatment of choice for patients with congenital absence of the normal air conduction pathway. Typically these have been body aid devices** or eyeglass mounted hearing aids. Since the 1970's a technique for implanting an osseo-integrated bone conduction hearing aid has been performed by ear surgeons, and over 15,000 patients have benefited from this technology around the world.

Bone conduction hearing is essentially an ancient sensory capability that the new SwiMP3 leverages to enhance the experience of swimmers, scuba divers, surfers and the like. It is a safe, proven technology that the SwiMP3 offers to the wide audience of aquatic athletes.

* Hammer, anvil and stirrup are the lay terms for the bones of the middle ear.
** External battery pack attached to a vibrating receiver secured by a headband to the tip of the mastoid bone.

-- Katz, Jack. Handbook of Clinical Audiology. Williams & Wilkins. Baltimore, MD. 1985
-- Priwin, C., Stenfelt, S. Granstrom, G. Tjellstrom, A. and Hakansson, B. Bilateral bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHAs): an audiometric evaluation. Laryngoscope. January 2004;114(1):77-84.

Copyright © FINIS, Inc. All rights reserved. 4647 Las Positas Road, Suite B, Livermore, CA 94551 This document is protected by copyright. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form by any means without prior written authorization of FINIS, Inc. The information described in this document may be protected by one or more U.S. patents, foreign patents, or pending applications.

About FINIS, Inc

Founded in 1993 by John Mix and Olympic Gold Medalist, Pablo Morales, FINIS, Inc. develops the most technologically advanced training equipment for the swimming community. Finis is the proud sponsor of Australian Olympic Swimmer and World Record Holder Jade Edmistone and USA Waterpolo captain, 2 time Olympian Tony Azevedo. From competitive swimwear and technical training equipment to high-end swim goggles and children's water confidence, FINIS offers something for swimmers of all abilities to improve their technique and add to their enjoyment of being in the water. Brands owned and operated by Finis include: FINIS, SwiMP3, Zoomers, Lane 4, and Water Pals.

SwiMP3 v.2™ Specs
Specific Features

• Transmits high-fidelity sound utilizing Bone Conduction Technology
• Sleek design has MP3 control panel built into side paddle
• Includes, Volume, Shuffle, and Resume controls
• Plays both MP3 and WMA files with 256MB of memory
• 8 hour rechargeable battery
• Holds approximately 60 songs
U.S.A. Patented and International Patent Pending General SwiMP3 System Requirements
• Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP, VISTA, Mac OS 9, OS X
• Intel Pentium II 233 Mhz or equivalent
• 256 MB Ram
• 35 MB available hard drive space
• USB port
• CD-ROM drive
• Internet connection recommended

Comment by Christian, Editor of blog
I shall be receiving the SwiMP3 player and will try it out for one week. I shall then write a follow-up article on it.

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