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Headphones

Hushme may be the weirdest, yet most useful wireless headphone ever created

Perfect for open-office environments, the still-in-development Hushme Bluetooth headphone has a muzzle design that lets you have private conversations.

Hushme in masking mode.

David Carnoy/CNET

Walking the floor at Eureka Park, the startup pavilion here at CES 2017, I came across this strange product: Hushme, which is billed as the "world's first voice mask for mobile phones."

Due to hit a crowdfunding site later this year, Hushme can be worn as a standard neckband-style wireless headphone -- it has integrated ear buds -- or in "masking" mode, which allows you to muffle your conversations.

As an added bonus, when you're in masking mode, the headphones tie into a free app that allows you to overlay masking sounds onto your voice. These masking sounds, which are output through an external speaker on the outside of the headphone, include wind, rain, monkey and squirrel, as well as Darth Vader, R2D2 and Minion. There might be some licensing issues with a few of those sounds, but the demo I got was pretty wacky (only one of the two prototypes was working, however).

Hushme can also be worn like a neckband-style headphone.

David Carnoy/CNET

Although the company is based in the US, the engineers behind Hushme are Ukrainian. As I said, Hushme is planning a crowdfunding campaign later this year and expects the headphones to be priced at less than $200.

You can use the headphones on the go, but their biggest market is probably for all those folks in open-office environments who are looking for some on-demand privacy. Hushme might also make a good present for that annoying co-worker with the loud voice who doesn't mind having everyone hear his or her calls.

Hushme in an office setting.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET