January 30th, a tech start-up, Tunebug, is set to release one of the weirdest speaker designs we’ve ever seen, the Shake. By itself, it’s not a speaker. Rather, the $120, puck-like device affixes to anything from a tabletop to a bike helmet, and transmits sound waves through that medium. Thus, the surface itself transmits the sound, like one big flat panel speaker.
So why wouldn’t you simply design tiny speakers, rather than relying on what has to be degraded sound quality? Tunebug claims that the appeal is getting lots of volume from a tiny, compact, and durable package. But the killer app might be for bike riders, snowboarders, and the like.
For all those activities, headphones are a no-no–sealed off from the environment, without situational awareness, you’re asking for a accident. Tunebug Shake is supposed to solve that problem, by still allowing you to hear what’s going on around you, and turning the soundwave into something that envelops you so that you’re not concentrating on it too much. (Think of the sound system in your car.)
Of course, the key issue has to be sound quality–who cares if you can hear through your helmet, if it sounds like a bunch of bumblebees behind a wall. But we’re eager to see if it works–this could be pretty amazing.