The latest Stylophone is much more than a tiny toy synth

The Stylophone line of tiny analog synths has been around for decades. The greats like Bowie and Kraftwerk have used them on iconic tracks, so they're not just limited to hobbyist use. At NAMM this week, Dubreq unveiled the latest, and the most power...

A Speaker and Headphones in Coexistence

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An evolution of this original design by Deepanjan Sinha, the Plus/Nest 2019 makes the switch from headphones to speaker a seamless experience. Imagine that you’re just getting home from work and in the middle of your favorite song or tuned in to breaking news on your headphones. You want to change out of your work clothes but don’t want to miss anything by removing your headphones. Well, now you don’t have to! As soon as you get home, simply toss your headphone on the Nest and your audio will automatically transition to the speaker, ensuring you never skip a beat.

Designer: Deepanjan Sinha

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Plus and Nest advertises a way to easily switch between 2 audio devices by negating the involvement of a phone. With the simple gesture of throwing in the earphones into the speaker, you can now seamlessly switch from a “Private” music listening to a more “Public” music listening experience.

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2 magnetically attaching earbuds also allow you to easily turn on/off the device without the use of annoying and awkward long presses. This ensures a more “gesture” inclusive way of controlling your earphones.

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A controller on the earphone with a convex and concave surface gives a sense of tactility allowing you to “feel” what you’re pressing without really looking at it.

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The enclosure on the earphone houses a wireless coil and a battery and acts as a “wireless” link between the speaker and earphones. When dropped into the speaker tray, the music instantly switches to the Nest Speakers….

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The Tray on the Nest speakers also double as a wireless charger for your Plus earphones, giving it a designated space in your home to store them when not in use.

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The grooves on the Nest and Plus lightly grip each other, allowing for a better alignment to successfully charge wirelessly.

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Plus and Nest are designed to work for and with each other. The pair are also sold together, making it a unique, one of a kind audio package for both your private and public music listening experience.

A New Spin on the Speaker

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In a world full of square speakers, the Dial Sound stands out with its irregular round shape. Minimalistic and modern, the form actually harkens back to a familiar fragment of music’s past — the gramophone.

It’s elevated speaker design delivers high-definition audio in whichever direction the user places it. Better yet, it features intuitive controls that include a small on/off switch on the side, a large dial that encompasses the speaker to adjust volume, and hidden LEDs at the front and rear indicate the device’s power mode. Simply give the dial a spin to crank up your favorite tunes.

Designer: BKID co for Samsung

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Lenovo’s ultraportable speaker is as slim and small as your phone

The Lenovo 700 Ultraportable Bluetooth Speaker is quite literally the most portable one ever. Most portable Bluetooth speakers are portable alright, but they aren’t slip-into-your-pocket portable. Audio drivers tend to have depth/thickness to them, resulting in speakers that may be small and lightweight, but are almost always chunky too, making them ideal for laptop bags, but not pant pockets.

Lenovo’s latest offering wants to be the kind of Bluetooth speaker you carry around with you, the way you carry your phone. Designed to be pretty much the same size as the phone you have, the Lenovo 700 slides right into most pockets with ease. At just 11mm thick, it’s probably the slimmest Bluetooth speaker to exist, and can fit into your pocket without you even noticing the difference. However, take it out and tap it against your phone and the Lenovo 700 becomes a speaker worth noticing. Built with NFC and Bluetooth 5.0, the speaker pairs with your device almost instantly when brought close to it, and a set of controls located on the base of the speaker grill let you toggle through your music and even answer and reject your calls.

Given that the Lenovo 700 is too thin to stand on its own and needs to be placed lying down, the speakers are built to push sound outward in 360°, rather than just upwards. This approach makes it easy to listen to your music no matter where you are in relation to the speaker. The speaker provides 8 hours of use on a completely charged battery (which takes two hours to charge to 100%), and even comes with an IPX2 rating, making it splashproof. Designed to be carried everywhere you carry your smartphone, the Lenovo 700 was made to be used both indoors and outdoors, at work or at home, and even be the speaker-of-choice to take to the gym or even the poolside.

The speakers were a part of Lenovo’s CES 2019 showcase, but are yet to be launched.

Designer: Lenovo

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Sony’s Glass Sound Speaker Looks Like a Light-up Bong

Sony’s new Glass Sound Speaker is certainly unique in the world of Bluetooth speakers. Taking a design cue from stoners, the LSPX-S2 looks just like a bong. You have to wonder how many people will grab this by accident when they want a toke.

This is the second Sony Glass Sound Speaker, following up from the LSPX-S1 which was introduced a few years ago. This time, the speaker is a bit less bulky and has more curves, which is how you get that bong look. It also now has Hi-Res Audio support and Spotify Connect.

Obviously, Sony wants to blend the speaker into your home decor, which really works if you have bongs lying around and you want some romantic illumination with some good tunes. The speaker packs Sony’s Advanced Vertical Drive technology, which allows the speaker to reproduce 360-degree sound. In addition to its sound, it lights up with two Candlelight modes, and 32 steps of brightness.

It has a 35 mm mid-range driver, passive radiator, 11w peak output, built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA support, LDAC audio coding technology, pairing via Bluetooth or NFC One-Touch, Push & Play function (Spotify Connect), wireless multi-room support, and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 8 hours per charge. I bet your bong can’t do all that.

[via Mike Shouts]

This little speaker-cap hacks your smart speaker to give you back your privacy

Project Alias looks and behaves like a parasitic fungus, in the sense that it latches onto its host, feeding off it and inhibiting its functions for its own gain. It may sound a little extreme, but it does it all for the sake of privacy. Smart speakers now sit in one out of three American homes… and while they’re great in terms of convenience, they’re a privacy nightmare. Smart speakers are always listening in on everything you say or do around your home, and companies create databases and profiles based on the tonnes of information they collect to sell ads and products to you. The two largest players in the market, Amazon and Google, literally have business models that revolve around harvesting personal data to sell to the highest bidder, which in turn sell you products and or services.

The Project Alias device sits atop the smart speaker, like a fungal growth, blocking out its microphones, so that the speaker can’t listen to you. However, when you do want to access the smart speaker, say a keyword and the Project Alias lets your command through to the speaker, effectively deafening the home assistant when you don’t want it listening, and bringing it to life when you do.

Designers Bjørn Karmann & Tore Knudsen designed Project Alias as a defense tactic, and modeled it on a fungal species that aptly captures the way the parasitic product behaves. “This [fungus] is a vital part of the rain forest, since whenever a species gets too dominant or powerful it has higher chances of getting infected, thus keeping the diversity in balance,” says Tore Knudsen. “We wanted to take that as an analogy and show how DIY and open source can be used to create ‘viruses’ for big tech companies.”

The project is an entirely open-source piece of tech that contains a 3D printed outer housing, a Raspberry Pi board, a microphone (for your voice commands), a set of speakers (that block out the home assistant’s internal microphones with a static), and a line of commands that are all readily available on GitHub, although I’d totally spring for a ready-made version of this. I imagine it won’t be long before companies begin building and selling their own Project Aliases, but then again, that goes against what the project stands for in the first place.

Assemble the product, plug it into a power source and you’re ready to go. The product sits on top of a Google Home or Echo, covering its microphones, while speaker modules inside the Project Alias produce a white noise that prevents the home assistant from hearing anything. In order to communicate with the home assistant, you can set your own catchphrase that the Alias recognizes. Program it to respond to “Hey Brad” or “Hey Speaker”, or “Hey data-mining corporation” (if you’re a bit of a nihilist), and the Alias picks up on the cue, triggering the home assistant to listen to the rest of your command. The Alias’ voice command recognition feature works locally and the device doesn’t connect to the internet or store any information on the cloud, making it perfectly safe and secure, allowing you to hack your smart speakers to work perfectly well without them invading your privacy, and preventing mega-corporations from gathering any further data on you and your personal lives. And there’s a side advantage to this too. You can now rename your smart speaker to pretty much anything you want, rather than being restricted to “Hey Google” or “Hey Alexa”. Rather cool, isn’t it?

Designers: Bjørn Karmann & Tore Knudsen

Click Here to build your own Project Alias

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Click Here to build your own Project Alias

Evolution of the Wall Clock

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Designer Daeun Joung’s latest concept looks like nothing more than a three-dimensional piece of wall art… but it’s that and more. The sculptural design actually triples as a short throw projector and wireless speaker.

Disguised as art on your wall, it frees up the surface real estate that most wireless speakers occupy. Working in tandem with the COZY app on your phone, the design can stream your favorite tunes and display a variety of customized notifications on your wall. Sync it up to preview a live stream of the news or make it display the weather, time, and stocks.

Designer: Daeun Joung

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Guess what Sony’s latest bluetooth speaker looks like…

You may constantly need to explain yourself to your parents or conservative family members when they first take a look at the Sony LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker, because trust me, it looks uncannily similar to something you’d find in a college-going teenager’s room.

Mary Jane reference aside, this product, weird as it may look, is classic Sony. Sony as a company is famed for creating products that are state of the art, but also weird (Verge has chronicled most of them down)… and the LSPX-S2 or the Glass Sound Speaker is the latest entry into that category. Designed to look like a candle stand (I believe that was the original intent), the Glass Sound Speaker was made to serve as an all-round piece of audiovisual entertainment as it packs a light into it too. Made to sit on tabletops or bedstands, and to serenade one with music while cozy in bed or while preparing a meal or having a romantic dinner, the light within flickers with the intensity of a candle flame, but what’s more interesting is the audio setup that sits underneath.

The speaker, right below the glass tube, comprises a 35 mm mid-range driver and a passive radiator to deliver the mids and the low-ends. However, for the higher frequencies, the speaker relies ON the glass tube. “The organic glass body itself vibrates after being tapped by the actuator under it to spread the sound vertically in a 360-degree direction. The organic glass tube tweeter has a wider surface (compared to conventional speakers) to create crystal clear sound with minimal loss of volume.”, says Sony. Innovative, for sure, but I still can’t shake off the overall shape that Sony decided to go with… and priced at $700 that’s a mighty expensive water-pipe looking piece of tech right there.

Designer: Sony

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Rock Solid Audio With a Soft Side

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The STOCKHOLM speaker/charger/dock is designer Sanjay Yadav’s stab at Danish electronic maker Vifa’s uniquely Nordic aesthetic. The three-in-one unit instantaneously makes the user’s preferred listening application or personal library available for wireless streaming once the phone has been docked. Meanwhile, a recessed top makes for a convenience place to store your keys, wallet, or other small items. Attempting to channel the brand’s minimal yet soft vibe, the design is clad in woven textile with an aluminum framework — all crafted to seamlessly integrate into the interior of your home.

Designer: Sanjay Yadav

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