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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
This article was sent to us using the ‘Submit A Design’ feature. We encourage designers/students/studios to send in their projects to be featured on Yanko Design!
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Bang & Olufsen was founded by Peter Bang and Sven Olufsen in 1925, starting with manufacturing radios and growing to become one of the world’s best producers of high-end audio equipment with a design style that’s sculptural, and that puts form on a pedestal, without sacrificing function. B&O has a distinctive design appeal that Wired described as “quality media delivery via striking objects”. The company is looking for a seasoned CMF designer to join their team in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Do you have 3+ years of experience working with color, materials and finish, and would you like to use this experience in the design of Bang & Olufsen’s luxury lifestyle audio products? And are you looking for an opportunity to: – Improve your CMF design skills and apply them to Bang & Olufsen products? – Join one of the best-known luxury brands in the world? – Gain an international network of competent and collaborative colleagues?
Join the Design team As our new CMF designer, you will join the Design team in Lyngby, Denmark, consisting of 6 design managers with different competencies. Together with colleagues based in Lyngby, Struer and Singapore, we participate in cross-functional projects, contributing with our product design expertise. Doing so, we work as one team to share knowledge, run design reviews and provide feedback on a weekly basis. And now, we are looking to expand our CMF team with a designer.
Implement world-class CMF across Bang & Olufsen’s luxury products As our new CMF designer, you will work closely with our CMF manager to implement colour, materials and textures across speakers, headphones and earphones. Working with inline products, special editions as well as fashion and interior collections, you will ensure that our products live up to our CMF strategy.
– Design and visualize versions of existing products by applying color, texture and materials – Create CMF briefs and specifications based on CMF strategies, brand language and manager input – Work closely with manufacturing teams to ensure they understand specifications and deliver quality execution – Engage with external partners such as agencies, suppliers and artists, e.g. international musicians and athletes, for our fashion and – interior collections, ensuring compliance with our CMF strategy – Play a major role in managing our overall color activities across inline products, collections and special editions – You can expect approx. 20 travel days a year to review color samples at supplier factories in China.
– You have 3+ years of experience from a CMF position within fashion, lifestyle, design or consumer electronics – You can tell a compelling CMF story – You have knowledge of all phases of the CMF design process – from palette development through manufacturing and sample approvals – You are fluent in spoken and written English – You thrive in a fast-paced environment – You master Photoshop and Keyshot, and experience with Grasshopper is a plus – As a person, you have excellent collaboration skills, and you know how to reach results through teamwork. It comes naturally to you to coordinate your own tasks and drive many projects at a time.
For additional information about the position, please contact Head of Design Michael König on +45-42414261. Applications are continuously assessed, so please send your application as soon as possible.
Partnering with Disney to make a mount for the Google Home Mini, the Otterbox Den series comes in a shape that’s all too familiar. Designed with the silhouette and colors of the world’s most famous rodent, the mount lets you place a black Google Home Mini into it, turning the smart speaker into Mickey Mouse! The mount reroutes the wire from the back, making it look like the tail, and even comes with tiny cutouts at the base where the speaker’s buttons are. The mount makes the Google Home Mini much more playful and relatable, turning a smart speaker into a toy for the child as well as a piece of merchandise for Disney. My only suggestion? Release a feminine variant and call it the Google Home Minnie (Mini)!