The biggest problem with smart-speakers is that they’re voices without faces – LAYER’s Capsula Mini fixes that

Filling a rather strangely-ignored UX gap with the smart-speaker market, LAYER Design’s smart-speaker for Russia-based comes with its own expressive little face that reacts as it listens and speaks. Titled the Capsula Mini, the smart speaker runs’s native voice AI – Marusya, while assuming the friendly avatar of a little AI butler that’s ready to answer all your requests.

The speaker takes on the familiar puck-like shape seen with other mini smart-speakers like the Amazon Echo Dot or the Apple HomePod Mini. It sports a fabric clad around the sides where you’d expect the speakers to fire audio out of, and a set of LED eyes shine right through the fabric. The speaker uses a seven-segment LED display for each eye (and a single dot for the nose), allowing it to express emotions like happiness, sadness, nonchalance, and surprise, while also doubling as a clock that displays the time. A touch-sensitive surface on the top lets you physically interact with the Capsula Mini, while an LED ring underneath its touch panel lights up when the speaker’s active (and turns to red when there’s an error).

The voice and touch-activated speaker hopes to do something rather new by associating a face with the speaker’s voice. Given how our visual sense plays such a dominant role in our perception of everything from events to emotions, it makes sense, being able to associate a face with the voice – after all, video chats are so much better than audio calls, no? Capsula Mini’s eyes and nose also pull off the ‘serious’ veneer associated with gadgets that end up scaring people who are tech-phobic or don’t know how to use certain tech appliances – like children or the elderly. The fact that Capsula Mini has a face and a voice anthropomorphizes it, making it much more approachable, especially to people who aren’t tech-savvy.

The smart-speaker will be available to Russian users in two color variants – ‘Dove Grey’ and ‘Charcoal’, with more colors in the future.

Designer: LAYER Design for

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How Michelangelo’s Statue of David helped inspire one of the most beautiful, home-friendly speaker designs ever

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

The fact that fabric is now considered an industrial design material can be directly attributed to Google. When the company first designed smart speakers for homes, it deliberately looked to interior decor for inspiration. In came soft forms, fabric clads, leather trims, and home-friendly color palettes. Google’s smart home products played a pivotal role in reinventing how home appliances are designed to fit into their domestic surroundings rather than look like gadgets, and it’s something the Torso Speaker embraces so incredibly well with its statuesque design that draws inspiration from marble sculptures from the Greco-Roman times. The speaker’s bust-shape is a rather literal interpretation of turning gadgets into home-friendly decor, but there’s something immensely poetic about how it draws a balance between the two! By drawing from the beauty and perfection of marble sculptures, the speaker echoes those very attributes too – elegance, beauty, perfection.

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

What the Torso does is quite literally show us that we’re in a Renaissance period of smart home-appliance design. Speakers are being made to blend into surroundings, with them sometimes looking like lamps, furniture, or even as IKEA’s demonstrated, photo-frames. Designer Yang Dong Wook created the Torso speaker in the image of Michelangelo’s bust of David, bringing its nuanced classical qualities into product design. Created as a part of Samsung’s Design Membership Program, the Torso speaker explores the relationship between interiors and gadgets (sort of the same way Samsung’s Serif TV did). The speaker looks remarkably like an abstract bust you’d proudly place on your mantelpiece, displaying for all your guests to see. It adopts the same shapes, contours, and tilts as the Bust of David, with the slanted shoulders and the slightly angled head, resulting in an incredibly expressive form.

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

The speaker’s built to scale and serves a highly elevated decorative purpose in its surroundings. Its neck acts as a vessel, allowing you to use the speaker as a vase or a place to hang your ornaments, and that gray finish gives it a pristine marble-like appearance too.

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

While the upper part of the Torso serves as a vase-like container, its collar area comes outfitted with the speakers, sitting under a fabric clad. The speakers fire forwards (because of how the Torso has a very definite front profile), while passive radiator channels in the bottom create a reverberating bass.

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

The controls for the speaker are located on the shoulder of the bust. A power button on the left lets you switch the Torso on or off, and a Bluetooth button on the right lets you connect a device. The shoulder-bridge sports a touch-sensitive volume slider, so increasing or decreasing the volume becomes an incredibly interactive, almost sensual experience, as you drag your fingertip down the Torso’s shoulder. Talk about a product having sex appeal!!

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

The Torso speaker does a few things pretty adeptly. For designers and companies, it shows how inspiration can be found practically anywhere. For a consumer, it unlocks an absolutely new category of products that redefine tech and home decor completely, combining the timeless beauty of Greco-Roman sculptures with a contemporary, functional product… but most importantly, for the vast design movement, it shows how a design can have a timeless quality to it, by borrowing from something that’s truly iconic, classical, and evergreen in its allure!

Designer: Yang Dong Wook

Torso Speaker inspired by Michelangelo Statue of David

This Movie Theater Seat has its own built-in surround-sound system for a truly immersive experience

The FLEXSOUND Pulse generates its own immersive ‘bubble’ of full-range audio around the person sitting in it. Its makers designed it to be the cinema seat of the future, but they see it being used in gaming, live performances, and even at home.

The terms ‘immersive’ and ‘loud’ aren’t necessarily interchangeable… that’s a distinction that the FLEXSOUND Pulse focuses on. It replaces the need for those loud 5.1 surround sound systems by putting the speakers right into their futuristic movie-theater seats, so you don’t just listen to the audio, you FEEL it too.

Flexsound Pulse - The first fully loudspeaker-free cinema sound system

The FLEXSOUND Pulse is an almost cabin-esque seat that envelops you in your personal “soundsphere.” The Pulse comes with carefully-positioned full-range audio systems built right into the seat, giving you an experience that blurs the lines between auditory and tactile. Just how your heart thumps to music at a concert, the chair’s audio systems immerse your ears and body in sound and vibrations without necessarily being loud. Moreover, the chair’s felt-lined walls along the side help contain the sound within the space inside the seat, resulting in minimal sound leakage. This means your audio experience exists within the confines of your chair, so your family and neighbors don’t get disturbed while you’re watching a Michael Bay film or an exceptionally rowdy football match. Sadly though, it also means you can’t really talk to people beside you or efficiently pass the popcorn around (although that might just be a good thing).

Flexsound Pulse - The first fully loudspeaker-free cinema sound system

The chairs are designed to wirelessly receive sound, and can be arranged in a variety of numbers and orientations for smaller private cinemas as well as larger public movie theaters… and just in case you’re wondering, yes, they could potentially be used at home too, along with your TV or your gaming rig. Or better still, just pop on a VR headset and enter perhaps the most immersive movie-watching experience known to humankind.


Flexsound Pulse - The first fully loudspeaker-free cinema sound system

Flexsound Pulse - The first fully loudspeaker-free cinema sound system

This smart assistant with a microphone is here to be an assistant content creator while you multitask!

A personal assistant is one gadget that has the potential to change life on an everyday scale. Right from giving you the information you asked for, playing music when you’re feeling blue, turning on the lights to a specific hue in your living room, or doing some 50 random tasks you have in a day! Meet Miko, the portable smart assistant that does more than its intended function. Created by industrial designer Vandana Bhanushali, the smart device doubles as a microphone for content creation!

Miko has cardioid microphones to pick up the voice in real-time and amplifies the sound. This means we can use the cheeky little gadget for anything from small rallies, office meetings, live performances to even karaoke nights with buddies. Don’t mistake Miko for any ordinary mic, as it can address a room filled with 60 people in crystal clear vocals or audio. Even better, the gadget can be used in one of the two modes – either as a handheld mic or as a detachable lavalier clip mic. There’s a pin on the base mic that keeps it charged, and this base mic is further amped via the main dock. So as soon as we pick up the mic from the dock, it sets into action the voice amplification. This function makes the little gadget perfect for podcast creators or video content makers. Plus, the attractive design is well thought out to appeal to the next-gen crowd.

When you don’t require the mic or amplification, the cute little speaker turns to the task of being a smart assistant. For sure, this gadget is something unique amongst the very predictable products out there. However, Miko has the potential to get past the concept stage, and content creators will already be eying this gadget with keenness.

Designer: Vandana Bhanushali

DIY Speaker with Ferrofluid Display: Lava Amp

YouTuber Dakd Jung recently shared a montage of them making a Bluetooth speaker with a one-of-a-kind visualizer. In front of the speaker is a small glass case with a bit of ferrofluid in it. Inside the speaker is a device that converts part of the sound signal into electromagnetic signals, causing the blob to react to the sound in real-time. Skip to 2:02 in the video to check out the device in action.

It may sound straightforward, but Dakd says a big challenge of his device is that ferrofluid normally sticks to the glass. Dakd had to coat the inside of the case with “special treatment” to allow the ferrofluid to float.

It seems like the ferrofluid can react only to one frequency at a time, and violently at that. But for a one-man passion project, it’s still very well made.

[via The Verge]


An Ex-Apple designer created this ornamental, almost alien-like Triphonic speaker

After over 20 years of working at the world’s most valuable tech company and being one of the core members of Jony Ive’s design team, Cristopher Stringer is unveiling the Cell Alpha, a high-end AirPlay 2 compatible speaker from his company Syng. The Cell Alpha is a rather absurdly beautiful-looking speaker that packs an absolute punch for its size. Think of it as a combination of cutting-edge technology and a culmination of years worth of effort at Apple to reinvent the music industry, from the iPod and iTunes to the demise of the 3.5mm jack and the birth of the podcast movement. Stinger’s been at the very epicenter of all these movements, giving his company Syng immense credibility. The Cell Alpha from Syng is an alien-ish UFO-like speaker that sits either on a table or off the floor using a stand. Designed to be the world’s first Triphonic speaker, it doesn’t just make you hear audio, it makes you feel it too.

There’s something about the Cell Alpha speaker that reminds me of the Devialet Phantom. There’s often this notion that speakers need to look a certain way, with their diaphragms facing you as they pump out audio. Well, the world’s first Triphonic speaker has its own unique mechanisms. Two forced balanced subwoofers sit on the upper and lower sides of the spherical speaker, pumping rich bass upwards and downwards to fill the room. Between them sits the Cell Alpha’s pièce de résistance, its triphone, a three-horn system that projects sound with absolute accuracy. Place it in any part of the room and the Cell Alpha fills the space with audio. It doesn’t have a front or back, which means your room gets washed with 360° waves of high fidelity sound, and the minute you introduce a second or a third Cell Alpha speaker into the mix, it gives you complete spatial control and total envelopment in crystal clear audio.

It’s not too difficult to tell that the Cell Alpha is the result of over 20 years worth of design at Apple. There’s a slight similarity in its design language to the Harman Kardon Aura which Jony Ive designed too, and the idea of a transparent plastic shell encasing an inner complicated architecture is something the iMac G3 did beautifully. Stringer left Apple in 2017, which means he also worked on the HomePod too. There’s an elegance and mystique about the Cell Alpha that’s absolutely magnetic, and it does reflect exactly how much of a handshake Syng’s design and engineering teams have.

The Cell Alpha isn’t your average speaker, though. It sports a whopping price tag of $1,799 with a table stand and $1,969 with a floor stand. The speaker works with the Syng app that, beyond allowing you to play music from your favorite streaming services, also lets you control your sound field, shape your sound, and operate and control multiple Cell Alpha speakers throughout your home with Multi-Space playback.

Designer: Cristopher Stringer (Syng)

This side table is also a powerful 200W high-definition sound system!

It may look like a demure little table for your coffee cups and magazines, but the Cube was designed to pack a punch. Sitting within its spectacular hand-crafted wooden frame is an incredibly powerful 200W speaker system comprising two full-range speakers and a massive double bass reflex woofer with dual aluminum vents. That’s audiophile-speak for “This table knows how to drop the bass”.

Ultimately the Cube is a uniquely expressive piece of furniture that’s more than just a surface for resting your cups. Combining patented audio-technologies into one award-winning piece of furniture, the Cube surprises with how good it sounds for a device that small. Moreover, it eliminates the need for you to even own a separate speaker set because your furniture IS your speaker set. Considering how the Cube could be used by regular people as well as audio-enthusiasts, it comes outfitted to connect to a variety of devices. It has built-in Bluetooth, which means you can hook your phone, tablet, or even laptop to it, while the option of analog RCA connectivity, digital optical input toslink (DAC 24-bit 192Khz), and a 3.5mm input means the Cube could be hooked to a host of external devices like your television or even vinyl player. The Cube’s upper surface is perfect for resting your phone, placing a mini bonsai planter, or just stashing magazines. If you want to use it as a table to keep your coffee, you’d best use a stable cup and a coaster, because the Cube’s control panel sits on the top too, allowing you to play with the volume, bass, and treble. There’s even a shelf below the audio unit, for storing larger piles of magazines and books.

Each Cube comes meticulously hand-crafted in the Spanish and French Basque Country regions, close to La Boite’s company headquarters. Although they come outfitted with spectacular sound-systems, the Cube’s primary role really is to look like high-end furniture too… to that end, the Cube table features a variety of styles including dark and light wood while also using materials like leather trims, metal accents, and even a variant with a Corian counter-top for that faux-marble effect. Given how exquisitely they’re built, the Cube doesn’t come cheap. Each unit retails for €1290 ($1531), and the company goes as far as to offer free shipping in France and the rest of the EU as well as an international 3-year warranty on the entire unit.

Designer: Samuel Accoceberry for La Boite

IKEA x Sonos latest collaboration promises a budgeted, high-quality speaker disguised as a wall art!

I’m not a fan of traditional music systems. Yes, I’ve put it out there! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy music. What I hate is the trail of wires my Bose surround sound system creates around my rental apartment. And sure, there are a TON of wireless speakers that deliver performance, but watching the conceptual designs on Yanko Design has my bar set a little higher than usual. That is why the latest Instagram announcement by SONOS and IKEA has me truly intrigued by what it can do to my living room!

Everyone’s favorite furniture design brand IKEA has teamed with SONOS once again and what is promised are two new products at least. The first new product, as showcased filing, is a revamped version of the Symfonisk table lamp. It’s expected to be sold for around the same price ($179) as the original product. The second product is a piece of wall art! To quote the Verge, “The Verge has seen an early image of this product, codenamed “Titan,” but details about how it functions couldn’t yet be learned. Specifically, it’s unclear whether the entire artwork print is the product or if the speaker unit can be transferred between different exterior art housings.” Imagine this, wall art or frame that lets you display your favorite image, in your preferred print quality that plays soothing music, wirelessly! Historically, any collaboration between these brands has resulted in products that deliver value on multiple levels – be it the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker or the table lamp speaker. It carries the golden triage – form, functionality, and extreme versatility and modularity that comes with the budget-friendliness of IKEA. My toes are literally tingling from the excitement.

Personally speaking, the entire enterprise for me hinges on 2 factors – the variety of the pictures available and the second one is the price range. Let’s face it – a digital frame with multi-image displaying capacity is nothing new for us. What is new is putting together two of our favorite brands and their powerhouse research into creating a product that meets the needs we did not even know existed till we see it hanging on our wall. Now that, for me, is pure magic!

Designer: IKEA x SONOS

Photo used at the beginning courtesy Matheus Viana from Pexels.

Image of the SYMFONISK table lamp with WiFi speaker, courtesy IKEA.

Photo by Lasse Bergquist on Unsplash

Audiophile-approved speaker designs to elevate and upgrade your music experience!

Owning a great speaker is always essential, not only to blast out some groovy music at your parties but also for those days when you want to sing along to your favorite tunes at the top of your lungs, in the privacy of your room! Whatever may be the requirement, having a clear, distortion-free, handy, and interactive speaker is necessary. There are a lot of innovative speakers out there in the market, so picking the right one that meets all your needs can be a task, especially since we all tend to have different audio requirements. Hence, we’ve curated a collection of functional, creative, and exciting speaker designs for you! There’s a unique speaker for everyone in here. We hope you can find the one that’s meant for you!

Kintsugi is the art of mending broken ceramics using gold to seal the cracks… but what if the cracks were celebrated as a design detail instead? What if the cracks revealed something even beautiful underneath? The Teno lamp + speaker’s reveal is as poetic as life emerging from behind cracked egg-shells. The lamp-speaker uses a cracked exterior that gently separates into two. As the crack widens, you begin to the signs of life underneath as the lamp below is revealed, shining through the cracks with its life-affirming message of hope… but Teno isn’t just a lamp, it’s a Bluetooth speaker too! Designed to look more artistic and sculpturally beautiful than any lamp or Bluetooth speaker you’ve ever seen, Teno is truly about the beauty within. The outer surface comes in the shape of a hemisphere with a crack running through its center (the crack’s even edge-painted gold for added flair). Separate the two halves of the hemisphere, and a lamp within automatically switches on, creating perhaps one of the most unusually pleasing interactions of all time. Pull the halves further apart, and you switch on the Bluetooth speaker within, allowing your light to come to life with sound too!

This new Dieter Rams-inspired Bluetooth speaker design encourages you to click the lock button and stow the phone away if only for a song. The design’s concept is visually approachable and inviting, with a single speaker on the product design’s right-hand side, a roomier pocket for your phone on the left, and self-explanatory player controls on top. While the visual and compartmental design makes the music device easily portable, it also motivates you to end the constant scrolling and just enjoy the music. Since the speaker works with Bluetooth, the space to stow away your phone is more of a light suggestion than a prerequisite for operation. However, if you do decide to use the suggested space for your phone, the product’s design becomes user-adjustable. Since the speaker’s screen, which encases your phone, is transparent, that means you can transform your screen into a compact cassette or any other background, invoking your favorite musical memory within any room.

The motive for Ben Lorimore’s Sound Tool was to have a speaker whose operation relies upon physical intuition, leading it to be emotionally stimulating! The main source of inspiration comes from the eccentric movement of a Conductor; as the volume of the orchestra increases, as too does the Conductors physical presence. This has been beautifully translated into Sound Tool by encouraging the user to increase the volume of the music by grabbing each end of the speaker and pulling them apart! To increase the volume of Sound Tool, grab it and make it bigger. To decrease the volume, compress it. Fully collapse it to pause, Sound Tool will not play at 0% volume. It’s welcoming to see a product that encourages tangible interactions!

You’ve heard of 2.1 audio, 5.1 audio, even perhaps 7.1 audio… but have you ever heard of 12.1 surround sound? That’s what the Actinia speaker is about. Inspired by the tree-shaped sea anemone, the Actinia Speaker has 12 tweeters on its radially symmetric top, and a woofer right at the base. With a gradient-tinted glass body, the Actinia is virtually see-through, bringing an element of transparency to the uniquely shaped organic speaker body, almost reminiscent of how curvy Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks were, back in the day. I don’t imagine the Actinia has smart-speaker abilities, but with 12.1 audio, I doubt you’d really choose to hear Alexa’s voice over some good old, immersive Hans Zimmer or Ramin Djawadi soundtracks… am I right?

A relatively small, hockey-puck-sized gizmo, Humbird has the ability to transform surfaces into speakers. Place it on a coffee table and the table begins to transmit audio, creating a rich sound that you can hear all around your room. Attach it to the body of your acoustic guitar and you’re treated to a different, more airy sound, thanks to the guitar’s hollow acoustic-resonation box. The speaker doesn’t transmit sound waves through the air, but rather relies on a vibrating unit that delivers sound via vibrations through an external medium. It’s easy to be fooled by Humbird’s incredibly small size, but the truth is that the Humbird’s sound is as big as the object you rest it against. Just by simple contact, you can turn entire dining tables, doors, or window-panels into vibrating speaker units that emanate sound through the room.

These sleek and futuristic headphones have a hidden secret – they transform into a speaker! Usually, once you’re done listening to your favorite tunes, you simply place your headphones on your desk or any other preferred spot, however, Helix’s soft headband and ball joint arm, allow you to easily twist and mold the headphones, enabling them to transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. In their speaker form, the headphones also look like a cool little sculpture, something you can place in your room, and are sure to be asked questions about! The headphones come amped with an accessible dial that allows you to control the volume, and change the songs, by lightly adjusting the dial. The dial also works perfectly when Helix is in its speaker form.

Crafted from a mixture of rough concrete and wood, Hevi is a 360-degree modular speaker, with a warm and rustic aesthetic. With a glossy plastic plate stuck right in the middle of it, a surreal modern contrast is created to the otherwise homely materials, which are wood and concrete. What makes Hevi even more interesting is that it dissociates into two speakers! The top portion of Hevi consists of a mid-high frequency speaker, whereas the lower portion is a mid-low frequency speaker. The two can be detached, allowing you to carry either of the speakers wherever you wish. The compact upper speaker is, of course, the more portable option, something you could even carry for your outdoor adventures! When combined, both the speakers create a resounding high-quality sound.

Portable speakers don’t usually have intriguing aesthetics, so Seda was created with the intention of blending both visuals and technology to make it stand out. Its physical form radiates a zen feeling while also having a multifunctional appeal. Seda isn’t just smart, it was made to be intelligent. Seda has a pen holder in the center which also acts as a small space organizer. It features an embedded light bar in its external body which works as a desk light and it also has a dim ambient light – to be honest, this speaker is more lit than the playlist I made for it. It almost looks like an accent interior piece for your home than a portable speaker.

Boasting 360 degrees 3D sound, the BALMUDA Portable Speaker upgrades and amplifies your audio quality! It’s a compact and portable speaker that you can easily carry with you wherever you go. It also provides you with hours of usage, so you don’t have to worry about the speaker dying off, midway through your favorite song! BALMUDA’s unique design enables the sound to travel upwards, rather than horizontally, so it doesn’t matter where you place the speaker, you’ll be able to hear your favorite tunes clearly from any angle or spot.  The 77 m full range speaker emits clear and distortion-free audio, even in large spaces!

With a retro name and a personality to match, the Xiaomi Elvis Atomic is adorably small and is styled to look like a miniature memento or trophy, rather than a Bluetooth speaker. Its design pulls inspiration from the turntable and looks like it belongs somewhere in Fallout 76, according to Mike Chua. The tiny yet powerful speaker comes in military olive green and has a speaker grille where vinyl would be. Armed with a simple on/off switch, a knob for volume control, and 7 hours of playback, this CES Innovation Award winner is cute, capable, and memorable all wrapped into one package!

This steampunk radio, speaker and clock comes with a display made from real nixie tubes!

Didn’t you get the memo? Retro is in! WandaVision takes us through the 50s, major artists like the Weeknd, Dua Lipa, and Silk Sonic are reintroducing us to the sounds of the 80s, and we’re having a deja-vu moment with Cyberpunk, a sci-fi cult movement that was popularized in the 70s! Riding on that retro-wave is Retio, an all-in-one retro radio, Bluetooth speaker, and clock that comes with a simple, sophisticated, steampunk-inspired design. Handcrafted in California, the Retio comes with a Walnut wood body surrounded by a brass accent, a fabric frontal clad, beautifully knurled brass knobs, and the Retio’s pièce de résistance, a display crafted from four genuine vintage Nixie tubes!

A portmanteau of the words Retro and Radio, Retio focuses on the sheer beauty of artifacts from the decades gone by. It harks back to a simpler time, but showcases the incredibly complex 70-year old nixie-tube technology that remains equally captivating even today. The tubes are genuine vintages, having been built more than 30 years ago but preserved in mint condition. You see, nixie tubes today are incredibly hard to find, given that nobody mass-produces them anymore… especially since they’re incredibly difficult to manufacture and require a highly skilled hand. However, this obsolete technology makes the nixie tubes a perfect bookmark of an era gone by, and the Retio showcases them in true retro glory.

The nixie tubes sit proudly within the Retio’s simple wooden box design, capped with a brass accent and clad with a fabric front to give it the appearance of an old-time radio. Beautifully knurled knobs on the front of the device let you control the radio’s frequency and volume, while also letting you switch between using the Retio as a radio, a Bluetooth speaker, or a clock… an experience that’s made complete by how the nixie tubes respond to the controls, as the layered numbers glow and change as you turn the knobs. Its vintage appearance, however, doesn’t mean an old dog can’t learn new tricks! The Retio works as a Bluetooth speaker too, allowing you to alternate between listening to radio stations and Spotify playlists or even your favorite podcasts. The speaker supports both 3.5mm aux inputs (in case you want to connect your turntable to it) and is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 for your wireless devices. A powerful 10W Class-D amplifier on the inside allows the Retio to pack an absolute punch, rivaling similar-sized speakers from Harman Kardon or JBL. When you’re done, a simple knob-flip lets you switch back to clock mode, which is adjustable between 12hr and 24hr time displays. The clock even includes an alarm function, with as many as 3 melodious alarm sounds to choose from. The upper surface of the wooden panel acts as a capacitive touch surface, allowing you to switch off the alarm and even play-pause your music.

The Retio’s highlight, however, remains its limited-edition nixie tubes (no, they’re not non-fungible), collected over the years by its makers who are bonafide nixie enthusiasts. The tubes, made in the 80s and 90s (you can even see their year of manufacture on them) and have a life span of anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 hours, guaranteeing you well past a lifetime’s worth of use. The tubes are powered by a ridiculously small HV Board (the smallest ever developed for nixie tubes) that supplies them with the 170V they need to function. Each Retio is also outfitted with a 6800mAh battery on the inside that can easily be charged via a 5V USB (most commonly found on power banks and laptops) and give the Retio a glorious 6 hours of usage on a full charge. And no, the Retio doesn’t come with a voice assistant, although who’s to say what tech becomes vintage in the next 30 years??

Designer: Gonglue Jiang

Click Here to Buy Now: $299 $399 ($100 off). Hurry, only 7/1450 left! Raised over $670,000.

Retio – Handcrafted Retro Radio Speaker with Nixie Tubes

Retio is an all-in-one retro radio, Bluetooth speaker, and clock. It uses Nixie tubes to display time and radio frequencies.

Retio is portable, with a 6800mAh battery that supports 6 hours of playback and clock time. Each unit is handcrafted using American black walnut, 360 brass, and vintage Nixie tubes.

Genuine Nixie Tubes

The last Nixie tubes were made in the early ‘90s when the technology was replaced by lower-cost alternatives such as LED. As Nixie tubes enthusiasts, the team has collected them over the years from various sources to use in Retio – the tubes in the Retio are genuine vintage stock.

Today’s Nixie tube stock availability is very limited, and the price goes up almost month by month as more people are realizing the beauty of their vintage glow. Use of these rare components makes Retio one of the most unique speakers in the market.

Radio Mode

You can choose between FM/AM or FM/DAB+.

Maybe you thought radio stations no longer exist nowadays, but they haven’t gone anywhere. When you turn on your Retio, the nostalgic feelings will come rushing back in seconds. Radio is different from how we enjoy music now. You don’t know what’s coming, and you can’t go back either – kind of like our lives. Every moment is unique and irreversible.

Speaker Mode

Retio’s speaker has amazing highs, crystal-clear mid ranges, and deep powerful bass. It’s equipped with a state-of-the-art 10W Class-D amplifier to deliver the most powerful sound you’ll ever get out of a speaker its size (the sound quality is comparable to Harman Kardon/JBL models with similar sizes).

The sound is finely tuned using advanced DSP, which allows for a more balanced and comfortable listening experience. With Qualcomm® aptX™ audio technology, Retio has hi-res wireless audio quality with Bluetooth 5.0. Retio is specially tuned for listening to retro-style music – you will be amazed every time, from the first beat.

Speaker test video (Recorded with non-professional recorder).

Clock Mode

Retio acts as a clock in silence and in speaker mode. Retio can display your choice of 24hr military time or 12hr standard time and the clock also includes an alarm function. Awaken to melodious sounds with your premium speaker, embedded with several of the best soundtracks with beautiful tones, tempos, and frequencies to wake you up.

Additional Features

Retio has six backlight colors to echo the different moods of the night.

A gentle tap on the top enables music pause/resume and alarm control.

Made To Last

Each Retio unit is handcrafted with love in the San Francisco Bay Area, using American black walnut, 360 brass, and genuine vintage Nixie tubes. The best part of a handcrafted product is that every unit is unique. Just as each cut of walnut has a different grain and pattern that sets it apart from the others, so too do their Nixie tubes – each was handmade more than 30 years ago, and varies from the next in its shape and glow.

Walnut is hand picked with FAS grading, FSC® certified. The wood case is CNC cut and hand-sanded, with Titebond3 glue and Osmo finishes. Each piece of wood is grain matched (the wood grain flows from one side to the next). They meticulously arrange the wood so the grain flows seamlessly from one side to the next, wraps around the Nixie tubes.


Click Here to Buy Now: $299 $399 ($100 off). Hurry, only 7/1450 left! Raised over $670,000.