Friday, May 1, 2015

Levitating Speaker - A Bluetooth Death Star

A new product created by a team in Oakland, California, takes audiophiles into new territory by delivering a speaker that levitates. Using the now well-known idea of magnetic levitation, the speaker floats about an inch off its base, allowing the user to spin it around in mid-air while listening to the audio.

After we had a chance to test the Bluetooth speaker out in person, we can confirm that the product does indeed work as described.

The Om/One device also contains a microphone, allowing the levitating orb to take calls, too. On its surface, which looks something like cross between the Death Star and a soccer ball, is a hidden sensor that allows you to turn the device on and off as well as pair it with your audio source, such as a smartphone.

OK, so it looks cool. But aside from the novelty factor, why would you need a levitating speaker?
The fact that it levitates gives us an angle on some audio techniques that make the speaker a lot better. The unit has a 3-watt RMS amplifier inside of it, and it can produce a 110dB output, where competitive products like the Jambox or the Beats... they're using 9 to 10 watts to get 110dB, Because the speaker is levitating it's not syncing to any kind of surface, so it doesn't have any kind of low-end loss … it's all coming through the driver, which means we can get more audio output with less amplifier power.

While putting the device through its paces, we snatched it off its magnetic perch to see how it might feel as a portable speaker unit. It's a little on the heavy side, but not so much that carrying it around in a bag would be particularly noticeable.

The only hiccup came when replacing the speaker back on its levitation stand; that took a bit a practice. Nevertheless, the Om/One will almost certainly snag the interest of music lovers who want to add a bit of futuristic spice to their setups.

The device is scheduled to go on sale in December for $179 and can be preordered on Om-One