Akoustic Arts « A » speaker is like a tightly focused spotlight for sound

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What’s the last time some new technology really had you saying, “wow?” CES this year brought us more than a few opportunities to be really impressed by some new gear, like with seeing how easily the HTC Vive managed to transport us to virtual new worlds. One surprising device that managed to really grab our attention on the busy show floor was a directional speaker from Akoustic Arts, one that used an array of ultrasonic emitters to create a tightly focused beam of sound – one step to the side, and you hear nothing, but for users in just the right spot, everything sounds clear as day. Now Akoustic Arts is ready to take its directional speaker tech commercial, as it launches a crowdfunding project.

Just like we saw at CES, the Akoustic Arts « A » speaker gives users the ability to control who gets to hear what, based on how the speaker’s invisible sound beam is aimed: you can set it up so that one person on the couch can hear the TV, while everyone else in the room can carry on a conversation undisturbed, or use a pair to let two users enjoy separate content without the need to rely on headphones.

Akoustic Arts is introducing its speaker in two sizes: an 8-inch-square original model, and a more petite 3.5-inch-square “junior” edition. Pricing will vary based on what wave of perks you claim, but right now you can snag one for $510 or $290, respectively. While the smaller version works the same as its big brother, it has both a narrower beam of sound and lower max volume.

While the tech itself is pretty darn impressive, there are a couple little issues that might have users holding back for a future model. The big one is wires, and these first-gen « A » speakers use a wired 3.5-inch connector to get their audio input. Akoustic Arts indicates that it’s working on a fully wireless version (presumably with Bluetooth), but that won’t be here until 2017 at the earliest. There is the possibility for WiFi support as a stretch goal for this year’s model, but we have no details yet on exactly how that might work.

Source: Akoustic Arts (Indiegogo)

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!