There are plenty of waterproof Bluetooth speakers with mics out there, but not many that are also lights. Add to that a snap-in holster with a cross-body carry strap, and the Core:Roam speaker, up on Kickstarter, makes for an intriguing take on the sporty genre. And with the ability to be transformed into a glowing circle of light on your chest, public opinion on the design probably overlaps with a love of Iron Man.
Zachary MacKaplan, inventor of the Core: Roam system must be one of the world’s most distracted runners. According to his Kickstarter, “a couple close brushes with death” while running made him decide to produce the Core. He wanted a speaker that he could use on his desk and carry with him to run, without it bouncing around. While coaching cross country he realized booming tunes could be as great a motivator as it is a safety measure.
Over time, he added features. Night time runs and rides need a light, for instance, especially when you’re on trails. And wouldn’t it be nice if it were waterproof? Of course, the holster needed a pocket for your phone and keys. Once your phone is in the pocket, you’ll need a mic to take calls.
Eventually the Core became more than just a speaker with a detachable strap. The barrel of features make the speaker super sporty, and extremely versatile. Even the strap itself is well designed: it’s magnetized to keep the extra length from flapping around.
The prototype Core charges via micro USB, but based on user feedback, MacKaplan anticipates a future Core using induction charging, eliminating the need for a port and making it even better at repelling water.
Right now, plans for the speaker are based around 3D-printed, hand-assembled prototypes. Yes, that means it can be done, but a few final details remain. The polymer battery still needs to be finalized, for instance, though the company is aiming for six to nine hours of run time. MacKaplan is frank about the campaign, saying the money raised will help the speaker “go from hand-crafted novelty construction to refined manufacturability.”
The funding goal for the Core was a mere $11,500, and it has already surpassed that number. It’s worth noting that most of that — $10,000 — was backed by one donor. Stretch goals include the ability to customize your Core’s colors on the order website at $100,000, and audio file storage inside the Core at $200,000.
At press time, the Core was still available for $90, with an expected retail price of $140. The campaign ends October 15, with delivery to backers slated for May 2016.