Headphones are increasingly becoming a bigger part of our lives, but there are times when even wireless headphones can be restrictive. On the other hand, you might not always want everyone around you to hear what you’re listening to. Akoustic Arts’ new A speaker aims to offer a revolutionary new way to listen, and it’s currently blowing up on Indiegogo.
The A is advertised as a directional speaker, claiming to fire a tight, directional beam of sound at your ears like a laser beam. The idea is, you could use the speaker in a room to beam sound directly to your ears without anyone else in the room having to share what you’re rocking out to.
Unlike standard speakers, which use multiple hardware configurations to generate sound waves as their drivers make contact with the air, the A uses ultrasonic technology that claims to actually create the sound in the air that it passes through, resulting in sound that can only be heard along a very specific path. Akoustic Arts claims this allows the A to act like a spotlight, making the sound it creates subject to similar physical limitations — e.g., the sound beam won’t pass through solid objects.
There are two different models of the A speaker available on Akoustic Arts’ crowdfund page, allowing you to select a speaker that meets your needs, as well as your budget. The Junior model is 3.5 inches square, while the Original is 8 inches square. The Junior can be had for $350, while the Original sells for $550 — Early Bird stock has already been sold out, but Akoustic Arts says that backers will still be paying less than retail price. A limited edition black model of the Original is also available for $580, and a package of two Original speakers claimed to be boosted with a “high quality stereo effect” is available for $1,190. Two accessories — a stand and a wall mount — are also available for $50 apiece.
Either speaker uses the same core, which allows the user to plug in up to two smartphones or other devices in order to provide the audio source. Unfortunately, while we’d expect virtually any speaker in this price range to offer a wireless listening option via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, the A currently allow for old-school connection only.
Akoustic Arts had a relatively modest goal for the A, initially aiming for $30,000. The Indiegogo campaign has rocketed past that, reaching over $180,000 at the time of this writing. The campaign doesn’t come to an end until April 17, so there is still time to back the project. For more information, see the Indiegogo campaign page.