Imagine there was some kind of speaker that could simultaneously double as an elegant centerpiece on your dinner table or fireplace mantle – what form would it take? A globed, crystalline paperweight with tiny inlets for projecting sound, or a graceful hourglass with drivers tastefully tucked away? Determined to create a speaker that could maintain a charge wirelessly and tastefully fit in alongside a sophisticated meal, Italian engineers settled on the candle. As a result, Gianluca Gamba has harnessed the power of combustion to create the Pelty, a unique kind of Bluetooth speaker that uses the thermal energy of a single candle’s flame to amplify music.
Gamba is currently looking to secure $100,000 in funding via an Indiegogo campaign.
The Pelty gets its namesake from a phenomenon – the “Peltier effect” – discovered in the 1830s by French physicist Jean-Charles-Athanase Peltier, which states that energy passing through two metals generates a difference in heat, which in turn generates electricity. The Pelty’s thermoelectric generator creates enough energy to continuously power an efficient amplifier, which in turn drivers a small 3-inch speaker once its candle is up and burning. The product’s Indiegogo page explains that just about any candle will work with the Pelty, though the device will ship with instructions on what size to pick and how to place it in the speaker. Gamba has avoided plastic and metal, instead favoring ceramic, glass, and wood – all Italian-sourced – for the device. Ceramic, in particular, resists heat well and has desirable insulation and acoustic properties.
The speaker contains a full-range, 3-inch driver with a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms and a 12-watt (RMS) amplifier. Because the $200 “Super Early-bird” offering is gone at this stage, you’ll have to shell out at least $265 to secure your own candlelight speaker. Currently there are a few sub-$300 options for a black-and-white and colored version of the speaker – $400 will nab you a personalized Pelty with an engraved name or sentence, while $700 gets you a golden candle-speaker. The next option is the $9,500 “Committed reseller support” for retailers looking to stock up on the device.
We’ve encountered this form of energy conversion before with the BioLite CampStove, another nifty gadget that converts waste heat into usable electricity via a thermoelectric generator, making device-charging a breeze during a weekend in the woods. Clearly, fire-power is still relevant today.