Clio, a nearly invisible speaker, nixes cones to deliver sound with a curved glass sheet

Ever since décor was a matter of importance, the loudspeaker has been put through the wringer of reinvention over and again in an effort to make it look less like a speaker and more like … well, just about anything else. Take the Empire Grenadier, for instance — is it a speaker or an end table? Who knows?! Now, a company called Clearview Audio is taking the idea of camouflaging speakers to a whole new level with the Clio — a speaker that is nearly invisible.

Clio doesn’t kick out sound via cones like today’s average speaker — instead, it relies on a curved acrylic glass sheet that, with vibrations controlled by actuators in Clio’s base, acts as a transducer and is responsible for delivering highs and mids. The actuators create piston-like motion on both sides of the sheet, allowing the dipole transducer to produce sound in both directions. These modifications (which Clearview appears to have collectively copyrighted under the “Edge Motion” moniker) make Clio capable of moving air just like a regular driver. Bass is covered by the subwoofer also located in the foundation of the device.

We haven’t heard the speaker yet, but we hope to sometime soon. Still, we can’t help but think that form may have trumped function here. And really, what good is not seeing the speaker if you don’t really want to hear it? That said, this puppy is certainly eye-catching. The images in this gallery demonstrate how Clio acts as a chameleon and is hardly noticeable in home settings.

As we’ve come to expect from high-end speakers, Clio is Bluetooth-enabled (wires would be an injustice to such a gorgeous piece of hardware), making it a truly standalone beauty. This gadget, out of the near future, will be available at $350 in either Silver, Bronze or Charcoal.

Does it strike your fancy?