Project of the Day — Ellie Balk is using mathematics to connect high school students to the community by painting large-scale murals in East Williamsburg. You may remember their mural-sized visualization of Pi. This time around, it’s an exploration of sound as well — the project will be a reflective line graph representing the number. Then, to take it to the next level, they will collaborate with musicians and sound artists to “read” the visualization to create actual noise. The result is a Pi that is both visual and listenable! See the project: Visualize Pi Noise.
Touch Board, transforming touch into sound
The story of a patient Kickstarter backer and the project that was worth the wait.
A Year Later, or Why Sometimes Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
About a year and half ago I was in the market for a Bluetooth speaker and ran across this Kickstarter for the KNOB+…
The speaker design was simply nothing short of stunning and Raul, the creator, seemed dedicated to creating a product that really bucked the trend of poor sounding Bluetooth speakers. Plus, it only cost $120, which was about the price of a Jambox. The project still wasn’t set to deliver for 6-7 months, but I figured given the attention to detail that was being paid—it would be worth the wait.
Now, let me back up a bit. The KNOB+ was one of the first few tech Kickstarter projects I’d backed. It was funded a while before we started to see technology projects miss deadline after deadline (after deadline), so I really had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t deliver on time. There’s since been quite a bit of debate about delivery, and policy/product changes within Kickstarter itself, but that’s another discussion for another time.
February of last year came…but the KNOB+ did not. May rolled around…nothing. I think you get the point. I checked in on the project from time to time and came to find that Raul was running into all sorts of problems, not only with production of the units, but with the actual quality of sound that the speaker was producing. I found myself getting pretty frustrated about the late delivery after about 6 months, but after I was on the site one afternoon I had a revelation…
See, with all the press the Kickstarter has gotten the past couple years, I’d began to think that all these products (and campaigns) were created equal. Lots of these products and ideas were raising millions of dollars, getting crazy press and had teams of several people to help not only scale for demand, but handle the logistics of delivering on time. But this wasn’t a $10,000,000 Pebble campaign, or $950,000 Hidden Radio—this was one guy. One guy who raised less than $50k (seriously not a lot of money to launch a product as ambitious as his, handle the expense of flying back and forth to China for QA, product testing, etc.) and when put in that context, I actually felt pretty guilty about how angry I had gotten about a measly $120*
Well, fast forward to a few nights ago. I’m on my way home and my wife texts me that I have a package. I had put the KNOB+ pretty far out of my mind, but when I got home there it was…my package from Raul. My (now named) Croon Audio Original! A year late, but here.
SIDENOTE: I got my Hidden Radio a few months ago, and while it definitely LOOKS beautiful, it really feels like absolutely zero attention was paid to how the thing should actually sound. That being said, let’s just say my expectations were low.
I take it out of the box…just stunning. From the wooden feet to the acrylic enclosure, it screams attention to detail. But again, I figure I have another beautiful, but ultimately useless object to sit on the shelf of my office.
And then I fire it up.
To say the thing sounds amazing would be an understatement. My wife & I own a B&O Beolit 12 that we use every day, and while it doesn’t sound quite as full as the Play, the Croon has an incredible fullness and richness to it. The mids are full and the highs are crisp. The fit and finish are fantastic and the materials are gorgeous—and this all from a speaker that cost me $120 (Not one that costs $799 like the B&O)
Well it looks like I’ve rambled. I just wanted to do a quick write up about an awesome Kickstarter product that one dude brought to being. A guy and a dream, as it were. But I guess the whole point of me writing was this: It’s easy to get anxious, and even angry, about Kickstarter projects not delivering on time—but before you freak out, just remember that sometimes good things are worth the wait and quality should always trump “getting something fast”.
Anyways, thanks Raul. Thanks for following your dream and building such an awesome product.
If you’d like to get one for yourself, you can check it out here.
*Not that $120 is measly, but in the grand scheme of how much we spend on tech & gadgets, it really wasn’t that big a deal
A DIY electronics kit designed by two MIT undergrads, oneTesla transforms sound into artificial lightning.
Use simple tools and a soldering iron to construct the singing Tesla coil in a weekend, then connect a keyboard or computer to trigger two-foot-long musical sparks. This high voltage sound machine is our Project of the Day.
The merits of this compact sound system are perfectly clear, but the “Transparent Speaker” is more than just a pretty face.
The team just played the device for a crowd of audiophile critics and got a very positive response. The Sweden-based designers are currently seeking funding for an initial production run, reaching 80% of their goal with another month left to go.
Nothing better than style and substance.
The sound of growing things.
The Switched-On Garden is an outdoor art experiment that merges technology and the natural world through live music and participatory installations.
The team behind this bio-interactive event successfully funded the project on Kickstarter and just uploaded an eight-part documentary of the strange and wondrous day in Bartram’s Garden.