Using earphones to listen to music while on the move can make long-haul journeys seem a whole lot shorter and enjoyable, but there are times when you want to share your tunes with others. While there are numerous house-bound docking solutions available, music lovers on the road need something mobile that's able to keep its own batteries topped up or that doesn't require any batteries at all. The iBamboo speaker from designer Anatoliy Omelchenko of Triangle Tree is said to use the natural acoustic resonance of bamboo to deliver a power-free boost to the audio coming from the built-in speaker of a docked iPhone 4.
If solar-powered iPhone docking stations like Eton's Soulra sound system are not quite environmentally-friendly enough for your portable audio needs, then you're likely looking for a no-power audio booster like the foldable Tembo Trunks or the Koostik wooden dock. Taking such eco-friendliness a step further, the iBamboo speaker is made from what is widely recognized as one of the greenest materials you can use - bamboo.
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According to the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, bamboo produces more oxygen than an equivalent spread of trees and has been used as both Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine for centuries. It's one of the fastest growing plants, is stronger than some plastics and metals, and the shoots make a very tasty (and healthy) treat, too.
The iBamboo speaker is essentially a foot-long piece of bamboo that's laser cut, machined and then finished by hand. Omelchenko says that no two pieces will be exactly alike, and claims that the unique properties of the material serve to improve the quality and ramp up the volume of the audio resonating through it, from the speaker of a docked iPhone 4.
The iBamboo speaker will be available shortly, is priced at US$25 and comes shipped with its own canvas drawstring protective holder. Production is currently estimated at the best part of 30 to 40 days before an order is ready to be sent out.
As you can see and hear from the following sound test, the iBamboo is not going to compete with the sound quality offered by B&W's Zeppelin, but it does seem to add some richness and volume to the audio.