In the latest edition of "crowdfunding campaign: cool or crap?" comes Sound Heroes, a Bluetooth speaker in the shape of a humanoid robot. Apparently there are plenty who would place this one in the "cool" camp as the campaign reached its goal in only four minutes.
The Sound Heroes speaker from Kalium Labs is more than just a run-of-the-mill Bluetooth speaker. Aside from its futuristic form factor, it also features a wireless charging dock, a Wi-Fi range extender and a multi-color LED lamp. Oh, did we mention it also has an in-built smoke machine. Yes … a smoke machine.
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Don't ask why, ask why not?
The Bluetooth speaker market is a crowded one, so it takes something different to stand out. We've seen tennis ball speakers, levitating speakers, even LED light bulbs that double as speakers, and while the Sound Heroes robot isn't the weirdest, it is certainly one of the nerdiest.
In a supreme case of making the merchandise before the media, the company behind the product is planning on turning the robot character, named AD'OM, into a fully fledged multimedia creation with associated comic books and video games.
But don't hold your breath on that video game coming anytime soon. The creation of the game is one of the crowdfunding campaign's insane stretch goals that will only be unlocked if it reaches the $US5 million mark.
The other stretch goal, unlocked at $1 million, is a human-sized version of the robot. It might be a slightly more realistic stretch goal, but we're not entirely sure how big the market is for life-sized robot speakers with built-in smoke machines. Of course, we're living in a world where fidget spinners are the biggest selling toy around so stranger things have happened.
Available in eleven different colors, the speaker comes in two sizes: the Prime weighing in at 6.6 lb (3 kg) and rising to a height of 17.7 in (45 cm) that has a maximum output of 20 W, and the Premium that weighs 12.1 lb (5.5 kg), stands 28.3 in (72 cm) tall and pumps out up to 60 W. The Premium is the only model with the wireless charger and Wi-Fi range extender and it also has a built in subwoofer.
The Sound Hero is also portable, with a lithium-ion battery providing up to six hours of use in the Prime or eight hours in the Premium with sound, smoke and lights all activated. Both sizes also offer two USB ports and one MicroUSB for recharging devices via a cable, as well as an SD card slot and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
Both models also have the ability to function as surround sound speakers, so if you're so inclined you can buy up to 12 of them to create a full robot army sound system.
As with most crowdfunding campaigns like this, it is definitely a case of buyer beware, but if you think the Sound Hero would perfectly match your decor, you can snag a small one for $100 or a large one for $240. Shipping is slated for October (if all goes to plan), so you can start planning the robot raves now.
Take a look at AD'OM in the video below. Warning: This video contains a serious dubstep soundtrack and over-enthusiastic voice-over narration.