Mobile music lovers are already pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, but Indiana's Flato believes its Mini-O brings something new to the party. The pocket-friendly squashed donut is claimed to match the output of speakers three times its size, thanks to patented flat magnetic speaker technology.
Two University of Notre Dame undergrads – Peter Moeckel and Brian Youngil Cho – have embarked on a mission to bring flat magnetic speaker technology from Korea to the US through a Kickstarter campaign. They've partnered with HMLink, the patent owner and original manufacturer of the technology that, Youngil Cho told us, " alters the shape and position of magnets inside the speaker."
Instead of bulking out a speaker with a cone-shaped structure, the Mini-O essentially radiates sound by transforming horizontal vibrations into vertical ones at a plate diaphragm. The flat design is said to result in equal dispersion, which leads to high quality sound output, while also allowing for unit size and weight reductions.
Despite dimensions of 2.16 x 4.25 x 0.6 in (55 x 108 x 15 mm) and a weight of just 2.4 oz (68 g), the Mini-O portable speaker is said to be capable of 6 W output, or 2 x 3 W to be precise, which isn't going to win any audiophile fans, but should be powerful enough for background music at the pool or beach.
Bluetooth 4.2 allows for pairing with source devices up to 30 ft (10 m) away, and its battery is reported good for up to 6 hours of medium volume playback for every hour on charge. The Mini-O also includes True Wireless Stereo technology, meaning two speakers can be wirelessly connected over Bluetooth yet paired to the same source device.
There are an awful lot of Bluetooth speakers already available, and doubtless many more to come. Without hearing the Mini-O for ourselves we can't verify any of the company's claims, but if you want to give flat magnetic speaker technology a whirl, Flato is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to complete development and begin production.
Pledges start at US$29 for a single speaker, or $55 for two. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in December. Have a look at the pitch video below.
Update (Dec. 6, 2017): The initial Kickstarter campaign failed to reach its goal, but the team has launched a new crowdfunding effort on indiegogo, which has exceeded its goal.
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