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“A” Speaker Directs Sound at You Like a Beam of Light

When I was about a foot away from Akoustic Arts‘ A speaker at CES 2016, I could barely hear the music it was playing — and that was a good thing. After flying under the radar at CES 2015, this unconventional speaker caught our eyes (and barely our ears) this year, with technology that allows the speaker to focus its sound output in a very narrow beam.

When I was a foot away from that speaker, I was off to the side. But, when I walked a couple steps and got directly in front of the speaker, I could hear the audio clearly and loudly, with no one adjusting volume controls. That’s the awesome part about this speaker — you can crank up the volume without disturbing anyone else. It’s great for any night owls who don’t like headphones, but don’t want to wake anyone up in the dead of night with sound from speakers. In that case, I would usually just wear a pair of headphones around my neck and turn the volume up to max, but the A speaker is perhaps a more elegant solution.

It’s elegant in functionality and looks alike. The speaker itself is distinctive, with a honeycomb-style black grill surrounded by a white frame. It’s that grill that does the work of focusing the sound, taking audio from the much smaller audio core unit in the back. The speaker doesn’t get particularly loud and doesn’t have the frequency range of a lot of higher-end speakers, but it’s serviceable enough for anyone who wants something for late nights.

But, it’s not limited to night owls. Akoustic Arts has thought up of a few other pretty good uses for their speaker, and they sound feasible enough. Museums could use them to provide more information about an exhibit, abandoning the old pick-up and drop-off audio guides — same goes for stores that want to provide more information about products without disturbing the rest of the customers. In the home, the A speaker could be made to play an alarm that would only be heard by the person it’s been pointed at, even if a couple shares the same bed.

After showing off their initial speaker at CES 2015, Akoustic Arts is ready to hit the market. They’ll launch on Indiegogo this February, and if their speaker on display at this year’s show was any indication, they’re ready for production. They’ll be available in small and large sizes.

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