Floating speaker shows sound waves as it plays

Concept device stimulates the auditory and visual senses

Check out Giorgio Bonaguro and Juan Soriano Blanco’s new audio techno-gadget: the Virtruvio speaker.

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Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing, the spherical speaker features a unique design which allows the user to see the actual sound waves of the music as it’s being played.

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Made of a cubic wooden box, rubber wires in each of the eight corners suspend the speaker in the center. The wires are attached along the diagonals, meaning the speaker — made of either metal or ceramic — gets bounced around by the force of the sound waves generated by the music, thereby giving the user the ability to actually see the sound.

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Virtruvio comes with an auxiliary in-feed, so just about all devices on the market can wire up to it. Right now, though, the speaker’s still in its concept stages, so it won’t be on the market any time soon. Those in the NYC area can check it out later this month at Wanted Design’s Launch Pad.

It’s a cool concept, and certainly a better presentation of sound waves than corn starch vibrating at 30 Hz:

Remote control brake keeps young cyclists safe when biking near busy streets

Nifty gadget is easy to add on to the rear tire of bike

If you’re a parent of a young cyclist, then you’ve probably had – at the very least – half a million heart attacks while watching them ride in the street. To ease the parent’s trouble mind, a group of investors have developed a pretty cool, unique way to control the little biker: a remote-control bike brake.

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Referred to as the “MiniBrake”, this smart little gadget is fitted to the rear of the bike’s frame right above the tire. Its remote control has a range of just a little over 160 feet and when a parent becomes worried that their two-wheeling tot is going too fast or coming too close to an intersection, they simply push the remote control’s button and the MiniBrake clamps down on the tire.

Now while one might envision this brake causing the child to come to a screeching hault, whereupon they’re flipped head over the handlebars, the stopping motion happens over a distance of about 20 inches, so it’s fairly gentle, and gives the rider a chance to put his / her feet on the ground.

Worth noting: if MiniBrake detects the bike is broken or has a flat tire, the brake automatically applies till it gets fixed.

The device’s battery has a couple hours of charge to it, and shuts off when not in use; LEDs indicate how much charge is left, letting the user know when it needs a boost-up.

Right now, the device is on Indiegogo trying to secure funds to go into production. Being the supporters of all things cycling-related, we encourage you to check it out.

Briefcase scooter makes commuting to work a breeze

Electric cycle-esque scooter also holds on to all of your important work documents

If you live in any sort of over-crowded metropolitan area, commuting can be a real drag, especially when you have to try and make it through crowds while carrying a bag or suitcase of all your important work documents.

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The new Commute-Case from Green Energy Motors tries to solve both problems. It’s a suit case, sure, but it’s also a scooter.

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The Commute-Case is powered by a lithium-ion battery that takes about an hour to charge, but once it’s all juiced up, it can run you a solid 25 miles. That kind of technology’s not light, though. Weighing it at a somewhat hefty 27 pounds, the Commute-Case is a bit heavier than your typical suitcase. But if you’re packing on weight from the muscle you’re gaining while carrying this contraption around, you needn’t worry if the case can still carry you – it can actually support a weight of 275 pounds, while still achieving top speeds of about 13mph.

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It might seem like the kind of technology that’s still a few years away from being available to the average owner, but believe it or not, the Commute-Case is already available on the company’s website for just under $3,000.

If you’re like me and can’t afford something like this, then take in all of its glorious technological wonders in the preview clip below, while you’re waiting for your bus to come pick you up:

New app will prevent distracted users from getting hit by a car, eaten by a dinosaur, etc.

Safety app will use audio intelligence software to protect users

Look — we want you to enjoy our Bluetooth portable speakers, but we don’t want you to get so distracted by all of their audio awesomeness, or so involved in the music thumping in your headphones, that you wind up getting hurt.

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That’s why we’re big proponents of the new app that the folks over at One Llama are working on. It’s called “Audio Aware” and in layman’s terms, the program uses audio intelligence software to listen to the world around its user for specific sounds that they might want to be aware of.

Some examples include screeching tires, car horns, screaming voices, roaring dinosaurs, and so on. When a sound matches, the app lets the user know:

When a sufficient match, such as a car horn, is detected, it will cancel any audio you’re hearing and pipe in an amplified version of the sound it’s picking up, or perhaps a cartoon-like version of that sound that is easier to recognize.

Unfortunately, the app only works with headphones and portable speakers that have One Llama technology baked into it. That being the case, people with poor hearing or hearing loss stand to benefit from downloading it in the immediate future. But the company is actively working with developers to expand the app’s capabilities to better “listen” to the world around us using standard audio equipment, so that we can all continue safely listening to our music on our favorite devices.

Play music with these gloves — no instruments required!

Student research project comes up with hands on, instruments off idea for music creation

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Cornell engineering student Ray Li came up with the pretty nifty looking gloves you see above. Referred to as the “Aura”, the hand warmers are actually wearable, electronic musical instruments. To play them, the user slips the sensor-equipped gloves on and moves them through a magnetic field. The movement itself is tracked and the hand positions are converted into MIDI signals (electronic instrument language), which are then fed into a synthesizer.

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Pitch is controlled by the user raising or lowering their hands. Spreading them apart increases volume, while closing one’s fingers muffles the sound. When the user twists his or her hands, the sound gets distorted.

Oh, and since different hand positions can be assigned to trigger various sounds in the MIDI catalogue, there’s the potential to create some pretty unique new musical compositions, as Li demonstrates in the video below.

“The goal was to create the most intuitive instrument,” Li said. “We’re trying to capture those intuitive gestures and make music.”