Bose release new build-it-yourself Bluetooth speaker for kids

Bose have released their new Speaker Cube, a kid-friendly speaker that children build themselves step-by-step.

Speaker Cube is the first in Bose’s new BOSEbuild range, which will offer a variety of easily assembled products that aim to get kids thinking about science, technology, engineering, and math whilst also teaching them about how everyday products that we take for granted work.

The cube shaped (you don’t say) speaker comes unassembled which the child, or adult it doesn’t seem age inclusive, then constructs using a companion app (unfortunately only available on iOS). The app gives step-by-step instructions for its construction as well as extra features that show you how speakers work – in terms that kids can understand.

children speaker bluetooth Bose DIY

The Speaker Cube teaches kids about the essentials behind how speakers work to reproduce music, how electromagnets function and are used in a speaker. Bose hope to inspire a new generation of children to get interested in science and engineering with a product that is modern and intriguing that also requires their active participation in the process of.

Once it’s constructed you can connect to the speaker via Bluetooth on Smartphones, Tablets and Bluetooth enabled PCs and laptops. The speaker can change colour and you can use it to stream music like other Bluetooth speakers but with the satisfaction that you, or your child, put it together themselves and learned some valuable skills in the process.

You can purchase your own BOSEbuild Speaker Cube now for $149 from the BUILDbose website.

Sonos have added lock-screen controls to iOS… at last!

No more swiping, searching, and app opening just to skip a track on your Sonos, now you can do it straight from the lock-screen.

It was one of the Sonos’, most begrudged features, that when streaming to it from iOS devices you had to open your device up and go to the Sonos app each time you wanted to control the wireless music streaming speakers. Now iOS users can join Android users in streaming simplicity by accessing Sonos controls from the lockscreen of their iOS device.

The feature has been added in an update to their Sonos Controller app for iPhone and iPads. Android have been able to use this feature on Sonos’ app for a while now but as can often be the case, thanks to their different frameworks, iOS users have had to wait until now.

The update also brings some 3D touch functions for compatible iOS devices. You can also now access the Sonos Controller app in Split View and Slide Over views so that you can control Sonos whilst using other compatible apps.

If you don’t have a Sonos speaker you can get one here. If you have a Sonos speaker but don’t have the new iOS app you can get it here. If you have a Sonos speaker, don’t have the app and instead use Android you can get the app here. If you don’t have a… oh nope, that’s everything.

Incipio offer Skullcandy headphones $177 million in a buyout

Incipio, provider of mobile accessories, are looking to purchase Skullcandy to add their expansive range of head/earphones into their stock.

Incipio LLC will pay $5.75 a share for a total of $177 million to buy Skullcandy. The company announced they’ve given Skullcandy a month to find a better deal, after which assuming that they haven’t found one they will be integrated into Incipio’s stock of mobile accessories.

Incipio have been expanding their products through over companies since last year when they bought Incase, backpack, and laptop and phone case manufacturers. They also bought iPad case manufacturers ClamCase.

SkullCandy’s purchase is undoubtedly the biggest one for Incipio however as it represents the biggest branching out from accessories to audio products. Skullcandy’s headphones have earned a strong legacy since being founded 13 years ago however in recent years have been losing revenue and stock prices.

With Incipio’s purchase the pressure will be off Skullcandy to raise themselves back up to the popular audio phone manufacturer they once were and will allow Incipio to enter a new market and potentially innovate.

An Incipio rep told The Verge that the Skullcandy brand would be retained, assumably becoming a sub-branch of their company. The headphones will retain the elements that have made them popular, like their rough-and-ready design made to survive stress and abuse. You can expect to see Skullcandy expanding, but not losing their core.

Doppler Labs’ amazing earbuds are back, and streaming music now

Doppler Labs broke new ground with their Here-buds that let you control the sound of the world, now their new version is even better.

We covered Doppler Labs when they first started shipping their revolutionary earbuds earlier this year. Their ‘Here’ earbuds gave you unparalleled control over the way you hear, letting you cut frequencies out, reduce ambient noise, and basically totally manipulate the way you hear the world around you to your desires.

Doppler Labs are back with the Here One that can now stream music from your phone whilst giving you even more power over the sounds around you. Audio streaming was surprisingly omitted from their first iteration of earbuds, focussing entirely on sound control and perfecting their revolutionary technology. Now that they’ve successfully created and launched their sound augmentation technology they can bring music into the mix, making the Here One a much more desirable product.

Doppler Labs earbuds adaptive filtering music streaming listening audio

You can use music streaming apps or your phone’s local music library with Here Now via a Bluetooth connection. When listening to music you still have complete control over the Here app so that you can decide what, if anything, you want to hear around you as you groove to the music.

Here One doesn’t just add music options, it also improves upon the power of the original Here earbuds. Each earbud now features multiple multi-core processors, as opposed to the single processor in the original, to enhance the power, quality, and control of the sound. Multiple microphones, that pick up and monitor the sound you hear, have been added as well.

With the extra power the Here One earbuds can now optimise their native settings to your ears rather than a default starting point for everyone. So if your ears aren’t great at picking up high frequencies the earbuds can help you tune their output so that the sound takes that into consideration.

hearing Doppler Labs audio music streaming intuitive listening adaptive frequencies sound filtering

Another new feature is ‘adaptive filtering’ which aims to block out sounds in real time. Whereas before you controlled everything yourself through the app, blocking out certain frequencies or turning the volume down on certain noises, the app will adapt to the sounds around you and isolate the ones it detects and assumes you don’t want to hear. Doppler Labs give the example of a siren.

Doppler Labs CEO, Noah Kraft said: “Before your ears can recognise the siren, so faster than your own brain, it can recognise the siren and reduce that without adulterating the human speech.” Kraft doesn’t say how the technology will decide which noises to isolate and which not to but we can assume, given how intuitive their overall technology is, that it will be pretty intelligent.

earbuds adaptive listening filtering

The improvements to the Here’s audio filtering are brilliant but the ability to stream music is the most important new feature. The original Heres were a fantastic piece of ingenuity but didn’t hold much widespread appeal, with the ability to work as earphones would whilst retaining and even improving upon it’s primary focus the Here Nows could be Doppler Labs mainstream breakout.

You can preorder the Here One for $299, which is expected to start shipping out in November this year.

This tiny device turns any headphones into surround sound

With a simple app and Bluetooth device Waves Nx can turn your headphones, no matter how cheap or crappy, into 3D sound using motion sensors.

Waves Nx can turn your old headphones into a portable source of 3D sound that sounds just like being in the middle of a surround sound system. All it requires is an application for desktop or smartphones which connects to a small bluetooth device to track your movements, and control the sound.

The Nx Head Tracker clips onto your headphones and tracks your heads movement so that it can adjust the position of it’s 3D sound emulation based on your position. You don’t even need the device, as you can also use a computer camera to track your head movement in all directions – though that’s not as convenient.

Waves Audio, developers of the Nx, claim that using their app “you can hear true 5.1 and 7.1 surround on your regular stereo headphones”. In case that wasn’t impressive enough, your sound will be transformed into surround sound even if your source audio wasn’t mixed for it. It’s not just for music either, you can use it for an intense movie experience, or to breathe new life into your video games.

3D audio surround sound headphones

Waves talk a bit about how it works on their Kickstarter, saying:

The perception of spatial three-dimensional sound in the real world is a rich and complex phenomenon. It combines the interactions between the acoustic sound waves and the room or space we’re in; the interaction of the soundwaves with our head and ears; and finally the way our brain interprets these acoustic interactions.

The perception of sound over regular stereo headphones is a completely different- and much more limited – experience. Here are a few crucial differences:

“Crosstalk”  between your left and right ears

When you listen on headphones, left and right are completely separated. Whatever comes out of the left side of your headphones, you hear only through your left ear. Whatever comes out of the right side, you hear only through your right ear.

But that’s not the way you hear sound in the real world. In the real world, you hear everything through both ears – with a little time delay between them. This helps your brain construct a three-dimensional acoustic image of the space around you.

Reflected Soundwaves

In the real world, the direct sound coming from the audio source is not the only thing you hear. You hear both the direct sound and the ambient sound reflected from the walls and the other physical objects around you. Your brain uses information about the different volume levels, times of arrival, and directions of these reflected soundwaves in order to construct a three-dimensional acoustic image of the space you’re in.

On headphones, none of this happens. You only hear the direct sound sent straight into your ear, and there is no indication of how it interacts with the three-dimensional environment around you.

Why Head Movement Matters

In the real world, even the slightest nudge to your head causes the complete audio scene to change, because the external world is not moving with your head. Your brain, being sensitive to change, remembers where the sound used to be and where it is now, combines this with its knowledge that your head (and not the source) has moved, and uses all this info to locate the source of the sound in your three-dimensional environment.

When we listen on headphones, the audio scene constantly moves with the head, again causing the experience of sound to be less realistic, less immersive, less three-dimensional.

You can find out more, support Waves, and nab your own pair of Nx’s (estimated delivery September) from their Kickstarter page.