With so many Bluetooth speakers crowding the market, it's no surprise that companies have to think up of novel ways to drive attention to their products. Take the Om/One Bluetooth speaker, for example. It pretty much works like a lot of the other Bluetooth speakers for sale, but there's one thing that makes it stand out from the rest: It floats.
Nope, the Om/One isn't one of Criss Angel's magic tricks. It is simply a nifty piece of hardware that relies on an electromagnetic field to keep the sphere-shaped speaker floating in mid-air. The speaker with a 75mm audio driver has a base equipped with an electromagnet with its south pole facing up, while inside the speaker is a Neo magnet with a south pole facing down. This creates an electromagnetic field that allows the ball to defy gravity while spinning endlessly in mid-air.
"The first time I saw the prototype, I was astonished like anyone else because there's something levitating above the surface," says [video] Om CEO and founder David DeVillez. "That doesn't happen in nature."
Sure, a Bluetooth speaker that hangs in thin air is a cool product to look at, but audiophiles may ask: Is it also worth listening to? The Bluetooth 4.0 Om/One, which has currently raised more than $99,000 in a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise $100,000 and with 49 more days to go, is supposed to sound better than your everyday cylindrical Bluetooth speakers sitting on top of a table.
DeVillez says the floating globular speaker, which also functions as a microphone, is not just for show. The ability to float makes the Om/One more efficient because it does not have to deal with friction produced when speakers are placed on a surface.
"The reason we can get away with it at 3 watts is because we're not synced to a surface," explains DeVillez in a demonstration to Yahoo Tech. "So if I play the ball right now on the table, you can feel the table vibrating. But when the speaker is floating up here, all that is preserved. So we can get more audio output with less amplifier."
The eye-catching design also allows the speaker to preserve more battery life. At 70% volume, the Om/One can reportedly run for up to 15 hours, which is an impressive feat by itself, with or without the floating ball.
The Om/One is available for pre-order for $179 apiece and comes in three colors: basic black, basic white and groovy disco ball, which costs more at $299. However, a few techno buffs have raised their doubts about spending that much money on the product, saying the claim the company makes "doesn't really hold water."
Ken Pohlmann of Hammer Laboratories, for example, says a levitating speaker is "a really cool idea" but thinks that the lack of interaction between the speaker and its surface will not contribute to better output. Tech Writer Lauren Dagan also questions the speaker's continuous spinning, which she says throws away too much power sending audio to places where people aren't there.