If you haven’t previously heard of TuneBug, that’s because it is a new company and although its portable speaker solutions were shown at CES 2009, they are only just now making their way to market. The products are all based on patented NXT speaker technology which generate sound waves that pass through the surfaces the speakers (aka “sound generators”) rest on, effectively turning those surfaces into speakers. Predictably, there’s a desktop solution which sits on your desk. Now there’s also a helmet-top solution which sits on your helmet, giving you a kind of ambient bone dome surround sound like you’ve never had before – ideal for skateboarding, bicycling, skiing and motorcycling.
TuneBug speakers are highly portable sound generators that connect to audio sources via a 3.5mm input or Bluetooth to transform several flat surfaces into loudspeakers. TuneBug Vibe, which uses the 3.5mm input, is available now while the Bluetooth-enabled version, TuneBug Shake, launches January 30.
The Shake is the one which interests us most, as there are plenty of desktop speakers on the market, but a distinct dearth of solutions for listening to music whilst wearing a helmet, and none of them offer the ability to hear your ambient surroundings at the same time as your music. The Shake appears to offer this latter feature and given that you’re presumably wearing a helmet for good reason, situational awareness in dangerous situations is an extraordinarily good idea, particularly at just US$120.
The Shake is a small attachable device for bike, ski and skateboard helmets which create surround sound inside of the helmet by “exciting” the entire helmet surface which then becomes a speaker.
The Tunebug Shake has a rechargeable battery with about five hours of playtime and charges via the included USB cord.
NXT's technology is also used in the Orb.