Soundbug pulls off a cute trick -- but who would use it?


January 16, 2003|By Kevin Washington

I'm not sure whether I've found a great use yet for Wave Industries' Olympia Soundbug, but the little trick it accomplishes by turning almost any smooth, hard surface into a sounding board is quite remarkable.

About the size of a computer mouse, the Soundbug ($50) can take the place of a speaker in a pinch when you have some sort of audio device and no way to hear what it's playing.

The device has a large suction cup on its bottom that you lock onto a smooth, flat surface such as a table, door or window. The mono sound that emanates from the Soundbug is reminiscent of an AM radio station's, although you can link two Soundbugs together for a fuller sound. The top of the Soundbug has a three-stop switch for off, low volume and high volume. Much of the volume control will need to come from the dial on your audio device.

The Soundbug is capable of 75 decibels, although its volume won't blow you away. There is little bass and the sound is somewhat tinny. Serious audiophiles will not be impressed.

The Soundbug works best with big plate-glass windows, like my patio door's or the ones at the office. The best sound comes from glass.

While I have no personal reason to use a Soundbug, it can be plugged into a host of devices such as a multimedia personal digital assistant, video gaming console, computer, cassette tape recorder, CD or MP3 player.

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