Portland, OR

Hackable

Locally Sourced

Helium: The first supercapacitor-powered portable speaker

$43,044 raised

of $35,000 goal

Funded! Pre-Order Now

Dec 19

Funded on

122%

funded

9,485

pledges

Product Choices

  • Capacitizer

    Ships February 2014

    $179

    Free US Shipping!

  • Copper

    Ships February 2014

    $249

    Free US Shipping!

  • Helium

    Ships March 2014

    $399

    Free US Shipping!

  • Double Down

    Ships March 2014

    $849

    Free US Shipping!

Details

Our Helium speakers charge in five minutes, play for six hours at full volume, and sound awesome.

As Featured On

techcrunch.com
GearHungry.com
Gizmag.com
opensource.com
Supercompressor.com
Digitaltrends.com
Inhabitat.com
Treehugger.com
Gadgetreview.com
Muted.com

Electronics today are all kind of the same. They're built by huge corporations. They're made from plastic, and they run on batteries that fail in just a few years. They're designed to be sold at big-box retailers. Until now, we've all been stuck buying electronics that are designed around someone else's bottom line.

At Blueshift, we're designing electronics to fit your life. Devices that last, that sound great, and that charge in minutes - so they're always ready to go.

Our Helium speakers work anywhere - from your living room to your porch, and from your next barbecue to your next beach trip. They're Bluetooth enabled, so you can stream music wirelessly from most smartphones and many other devices. It's super easy to connect, and the speaker will play audio from music, video, games, or the web. All speakers also include a 3.5mm input.

Blueshift speakers are powered by supercapacitors - a technology that's changing how we think about energy storage. They can charge very quickly, but are also super durable - they can be charged more than half a million times.

These speakers are open-source hardware. We want to push the world toward longer-lasting, more sustainable products. Supercapacitors are a technology that can help - so we're making our ideas available to anyone who wants to build awesome products.

We're here to change how we design, build, and distribute electronics. By rethinking the entire model, we've created some awesome speakers - but we're just getting started. Blueshift is proving that we can build innovative, ethical electronics in Portland - and sell them at fair prices. Your pledge will help make it happen.

Product Specifications

The Helium is the first supercapacitor-powered speaker. They charge in five minutes, play for six hours on a charge, and sound awesome. They're designed to be upgraded and repaired - these are portable wireless speakers built to last a lifetime.

All or our speakers use a super efficient 4" full-range driver. Full-range means that all frequencies are reproduced by the same cone. On top of super precise imaging, full-range drivers don't need a crossover - so our speakers are much louder than they could be using a two - or three way design. By using a larger, more efficient speaker, our products are an order of magnitude more efficient than most portable speakers - which is what allows our systems to play for a minimum of 6 hours.

Our cabinets are designed around physics, not what you can fit in your pocket. The cabinet is hand built from bamboo in Portland, Oregon. We chose bamboo for two reasons: it's highly renewable, and it's also a great material acoustically, because it's super rigid. We modeled and tested a variety of shapes and sizes, before settling on a six liter (per driver) ported enclosure tuned to 105 Hz - a great compromise between frequency response and portability.

In short, our speakers sound really great - they have an even, natural response that works well with any kind of music. They produce satisfying bass, and a flatter response than any tiny portable speaker ever could.

The Copper series features the same great sound and the same great look as the Helium - but in a fully-wired configuration. This means that the Copper speakers must be physically plugged into a power source AND an audio source to play. A great speaker for the home, at a more affortable price. Available in stereo and mono.

NOTE Both the Helium and Copper series speakers include removable grills and power adapters

Premiums & Pledge Levels

Blueshift Builder ($1)

We appreciate any contribution you can make! Thank you!

Capacitizer ($180)

The Capacitizer is a DIY kit for building a capacitor-powered portable wireless speaker. Build your own enclosure for a high-efficiency driver, OR convert an existing high-efficiency passive speaker. Includes the assembled PCB, four 350F supercapacitors, a power supply for charging, hardware, and instructions. Tools and know-how required! Driver not included.

Copper ($300-$400)

The Copper is a wired, powered speaker. It sounds great, and it looks killer - but it does have to be plugged into both power and an audio source. Includes power supply and 3.5mm cable - attach any device with a standard headphone audio output. Available in mono ($300) or stereo ($400). Stereo shown in image.

The Helium Series
Helium speakers are available in either Stereo or Mono in every production run. PILOT products are a pilot production run that will be built almost entirely in our shop. EARLY products will be part of a larger run and will be delivered after the PILOT. Regular production will follow.

PILOT: Helium ($350-$500)

The Helium is a capacitor-powered, portable wireless speaker. It charges in five minutes, plays for six hours at full volume, and sounds awesome. Includes Bluetooth receiver with Apt-X and AAC codecs, Fostex FE 126 driver, bamboo cabinet, and wall adapter. Built to last in Portland, OR. This is a PILOT product: it will be built in our shop in Portland, and delivered before other pledges. Available in mono ($350) or stereo ($500). Limited to the first 25 backers. Mono shown in image.

EARLY: Helium ($400-$550)

Early run. Choose mono or upgrade to stereo.

Helium ($450-$600)

The Helium is a capacitor-powered, portable wireless speaker. It charges in five minutes, plays for six hours at full volume, and sounds awesome. Includes Bluetooth receiver with Apt-X and AAC codecs, Fostex FE 126 driver, bamboo cabinet, and wall adapter. Built to last in Portland, OR. Available in mono ($450) or stereo ($600). Mono shown in image.

Double Down ($850)

A Helium Stereo speaker AND a Helium Mono for the ultimate listening experience.

Custom Project ($5,000)

Let's build something awesome! This entitles you to a Custom Project from Blueshift. We'll talk and figure out an idea – then spend a full day designing it and two full days building. Includes up to $1500 in parts – this could be something pretty cool. I want one...

*The PILOT products are truly a pilot production run. We will be doing almost all work in-house and dialing in our production plan before we start contracting out work. The EARLY products will be part of a larger run that will have more work done out-of-house, including PCB assembly and bamboo cutting. We are 100% committed to shipping only products that look great and work perfectly. That said, there will likely be small changes and revisions from batch to batch.

Manufacturing Plan

These speakers will all be built in Portland, OR.

Blueshift has prototyping shop that can build the bamboo cabinets, PCBs, and perform final assembly. The PILOT rewards you can buy today will be 90% built in our shop.

PCBs fabrication will be outsourced, and PCB assembly will be outsourced after the pilot run. We will also contract out cutting the bamboo panels finger joints to a larger shop in Portland.

We have a supply chain established for all the components and are ready to start building the pilot run as soon as we are funded.

Risks & Challenges

The biggest issue we have to face is FCC & CE compliance testing. Because the Helium series uses a proprietary circuit, we have to have these tested at a laboratory that will confirm they will not cause harmful interference with other devices. Although we know that our speakers get along with the other electronics we've used just fine, the testing is highly detailed, and failing to pass on the first try would delay delivery of all the Helium speakers.

We also must work with two different suppliers for PCB fabrication and assembly - as with any contract work, there is the risk of receiving products that are not up to our standards, which could (again) delay delivery of the Helium speakers.

More info / how to help

There's more information about who we are, our products, and where Blueshift is going at our website, blueshiftPDX.com

We are on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

You can support this project by sharing our story!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you don't meet your goal?

If we do not meet our goal, no funds are collected, and your card will not be charged. More at Crowd Supply Terms of Use. In that event, Blueshift would need to re-think how to cover our upfront costs, and we would not be able to deliver any products until we figured out how to do so.

What is the output power of Blueshift speakers?

Our speakers are extremely efficient. That is where most of our engineering efforts have gone. The power of an amplifier in watts has little to do with how loud a speaker is, because output power has diminishing returns on perceived loudness: efficiency is what really matters. That said, our Helium systems use one (or two) class-D amplifiers that are each rated at 2.2W/channel at 8 ohms, 10% THD+N. In reality, at full volume they run at closer to 0.2W/channel continuous power. The Copper speakers, because they are plugged directly into the wall, have more powerful amplifiers. Lots of watts? No. Pretty loud? Definitely.

Dimensions?

  • The Helium/Copper Stereo are each 18"x9"x6", and weigh about 8 lbs.
  • The Helium/Copper Mono are each 12"x7"x4", and weigh about 4 lbs.

Shipping dimensions?

We have not finalized our packaging plans, but our best estimates are:

  • The Helium/Copper Stereo boxed are each 22"x14"x10" and weigh about 9.5 lbs.
  • The Helium/Copper Mono boxed are each 16"x12"x8", and weigh about 5 lbs.

International shipping?

International shipping is a flat rate of $100 for each Helium and Copper speaker (sorry, Canada!). Everything will ship with a universal 50-60Hz 110-240V AC adapter.

What's Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a way for two devices to communicate wirelessly. Bluetooth can do many different things, including streaming music. The Helium speakers include a Bluetooth transceiver. The specific Bluetooth profile that we use to stream music is called the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, or A2DP. The Helium speakers are compatible with all devices that can function as A2DP sources. Most recent smartphones, MP3 players, and many computers include an A2DP source profile.

What are Apt-X and AAC codecs, and how do I use them?

Within A2DP, there are different ways to encode the signal that streams between devices. This encoding happens through a piece of software called a “codec” (short for COder DECoder). All A2DP compatible devices include a codec called SBC – this is a simple codec that uses very little processing power, but loses some audio fidelity. Apt-X and AAC are higher-fidelity codecs. The Helium speakers are compatible with both AAC and Apt-X. When a source device with Apt-X or AAC connects to a Helium speaker, they will automatically select one of these higher-fidelity codecs instead of SBC. Many Android phones include Apt-X, and many Apple devices include AAC. Including both codecs ensures high fidelity with most recent source devices. Please consult the documentation for your phone or other device to determine whether it supports A2DP, AAC, and/or Apt-X.

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Blueshift

Blueshift builds open-source electronics in Portland, OR. We are committed to products that last, so everything we make can be repaired and upgraded.

Sam Beck

Founder