Modular speaker concept creates an immersive audio experience anywhere

Portable wireless speakers are becoming quite ubiquitous these days as a way to enjoy your favorite music anywhere you are, whether you’re outside or just in another room. In exchange for their portability, however, the quality of the sound these speakers produce is less impressive compared to bigger and more stationary equipment found at home. It would be nice if you could have the best of both worlds, enjoying an audio system that follows you around the house without missing a beat. You could try to buy multiple wireless speakers and hope they can be connected to each other, or you can hope that this peculiar speaker system concept becomes a reality, allowing you to pick up one or two speakers from their base as easily as you would pick up your takeout meal.

Designers: Junwoo Kim, Yoonjeong Lee, Heeyeol Yang, Jaehoon Jeong

For an audio experience to be considered truly immersive, it has to sound like it’s coming from all around you. More specifically, the right sounds have to come from the correct direction rather than equally from all directions. Making this possible with a single speaker or even a pair of headphones is possible but difficult to accomplish, requiring sophisticated algorithms and precise control to create the illusion of surround sound. Of course, you could set up a surround sound system in your entertainment den, but then that magic only takes effect in that room.

TakeOut is an LG-inspired concept for a modular speaker system that lets you design your own audio space in a snap. At its core is a 360-degree soundbar that tries to bring the sound to you wherever you are in the room by blasting it in all directions. But when you push down on one of the circles on the top of the soundbar, a short cylindrical wireless speaker pops up. It’s not a completely independent speaker and it works in tandem with the soundbar, but its most important feature is that you can take it anywhere with you in the house.

This portability means that you can set up your audio experience just the way you want it, whether you’re listening in the same room or elsewhere. Need to go to your home office for a while? Just pop out one of the speakers and let the music follow you there. You can also create your surround sound setup in a flash by positioning the four “sub-speakers” around the room, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the system will know which sound needs to come from which speaker.

While the design of TakeOut is quite interesting, there might be some practical issues with it as well. For one, the concept doesn’t clarify if the individual speakers can be used separately from the soundbar or if they’re completely dependent on it. If it’s the latter, it also means that the speakers won’t function properly if they ever go out of range of the soundbar or if the data can’t reach them because of obstacles like walls. Those details, however, could actually be ironed out with some features that don’t take away anything from the spirit of this modular and immersive audio system.