Editor’s note: Aggie tech writer Sahas Katta met up with Jason Lucash, a former UC Davis student and founder of OrigAudio, the company who developed an eco-friendly portable speaker system.
Featured on Time Magazine’s list of top 50 inventions for 2009 and NBC’s Today Show, Jason Lucash’s gizmo, the OrigAudio Fold ‘n’ Play, change the way people listen to music. The Fold ‘n’ Play is a set of compact eco-friendly stereo speakers. The former UC Davis economic major developed them so they can be used across various devices.
“It plugs into an iPod, BlackBerry, Zune or any other device with a standard headphone jack,” Lucash said.
The one-watt speakers do not require an additional power supply or batteries. The product arrives in a compact box. After unfolding, little tabs on the speakers lock into their respective slits, eventually forming a cube. Within a few minutes the speakers are ready to go. The process is much like origami, hence the name OrigAudio.
Lucash had traveled nearly 500,000 miles within just a few years after college. He almost always had his portable music player with him, but found it difficult to enjoy his favorite tracks without wearing headphones. While carrying a portable stereo or laptop could have been a potential solution, he instead came up with his own. After putting some thoughts together, he eventually came up with the Fold ‘n’ Play speakers.
After plenty of buzz on the Internet, being featured in Time and the “Today Show”, the speakers have been selling quickly. In early December, Lucash’s company had sold nearly 7,000 units since the Aug. 2009 launch. The holiday season rush brought figures to over the 10,000 milestone by the end of the month.
Not only are the speakers convenient, they are relatively inexpensive.
“At $16 a set, these are the most affordable portable speakers you can get,” Lucash said. “They are unique and people simply want them.”
While earphones offer private comfort when traveling, sharing a single bud with a friend is a hassle. The OrigAudio speakers are compact enough to pack with your luggage and quickly unfold for use. It is a great solution if you’re in a hotel with family and friends.
As a bonus, Lucash managed to keep his product eco-friendly. The entire cardboard chassis is made from recycled newspapers, phonebooks and pizza boxes. Even the packaging it arrives in shares the same characteristics. They are mother nature approved, Lucash said.
The Fold ‘n’ Play speakers are only the first gizmo for OrigAudio.Last December, Lucash revealed his plans to launch a new product called the Rock-It. The former UC Davis student claims that it will be able to turn any surface into a speaker.
Last week during the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Skatter Tech writer and UC Davis student, Sharath Shroff, had a chance to drop by the OrigAudio booth.
“It adheres to just about any surface,” Shroff said, “cereal boxes, an empty cup, a photo frame or anything similar works.”
The gadget emits vibrations of the audio produced by an MP3 player onto a surface, turning it into sound. The Rock-It will retail for slightly more than the Fold ‘n’ Play, at $50.
Lucash’s eco-friendly foldable speakers are innovative and unique. The OrigAudio speakers will not leave people with an empty wallet and it will not be a burden to replace. It is a great affordable gift as well. Plus, it is rare to find too many other companies willing to make the effort to create an eco-friendly product. If someone wants to pick one of these up, they are available for $16 through the website, OrigAudio.com, and through other retailers such as Tilly’s and at the San Francisco International Airport.
Visit skattertech.com for a full in-depth review of the OrigAudio Fold ‘n’ Play speakers and for a chance to win one of 5 sets of speakers.
SAHAS KATTA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.