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Kickstarter of the Week: Symphony Shells

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 9:23am
Chris Fox, Managing Editor

It has been said that 3D printing is the future of prototyping, as well as the future of some areas of production. Now, it’s also the future of amplification – sort of.

For our weekly Kickstarter spotlight, I spoke with David Gurrola, Founder and CEO, and Cameron Williams, Creative Design Lead at Simply Amplified about their latest project, Symphony Shells. These shells are easily connectable to your iPhone, Droid, or Galaxy phone, but there aren’t any wires, just good old-fashioned acoustic amplification.

When asked why they chose 3D printing over more traditional manufacturing methods David Gurrola explains, “We started Simply Amplified wanting to create a product that was elegant in its appearance and yet very functional in its performance as well.  These are two things that typically do not go hand-in-hand when using traditional manufacturing methods.”  Methods like assembly or injection molding traditionally requires some compromise and sacrifice between aesthetics and function. “With 3D Printing, we were able to design with an open mind,” says Gurrola.

Should the Kickstarter campaign succeed, Simply Amplified intends to not only deliver an aesthetic pleasing acoustic amplifier, but also do so with a new, more environmentally friendly 3D-printing material. A tweak to what is currently available; the new material makes a big environmental and economical difference. Gurrola explains, “We have developed additives for the materials that allow us to recycle the material back into the machine far more than the current materials do.” Also, these new materials are also made in part from a renewable resource, caster beans. The use of caster beans is significantly more environmentally friendly when compared to traditional materials that are largely petroleum based.

When designing the Symphony Shells, the duo took acoustics and appearance into immediate consideration. “The design challenges in this design were evident from step one: create an effective acoustic amplifier without compromising artistic or aesthetic appearance,” Cameron Williams explains. By utilizing the natural acoustic properties of the golden ratio, Simply Amplified was able to achieve a high level of amplification, keep the design to a manageable size, and preserve the beauty of the design. “The beginning of the design is always the most difficult; questions will arise: What should it look like? How should it work? How will it be used? I decided to pull inspiration from the already perfected design of sea shells,” adds Williams.

Williams explains, “My goal was to emulate a sea shell, but with one difference. I liked the look of many shells I found on the beach and I wanted my design to be similar, but wilder.” The wild design is bettered by providing amplification of up to 19 decibels.

As of press time, Simply Amplified has raised $2,400 of its $5,000 goal. Visit the Kickstarter page to get more details and support the campaign.

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