We don’t know how much fun it is to put together a speaker but maybe it is time to find out. If you have curious kids who like to tinker with electronics, though, then we guess it won’t be such a bad idea to get them assembling one. The BOSEbuild Speaker Cube is a kit designed for just that purpose.
A DIY STEM kit aimed at kids, it contains all the parts and tools you need to build a wireless Bluetooth speaker. Yes, you can probably buy a cheap Bluetooth speaker for your kids to disassemble and put back together all by themselves, but this thing comes with a companion app that incorporates experiments, lessons, and other activities that will allow kids to better appreciate the various concepts at work, including magnets, electromagnets, waveforms, sound frequency, and more.
When successfully put together, the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube measures 4.75 inches on all sides – around the same size as a standard desktop speaker. There are no details on the actual drivers or speaker hardware used, but the set comes with standard Bose parts, so it should, at least, deliver decent sound. Do note, the finished speaker doesn’t come with a battery, so it will have to be plugged in to an outlet during use.
Since this is going in the hands of kids, all the parts are built rugged and resilient, ensuring rough handling won’t leave components broken before the day is through. All parts come clearly labeled, too, with big cables and connectors, to ensure minimal mistakes when following assembly instructions.
Parents and educators will be pleased to note that the kit doesn't require any of the more difficult elements of typical speaker assembly, so young builders won't be required to solder anything or deal with tiny or unruly parts. No software programming is required either, but using the app alongside the speaker can greatly enhance the learning experience so that the builder can learn more about the science of audio.
Recommended for kids eight years or older, the kit doesn't require an adult to be present to help—a youngster could, if paying particularly close attention to the detailed instructions, put it together themselves with little difficulty. While doing so, they'll learn about all of the different components of a speaker—much of which can be applied to other electronics. They'll get to see how a power supply provides power to the rest of the unit and how to place a control panel with knobs and sound adjustments. The magnet itself will need to be placed, and the coil as well. As each component gets added, the builder will learn about how these devices work together to produce sound.
Since each component will need to be placed individually, the housing for the speaker is larger than a speaker of this size would typically come packaged in. This is a good thing, since it'll allow for clear viewing of the components as well as ease of placement. Since the housing is clear,
Perhaps the coolest thing about the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube are the customizable elements. Young builders will be able to pick and choose from different LED lights—which light up in sync with the music being played through the speaker after assembly—with each light being individually placed and configured. This adds to the electronic education garnered from the device, and teaches builders about how audio-visual setups are put together, like a miniature version of stage lighting that might be used at concerts.
While the speaker can be assembled in around an hour or two, the app provides additional functionality which helps young people explore the science behind sound and how the speaker itself works. Parents should expect the project to last about an afternoon, but of course the speaker can be used for its intended purpose. The customizable components like the LED lights can also be modified again later if desired.
Note that you will need an Apple device to use the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube app, which includes the instructions to build this speaker as well as other educational functionality. An iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch will all work fine, as long as they're running iOS 8 or higher.
Available now, the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube is priced at $149.