A pocket-sized device that transforms the sounds of your world into a melodic ambient soundtrack. Enclosed in a handmade wooden case. Missed the campaign? Sign up for the newsletter at our website, to get informed when post-KS sales open!
A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Glo uses interactive technology to transform the sounds of your world into a melodic ambient soundtrack. Relaxing, meditative and fun, it matches your mood with the push of a button.
There are four basic soundscapes or "channels". Each one has a different rhythm and background texture, inspired by one of the elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. You can enjoy forests with birds, howling winds, waves of the sea and fantastic space frequencies.
You create your own musical theatre, designed to invoke positive emotions. Your polyphonic whale composes these soundscapes by integrating surrounding sound – your singing, humming, tapping on a surface, leaves rustling in the trees or under your feet, a barking dog or laughing child.
There is no doubt that sounds of nature have positive effects on our minds. That's why we’ve chosen only natural sounds as a base for your ambient soundscapes. Waves lapping on the sea shore, birds chirping, wind playing in the trees. All this evokes feelings with psychological benefits, from nostalgia to optimism, social connectedness and self-esteem.
These uplifting and calming sounds play a big role in regulating our emotions and attitude towards our own self.
We believe that Glo can help you to find your voice and be confident in it. Singing or humming makes us happy, relieves anxiety... Music has great healing powers.
The way Glo reacts to your voice is very interesting; you can imagine it as oscillating strings that resonate with your singing. When you hit the correct note, Glo responds by amplifying it further into its characteristic deep, bright tones, giving you instant feedback.
The Whale is aware of its orientation in 3D space. To make your track even more interesting, variations are introduced depending on roll and pitch. For example, when you are in the “Water” channel and you dive the Whale’s head down, the sound of sea waves increases. When it emerges back from the deep, the waves will slowly fade away, giving more space for the environmental ambience.
When the Whale rolls around, effects are applied to the sound making it even more mesmerizing.
The Prototype - Currently implemented functionality
The videos below are a raw and unedited recording from the whale, no added effects or post processing (only cut to make the demo shorter). The external sound is not mixed in apart from a few seconds here and there to demonstrate what comes in from the environment.
All glitches and hisses included :) In the final version the plastic buttons will be replaced with silicone (currently they are very crackly).
This is exactly how we recorded sounds for the Kickstarter video (you can find the music without voiceover here).
The Whale does not have a built-in speaker although it might look like it does, thanks to the "gills" (or grills? :) these are there so the sound can reach microphones.
Listening to these demos on headphones will give you a precise idea of what would you hear from the whale itself.
It is very easy to grasp the controls and understand how different movements translate to sound effects and variations. You don’t need to be a musician to play it; you will be in a full control of the soundscape in no time. However, the mighty whale may have a surprise for you here and there.
There is no screen to guide you through channels and options. We designed it this way to minimize distractions. Simply press ‘ON’ button and channel 1 will start. To switch between channels press ON button repeatedly. Be creative and explore sound possibilities. If you want to give your brain a special treat, enable the binaural beats mode by holding the ‘ON’ button for 4 seconds.
We recommend you use this option sitting or lying down with your eyes closed. Do not overdo it if you are just starting, it is quite a workout for your brain and you need to give it time to adapt. Just 10 minutes is enough in the beginning. To switch back to the normal mode, just press the ‘ON’ button once again.
The case is made from a combination of maple and american chestnut-tree wood with eco-friendly beeswax finish. Each durable case is beautifully handmade and unique with a responsive silicon keypad.
Pocket Size: The device fits into your pocket comfortably, however you will be tempted to fish it out very often! :) It runs on two AA batteries.
This is optional and experimental feature. You do not have use it and it is not something that can get activated accidentally. At the moment it is not integrated into the main firmware, only exists in a separate code branch.
It works by alternating one of the polyphonic voices by a frequency difference. We want to work with people who are interested in this subject to gather feedback and fine tune the functionality. The goal is to make it work well, while soundscapes keep their pleasant sound.
What are binaural beats?
For example, when you are studying, your encephalogram may show patterns with frequency around 20 Hz which we call Beta waves (12.5 Hz to 30 Hz). When you are relaxing with your eyes closed, your EEG will show frequencies around 10 Hz, Alpha waves (7.5 Hz to 12.5 Hz). In 1839 German professor Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered that we can actually stimulate the brain to activate these frequencies by creating external sounds with certain properties - binaural beats.
So imagine you would like to use your lunch break to meditate, but it’s difficult to quiet down your mind during a busy day. With binaural beats, you can “slow down” your brain to Theta frequencies and enjoy an effective meditation in a short time. How this works is that each of your ears receives sound of different frequencies through headphones and your brain recognises the difference. If one ear is receiving 87 Hz and another 82 Hz, your brain focuses on the 5 Hz gap and actually generates the illusion of that frequency, which you can hear.
There are four basic types of brain waves that can be triggered by a binaural beats program. They are defined by a frequency at which neural signals oscillate:
Alpha: 7.5 to 12.5 Hz, good for relaxation
Beta: 12.5 to 30 Hz, help with concentration
Delta: 0.5 to 4 Hz, helps with dreamless deep sleep
Theta: 4 to 7 Hz, helps to achieve deep meditation and boost creativity
We are Anna and Mario, designer/developer team based in Ireland. Our background is in design, programming and arts & crafts.
In 2016 we ran our first Kickstarter - Gecho Loopsynth, a polyphonic pocket synthesizer, which was successfully funded and fulfilled to everyone's satisfaction.
This is our second venture where we are evolving our proven concept of digital synthesizer into a more portable format.
In the heart of the whale ticks a powerful dual‑core signal processor, as found in many digital synthesizers (but hardly ever in this form factor, the board is only 53x25mm). We also included a dedicated high quality, low noise audio chip to handle inputs and outputs to ensure nothing is lost when Glo sings.
If you are not afraid of the soldering iron, there are more possibilities for you. Make your own music instrument, designed in any way you want or "circuit bend" an existing toy.
This tier is offering the same board as used in the wooden whale tier, with all SMD elements in place but allows for modifications. The additional SMD elements are for alternative powering scheme - rechargeable cell, also for Rx/Tx indication of USB-serial line (uploading and downloading firmware).
You do not have to solder everything on to make it work; if you want to put the board into an enclosure of your choice and keep it powered with two AAA batteries as usual, you only need to solder 2 wires - positive and negative wire to the battery holder.
More information about DIY options (diagrams, schematics and wiring examples) can be found here.
Risks and challenges
This is a complex hardware product and brings associated risks. To minimize them we are going to work with manufacturers with whom we have had a good experience in our previous project. The critical components i.e. wooden cases, electronics and silicon keypads are made by contractors in EU. They will sub-contract certain operations to Asia but it would be to their trusted partner. PCB assembly is carried out in Poland and all woodworking in Slovakia.
To avoid common problem of elements shortage, where possible we chose readily stocked parts, and where that was not possible we have started stocking any harder to get components to do our best to ensure sufficient supply for the first production batch.
Certain parts of the functionality are still work in progress. The risk is that the version of the software you will receive with your unit might contain bugs. There should be enough time to iron it out and ship with fully tested firmware, however if something slips through, you may need to update your unit later via a micro USB cable.
There might be delays caused by manufacturing of accessories too (e.g. hard cases), as some of these are made outside of EU. To minimize this we are already scheduling the production where possible.