Most new tech products promise to solve one problem or another, but end up making life more complicated instead. There are already too many apps and Internet-connected gadgets for most of us to keep track of, but what if there was a way to manage everything without being overwhelmed? Waves promises to do just that using ambient lighting and a Bluetooth speaker designed to keep you calm even as it lets you know about incoming notifications.
At its core Waves is an extremely simple idea: take a Bluetooth speaker, slap some lights on it ,and place it on your desk or mounted against the wall. That’s really only scratching the surface of what his gadget can do though, thanks to a few clever tricks and an open approach to design and software. Waves uses cheap diffusion filters that can be cut with regular set of scissors, while the software can be tweaked to add support for pretty much any app or Internet-connected gadget out there. The end result is a hub for your entire digital life that aims to soothe instead of simply stimulate with non-stop notifications.
Put a singles Waves unit on your desk and it can create an ambient light show that syncs to your music. Connect the device to your social media accounts and it will let you know when you get a new notification. Down the line Waves could also sync up with internet-connected home appliances, letting you know when your laundry is done or you dinner is ready.
You can also sync up multiple copies of Waves for a surround sound system, while also working together to create a complex light show. Set up devices throughout your house or place one at each table for a big event. There’s a lot you can do with Waves, though we think the best way to use one is on your desk where it can play your music and let you know about incoming notifications.
Despite its simple design Waves isn’t exactly cheap. Creator Frank Cohen says the device will retail for about $130 to $150 in the future, though you can pre-order two of them along with a bunch of diffusion light filters for just $149. If you only want one you’ll have to spend at least $199 on Kickstarter, while $4,000 gets you a set of 25 Waves. We’d recommend the “duo set” early bird special, which is actually a pretty sweet deal.
All Kickstarter pre-orders should ship by December 2014, though it’s always possible the initial release could hit delays. Frank Cohen and his team have been working on Waves for nine months, and he says the team is ready for any obstacles that pop up moving forward.
At the end of the day Waves might be just another product, but it’s the first we’ve seen in a while that promises to put a barrier between you and the endless stream of incoming notifications. It’s still unclear if this device can really become a central hub for your entire digital life. It might just be another Bluetooth speaker with some pretty lights on top, but hopefully Waves will turn out to be much more than that.