Gadget of the Week: ARC Plasma Speaker

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

ARC speaker
That’s one electrifying sound box.

Still using a regular pair of speakers to listen to music? Don’t embarrass yourself with those caveman relics! A startup company called ExcelPhysics has been working on a high-tech sound system called the ARC Plasma Speaker, which uses a stream of plasma (electrically charged particles) to basically charge the air with sounds.

Typical speakers create sounds by sending vibrations through the air to pulse on our eardrums (the organs inside our ears that help us hear). Well, the ARC Plasma Speaker runs about 30,000 volts of electric plasma through the air between two electrodes – devices through which electricity can flow. The creators of the speaker modified the resulting arc of plasma to create sounds by charging the air around you. They describe it as a “continuous streak of lightning bolts” that play music.

The music box uses a typical audio jack which can connect to a laptop, phone, or an mp3 player. As far as looks, its compact design makes the portable device small enough to carry in one hand and the laser-cut wood is stylish. It’s even more dazzling when there’s music playing, since a little electric spark inside appears to dance with the tune. Next time your friends come over, they’ll be drooling over the shocking display of high-tech musical wizardry!

Since this all seems a little too cool to be true, what’s the catch? Well, the little wooden box uses a tad bit more electricity than the average similarly-sized speaker system, but according to the creators, it’s not very much more. Additionally, the ARC Plasma Speaker produces a type of gas known as ozone – a type of oxygen. Even small amounts can cause some health problems, which is probably why the makers recommend you use their device in a well-ventilated area for no more than 2 hours at a time. The price is surprisingly affordable, too, considering that you can get this high-tech lightning bolt music-maker for $100.


Images courtesy of ExcelPhysics.