The Boombotix Hurricane Is One Smart Speaker

Boombotix, San Francisco-based maker of headphones and stylish voice-controlled Bluetooth speakers, has launched a Wi-Fi-based smart speaker on Kickstarter designed to “totally revolutionize the way you listen to music.”

The thing is, the Hurricane doesn’t look (or act) like a speaker. At all. In fact, Boombotix calls it a “voice-activated DJ with artificial intelligence that learns and plays music you like to hear.”

Instead of using the popular Alexa or Google Home voice technologies, the Hurricane combines SoundHound’s Hound voice search and assistant app with the Houndify voice recognition and conversational intelligence platform to deliver a rich voice-driven experience. You can ask random questions or request music by artist, song, or genre.

Hurricane integrates with Slacker Radio’s extensive music library and relies on a proprietary Personal ALgorithm (PAL) that learns music preferences and listening patterns over time and builds a personal content profile. If you don’t know exactly what you want to listen to, for example, PAL will guide you to a series of selections—sort of like having your own personal DJ.

“Hurricane features a back-end that indexes all of your personalized content preferences and builds a profile that understands the nuances of what you like and when you like to hear it,” explained Boombotix founder Lief Storer. “We call it your fingerprint. With PAL, the more you use it, the smarter it gets at anticipating what you want to hear…The beauty of it is, it just happens.”

Based on your personal preferences, the PAL algorithm can also introduce you to new music that fits your profile, Storer said.

As a speaker, the geometric Hurricane is pretty formidable with a 2.1-channel amplifier that powers a 4-inch woofer, a pair of 2-inch midrange drivers, and two 1-inch tweeters. A proprietary microphone system with echo-cancelling technology is said to facilitate seamless two-way communication.

The Hurricane can be powered via AC or a rechargeable battery rated to last 24 hours in standby mode or about 4 hours at 80 percent volume. The speaker connects via Wi-Fi but also supports Bluetooth for when you venture beyond your home network.

With 12 days left in the Kickstarter campaign, Boombotix has 104 backers who have pledged $17,000 of an ambitious $250,000 goal, which Storer says is needed to get the Hurricane into full-scale production.

The retail price is $199 but early bird backers can reserve a Hurricane for $129. Estimated delivery is January.

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