The Q&A portion of lectures and conferences is often awkward – sometimes, audience members are hesitant to ask questions; other times, there's a long, uncomfortable silence as the mic is passed around, especially if the person who raised their hand is sitting in the back of the room. Timo Kauppila, Pyry Taanila, and Mikelis Studers have seen their share of such situations. So about a year ago, the former Aalto University students set out to make events more fun and engaging. Their solution? Catchbox, the world's first throwable microphone.
Catchbox is a professional wireless microphone in the form of a soft, padded cube. Unlike traditional mics that need to be handled carefully, Catchbox is designed to be thrown around. And don't worry about any ugly sounds it might make if it is accidentally dropped – the device has internal electronics that automatically turn off the audio when it is in motion.
Within each Catchbox is a foam capsule that houses the transmitter and other electronic components. It is in this enclosure that one can turn Catchbox on and off, change the batteries, and pair the capsule to the receiver. The capsule is secured by a magnet and can be taken out of the cover easily. The third part of Catchbox is the receiver which receives the audio signal and connects it to a sound system. It has a 6.3mm audio jack that is compatible with the mic and line inputs of computers, stereos, and sound mixers.
The Catchbox team sees many uses for the throwable mic, including lectures, meetings, workshops, and even Skype calls. Currently available for pre-order, Catchbox underwent numerous iterations and early prototypes were tested at more than 100 events before the design was finalized. A Catchbox will set you back $549 and can be customized with your company name, website, or other custom text.