It’s been a few months since Google’s Project Ara was canceled, but the dream of modular technology is still alive and well. It’s a tantalizing notion: imagine if you could simply replace the sensor in your camera or the processor in your smartwatch after a few years. But aside from desktop PCs — which are easy to replace and upgrade parts in that individual rigs begin to resemble the Ship of Theseus — most of our modern gadgets are fixed devices. What you buy is what you’ll be using until you decide to get a new model.
Decibel is an Indiegogo project from The Module Project that claims to be “the last speaker you'll ever buy.” It’s designed to be completely modular, allowing for users to easily upgrade, replace, and recycle individual parts as time goes on. The entire device can be disassembled using a standard Allen wrench, and everything from the battery to the drivers to electronic control board can be swapped out.
Aside from the novelty of the replaceable components, Decibel sports some impressive specs for a Bluetooth speaker: up to 24 hours of battery life, wireless and USB-C charging, aptX audio, and an entirely aluminum chassis.
Of course, the modularity of the system only works if The Module Project actually stays in business and supports the Decibel with new parts. The system quickly becomes pointless if the company goes out of business and there aren’t any parts to upgrade over a person’s lifetime. Adding to that uncertainty is that The Module Project is a new company that’s crowdfunding the Decibel as its first product.
The Decibel is available to back on Indiegogo now at an early-bird price of $195, with an estimated December release date.