Funded

Übercaster

A Portable Device that Empowers Anyone to Locally Broadcast Sound in Real-Time to Smartphones. echosdesign.com

What's the big idea?

If you know what FM transmitter systems are then you know EXACTLY what Übercaster is. FM transmitter systems have multiple FM receiver devices. Its bulky, chaotic to manage, unnecessary, and expensive.

The Design Philosophy is Simple: Less Is More.

Übercaster uses WiFi to seamlessly broadcast audio to smartphones, both iOS and Android devices. ONE device and eliminated all the unnecessary FM receivers.

The Übercaster will offer less than 50ms audio latency and cost at least 8 times less than typical FM transmitter systems.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

Exxothermic(http://www.audioeverywhere.com): A System that Broadcasts audio from screens to smartphones supports iOS and Android.

Art Processor(http://www.artprocessors.net): Museum and Tour guide focused broadcasting system. Only supports iOS.

How are you different from that player?

Exxothermic: Not-Portable, Infrastructure setup required. Doesn’t just work out of the box.

Art Processor: Not-Portable, costs about $10k to setup.

Übercaster may not support as many clients as others, but it is portable and can be used for multiple applications.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Kickstarter campaign in 2-3 months for market viability and crowd funding purposes. If the campaign is successful, I will be able to scale quickly due to my partnership with an indian manufacturing firm and a large distributor of audio related products, Williams Sound.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

This project is a continuation of my Engineering Senior Design Project which I started in Sept 2012 at Calvin College. I truly believe that the markets I described can use this too to amplify the experience.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

I need to purchase more dev boards and wifi modules to mod and beta test at participating venues. I need couple more smartphones for testing purposes. I need to license and purchase softwares for further product development.

There have been 2 replies to this idea

  1. Joshua David Vander Stel

    KJ, I have considered a software approach to this concept before. I think there is great value in an app-based broadcasting solution, eliminating the investment in hardware development, production, distribution and sales. Of course, you would introduce massive latency and have to make sacrifices for compatibility with such a fragmented smartphone market.

    The only real solution to this problem is to invent some sort of accurate synchronization technique. It is simple enough to delay a video stream (ie. sportsbar) to accommodate for latency… but what about when two customers are using two different devices to listen to the same broadcast in the same environment? Without the devices synchronizing their audio to each other, there is going to be an annoying micro-delay / chorus effect. I don’t think this is insurmountable, but it will require some research to arrive at an elegant hardware/software solution. Wish you well!

  2. KJ Yoo

    Owner

    Hello Josh,

    Thank you very much for taking interest in Übercaster and spending your time to layout some concerns. I really appreciate it! So I wrote you some detailed explanation, hopefully it succinct and sufficient.  Also you can help me out by correcting information if I do get it wrong.

    Concerning going pure SW, I considered all the pros and cons that go with pure SW rather than HW/SW integration. My spanish friend who is working on this with me right now built the Android Intercom (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.androidintercom&hl=en) which is similar to what you are talking about. The latest smartphone’s performance is on par with the dev board I am using. So theoretically it is very much possible to make the smartphone do what I demonstrated in the video running my OS and Software. However apps allow in my application very limited access to hardware, which therefore decrease performance quite drastically such as number of clients it can handle and also the capture, encoding and streaming process, not to mention requires a bit of power. Here are some interesting news for you, so you are correct about the fragmented smartphone markets particularly Android. This is why Art Processor has been using only iOS devices, because Android HW performance varied so much from device to device and very high audio latency. However recently, I had a minor breakthrough which allowed me to stream to android devices less than 100ms (as demonstrated in the video). From 12 months of researching android audio performance, this has never been achieved before. (This was using the latest Google Nexus 7 with Android 4.3 and I am expecting incredible audio performance improvements with the new Android 5.0 which should come out very soon. Check this video out! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3kfEeMZ65c)) Concerning Android, I am actually designing for devices that are at least Android 4.0 capable, the HW performance of anything below will not work well. I am aware that at this point in time this excludes a decent portion of the overall android market.

    Concerning the synchronization, I wondered whether this was going to be an issue, but in my humble opinion I think that it will not be an issue for vast majority of the applications.
    Anything very fast such as Ringo Starr playing drums or 200bpm arpeggios of Van Halen shredding the guitar will be noticeable to few, however most of the time it will not affect vast amount of the clients. You can try this at home, I mean if you hear the latency difference of 39ms (iOS) to 55ms (Android), unless you have a very fine ear, it will be VERY difficult to notice. I have been playing violin for 16 years now and I was unable to detect the latency.

    Going back my point about a custom HW, this is why it is so important to have total control over the streamer, because you want to reduce the latency it as much as possible. :)

    Hopefully this answers some of your questions!

    Thanks Josh!

    KJ

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This idea is funded

This idea was funded by Start Garden staff endorsement on October 24, 2013.

  • 5K