Park City student wins award for audio tech design
Technology would allow users to feel bass frequencies in music
April 25, 2017
Kyle Haas, a senior at Park City High School, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. There's something about the independence and adventure of creating something from nothing, he says, that strikes a passion within him.
But among the several ventures he's undertaken as a student in Park City, it's the latest one that really makes his chest thump.
Haas, a self-proclaimed audiophile, is designing wearable technology that emits special bass frequencies, allowing users to quite literally feel music throughout their bodies, replicating the experience of being at a concert or club with pounding subwoofers. The technology, he said, already exists for wrists, but when he tried it, it was obvious the experience would be more immersive if it was built into clothing like shirts and socks.
"I was blown away, but at the same time I was underwhelmed because I wanted the whole concert experience — that body-shaking experience," he said. "So I was like, 'How cool would it be to actually have clothing that would have your entire body shaking?' It was like, 'Why don't I actually do that?'"
Haas' idea has already earned acclaim. He recently presented it at the High School Entrepreneur Challenge put on by the University of Utah's Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, which tasks students from around the state with developing an idea for a product and a plan of how to bring it to market. While Haas' vision didn't take the top prize, it proved to be a hit, earning him the People's Choice Award and an accompanying $1,000 grant to help him turn the idea into reality.
Haas intends to do just that. He said he will begin the process of turning the technology from a design sketch he worked on for about a month into an actual product in the coming weeks and hopes to continue the work in college, where he will pursue an engineering degree at either the University of California, Berkeley or the University of Colorado. One vision he has for the technology is tailoring it so users would simultaneously feel bass frequencies in their chest through a shirt, mid-range vibrations lower in their body and treble waves on their feet.
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"You could literally turn your body into a vibrating instrument," he said, adding that the technology could also have uses in the medical field because exposure to certain frequencies has been shown to heal the body.
Creating the technology and building a company out of it is something he can picture himself working on for the next decade or so, he said. He has already even begun the process of applying for a patent.
"Ideally, within the next month or so I'll be starting to learn how to actually code and put this stuff together," he said. "These parts are incredibly cheap on Amazon, and the circuitry and how to do all this stuff is pretty open sourced. You've just got to figure out what to look for, and that's the first step."
Building the company would be a convergence of two passions for Haas, who tears apart audio systems and creates small companies — such as a cold-brew coffee business — in his spare time. The mere mention of it is enough to elicit a smile from him.
"For me, being able to lead my own company and turn nothing into something is freedom," he said. "I've worked in restaurants for four years in my life, so I'm pretty used to working within a system. But being an entrepreneur gives you unlimited freedom. Your time is up to you to decide how to use it. You don't have any other boss than you."