If you were at Slush last month, or at Arctic 15 earlier in the year, then you might have seen a Catchbox in the wild. The cute, bright microphone in a box that’s designed to be tossed and thrown to audience members will soon be available for all as pre-orders for the first batch of 500 are now being accepted with shipping expected to happen in June 2014.
We first wrote about the company when they won Aaltoes’ Summer of Startups way back in August of 2012, but Catchbox, for those of you who’ve not yet been introduced to the device, is an attempt to remove the annoyance that comes from using traditional wireless microphones in lectures, workshops or Q&A sessions. No more will you need someone to carry around the precious, expensive mic, as Catchbox keeps its safe inside a soft, protected box that people are encouraged to throw around. Gone are the days of people banging on the mic and asking, “Is this thing on?”, the Catchbox is turned on before use begins and then stays on. Dynamic sensors in the box detect when the box is being thrown or dropped and immediately mute the mic so an audience won’t have to suffer the bangs and screeches that otherwise follow.
The Catchbox is being sold for €395 / $549 in four bright colours, blue, orange, green and magenta. The vibrant childish colours practically encourage you to throw the thing, to treat it with abandon just like any child would with their toys. It’s possibly one of my favourite things about the device.
There are limitations to the microphone however, it’s recommended for use in groups of 100 people or less, and over a distance of no more than 30 meters (100 feet). So perhaps it would be best not to get your hopes up if you had visions of this flying around a large conference gathering or lecture theatre. As the Catchbox guys have identified however, there should be enough use for them in smaller spaces as in the examples I gave earlier, as well as other types of meetings and Skype calls.
They are only allowing pre-orders for a first batch of 500 so if you want one it would be best to get over to their site as quickly as possible, since they are also being advertised as being sold at a discounted price. For this run they are also offering to add some additional custom text onto the box you order which is a nice branding touch should that be important to you or your company.
If you miss out however, perhaps you’ll be able to see one for yourself at our next Conference as we’d certainly love to play with them again.