An SFU engineering student is Kickstarting an innovative way to create an efficient, customizable audio system that will be unique to the owner’s needs.
Yousef Javaher developed the idea for SparkBlocks four years ago when he was creating backpack-style speakers. “The initial spark for the Blocks was when we realized that by separating difficultfunctions of a speaker into blocks [. . . they] could be connected together in any way the user desires,” he recalled.
Javaher, the co-founder of SparkAudio and a mechatronics engineer at SFU, also found his greatest motivation from his family. “My father has a master’s in mechanical engineering and has been the biggest inspiration in my path.”
As the lead designer and technology developer at his company, Javaher has been active in the development of audio systems. His expertise with audio speakers hints at his experience of “creating speakers for over four years.” Having “started with backpack style speakers,” he “slowly progressed in [his] designs” towards the final SparkBlocks product.
The SparkBlocks are a system of customizable speakers and accessories surrounding a centre ‘Main Block.’ Javaher considers the different modules to be something many people would appreciate.
“The unique modular system has allowed us to specifically calibrate each block to carry out a specific set of tasks with considerable quality,” said Javaher. “Rather than weighing the trade-off between form and functionality, we have strove to make form the functionality within a unique ecosystem of blocks that give users endless possibility for customization.”
There are many attachable accessories, ranging from specifically to generally useful. These include a battery pack, which will add an extra 12 hours to the four hour base power, and a bicycle mount. Javaher feels that the accessories are both practical and unique.
Javaher’s goal with the SparkBlocks was “to enhance user experience.” The interesting interlocking designs of the Blocks is to create “a fundamental component of user experience [. . . through] the visual impact of the speaker system.
“The biggest challenge for me was to create a speaker that can capture all the detail of music,” Javaher stated. “I wanted to create something that was truly unique and customizable it every individual’s needs.”
Javaher also considers his experience at SFU as helpful in the development of his innovative project. “Being at SFU really helped shape my path as an engineer and as an entrepreneur. Not only have I gained knowledge about my field, I gained experience in facing challenges and pushing through those challenges.”
Javaher and his partner Ramtin Bidshahri have worked since 2014 to make the product a reality. Bidshahri earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia, and is currently earning a diploma in accounting at UBC.
“I would like to say that SparkBlocks is not just a speaker,” said Javaher. “It is an ecosystem of audio control, gadget and accessories that allows [everyone] to create their own unique device.”
Javaher concluded, “The main concept behind SparkBlocks is that people should have the choice of what their system should do.”