One of the great things about gadgets is that there are always awesome new inventions to obsess over. For the better part of the year, my mind has been blown after seeing the “exciter” technology being put out by NXT. The exciter creates sound by vibrating whatever surface it is placed against, allowing for thinner speakers for flat-screen televisions and other electronics. Of course, the truly impressive moment came when I saw the exciter turn a lampshade into a speaker.

Granted, the idea that sound comes from vibration isn’t new, but the possibilities of small disks that can turn any surface into a speaker are awesome. If you look around the room you are in, you could probably find five items – from bookshelves to tabletops – that would blow your friends’ minds if you turned them into speakers. Best of all, even the more complicated method is easy enough that you won’t even need to touch any tools.

If you feel like putting in the effort, you can purchase the exciters (Dayton DAEX25 Sound Exciter Pair) that use the NXT technology and an amplifier (Dayton DTA-1) from With very minimal assembly, which mostly consists of matching red and black wires to the very well-labeled slots, you will have a simple setup that can turn any surface into a speaker.

My advice would be to attach the exciters to a cardboard box (which is a great speaker because it vibrates so well) and write the word “SPEAKER” on it. Imagine the confusion on your friends’ faces when the box suddenly transforms and sheer joy when they hear deep, clear music coming out of the box. Best of all, the whole thing costs less than $60, and it is guaranteed to make everyone think you are an electronics genius.

Of course, if you want a one-step alternative to this, then what you need is the Tunebug Vibe. The Vibe is a single triangular box that contains both the amplifier and exciter, so the only thing you have to plug in is the 3.5mm audio cable to connect with your MP3 player, gaming handheld or laptop. The unit also charges with an included USB connector, so it doesn’t need a separate slot in your surge protector.

More importantly, the rechargeable battery makes the Tunebug Vibe completely portable. This means that your friends can actually hear the sounds coming out of your portable device without having to share a set of earbuds. You can share your audio and video presentations with your classmates without having to rely on your laptop’s weak speakers, or you can just rock out when your headphones just won’t cut it. Plus, of course, you can do that cool trick where you turn a lampshade into a speaker anywhere you go, and it costs about the same as buying the components separately.

If you are coming up with new and unique ways of using this technology, then you won’t be surprised to find that Tunebug has some awesome new options for this technology as well. The Tunebug Shake is roughly the same size and shape as the Vibe, but it also uses Bluetooth technology. While this is just a speaker and cannot be used to make phone calls, it does let you access your music from any smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player.

While you could use the Tunebug Shake to turn a cardboard box into a wireless cardboard speaker, the true genius of this device is that it comes with equipment to attach it to your bicycle helmet. By vibrating the helmet, the Shake lets you listen to music while biking without plugging up your ears with headphones or earbuds. This means that you can ride around town and listen to your music safely while still being able to hear the cars and other potential dangers around you. You also get the singular experience of feeling like your music is surrounding your head.

I leave you here to imagine to what you would attach a tiny, powerful vibrating speaker in a silver dollar-sized triangular box. The opportunities present themselves right out of the box. In fact, you could even use the box.