Now this is the ultimate summertime speaker.

Ideal for backyard glamping sessions, deep woods sing-alongs, très romantique dinners on the patio, and belting out power ballads along with the Bangles, the Pelty Bluetooth speaker from Milan-based engineer Gianluca Gamba is one of the more intriguing — not to mention, extremely attractive — portable audio devices I've stumbled across in a good while.

The elegant Pelty — refreshingly, it’s handmade in Italy from ceramic, glass, wood, and zero plastic — delivers top-notch sound with the aid of a built-in thermoelectric converter that transforms the heat generated by a single tea light candle into enough juice to power the 3-inch full range speaker for up to five hours. So, yes, this is indeed a candle-powered speaker that, one would assume, can be powered off by simply blowing out the light.

Now seeking crowdfunded cash on Indiegogo, Gamba first began work on Pelty following an intimate dinner on the terrace with his fiancé. Gamba was in need of some mood music for the al fresco meal but the only way that would happen would be to introduce a clunky plastic Bluetooth speaker, complete with annoying cables needed to recharge the device, to the dinner table. Gamba was frustrated — what he needed was a stylish, sexy, and, most importantly, cable,- battery-, and plug-free speaker.


Eighteen months of tinkering around in his basement later, Gamba had created just that: the prototype for a beautiful — and plastic-free — portable Bluetooth speaker that really sets the mood with a built-in ambient light/power source. He named his creation Pelty in honor of Jean-Charles-Athanase-Peltier, the French physicist who, in 1834, discovered a source of thermoelectric power now known as the Peltier effect (for all you science nerds, this is the inverse of the Seebeck effect).

As Gamba explains, the “technological heart” of the speaker is the heat-to-electricity converter: the Peltier cooler — it’s what “really transforms fire into music.” On that note, within seconds on the candle being lit, the speaker will kick into action and stream tunes via your Bluetooth-enabled device.

Lots more tech-y nuts and bolts on this gorgeous sound machine can be found over at the Pelty Indiegogo page. And of, course, by backing the campaign you can pre-order your very own Pelty starting at $265 (35 percent off the anticipated retail price) for a colored unit — six different colors are available ranging from “Eco Green” to “Fire Red.” Black or white models are available for a few bucks more. Jasmine-scented candles are included but engraving you name on the side of the device will cost you extra.

Gamba is looking to raise $100,000 and appears to have a ways to go in further developing Pelty from a prototype to a marketable product. Backers will help enable his team to secure an assembly and packaging space (again, Pelty will be handmade using natural materials by Italian artisans), embark on further research and development, and further test the prototypes. If all goes as planned, Pelty will start shipping this winter.

As Gamba and his team continue to tweak and develop this ingenious piece of off-grid tech wizardry, I do have one suggestion: how about a handled model with citronella candles for full-on lantern-meets-boombox-meets-bug repellent action?

Via [Gizmag]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

This candle-fired speaker is perfect for rocking out while off the grid
Disco inferno, indeed. Meet Pelty, a sleek Bluetooth speaker powered by the flame of a single burning candle.