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Mic Ball

A wireless microphone that can be thrown around
  [vote for,

A couple of years ago I suggested an idea to a client for a wireless microphone within a foam ball that could be thrown to participants at an event rather than having to wait for a mic runner to get to them. Last week he phoned me up and asked if I could put a couple together for an event in two weeks time.

The idea is for a foam ball about the size of a small football that has a wireless microphone inside. For relatively casual events the chair or facilitator can then throw the ball to an audience member that wants to speak. It gives a clear signal from the facilitator as to who they are designating to speak next and speeds up the event since nobody has to wait for a mic runner to get to them.

It's not a big idea but I thought I would put it up since it is currently half-baked but may be baked over the next week or so. The biggest challenge so far is finding a suitable foam ball. Plus, if anybody has seen anything similar it would be helpful to know.

The_Saint, Mar 13 2011

(?) http://spacecraft-e...ws/microphone-balls Hm! Maybe these people have some suggestions. [jutta, Mar 13 2011]


       Why not use a smartphone with a handsfree microphone and in addition use something like Skype over WiFi so it would give a reasonable voice quality and it would be free.   

       Bubblewrap and duct tape would be my padding of choice.
DenholmRicshaw, Mar 13 2011

       The rare HB idea that gets tested in practice. Please let us know how it turns out [+].   

       American football, right? Oblong and spun on its long axis? Will the participants all have basic American weekend tossing-the-pigskin-around competence? Might some refrain from speaking up, to avoid the embarrassment of a fumble?
mouseposture, Mar 13 2011

       From looking at the brief (silent, unfortunately) clip from the UK event company that uses something like this (see link) I'm gathering two things: (1) people sure look goofy when throwing (2) their implementation seems to be directional, indicated by a different-colored spot on the foam ball surface.   

       I like the idea, but it has a few problems yet to overcome. Assuming presenter A can throw, speaker B probably either can't throw or doesn't see the person C who wants to speak next. It feels a bit silly to talk into a big foam ball.
jutta, Mar 13 2011

       How about 10 microphones in balls and 10 speakers in balls bounced around an auditorium and someone at the sound board to control and massage the feedback into something beautiful and interactive?
JesusHChrist, Mar 13 2011

       Great link [jutta], many thanks although a tad disappointing to see that it had already been done. Their solution is pretty much exactly what I had in mind.
The_Saint, Mar 13 2011

       Well, baked or not, it was a good idea. Many kudos!   

       One small question - doesn't the foam muffle the sound?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2011

       Incidentally, I'm very relieved to see that the words "microphone" and "trebuchet" have not rubbed shoulders.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2011

       Great idea, but you'll have to do something about the hear-piercing thud that the whole auditorium will hear when someone misses the ball. Perhaps an accelerometer that shuts off the sound until 0.2 seconds after impact -- or a smart sound guy.
cowtamer, Mar 13 2011


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