German manufacturer Kaldewei is known in Europe for its stylish, technologically advanced bathtubs. And the Sound Wave, one of its newest models, might just be the most tech-friendly tub ever made.
This unique creation essentially turns your garden variety tub into a giant speaker. To accomplish that feat, Kaldewei crafted the tub itself out of enameled steel rather than the more common acrylic, and affixed six acoustic panels, two transducers, and a Bluetooth receiver.
We spoke with Arndt Papenfuss, Kaldewei’s head of marketing, at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. He described the system another way:
“In a speaker, you have a plastic or paper membrane to make the sound. Here, the bathtub itself is vibrating. So you can hear the sound, and you can feel it. And you can even see the wrinkles of the sound waves in the bath tub if you play it very loud.”
He called the Sound Wave a “new approach to deliver music in the bathroom,” and stressed that the company focused on making the interface simple and family-friendly.
To pair your phone, tablet, or laptop with the tub (any Bluetooth-enabled media-streaming device will do) you simply go to its Bluetooth menu, find the Sound Wave in the list of available devices, and connect. From there on out, whenever you approach the tub with your device, they’ll pair. And the Sound Wave can pair with up to eight devices—perfect for even large households.
The system isn't limited to just your music library, either. You can play anything you can transmit over Bluetooth, including podcasts, streaming radio, Netflix, and even phone calls.
Papenfuss also noted that Kaldewei’s sound engineers “have made a system that will sound perfect with or without water in the bathtub. It will work nicely and have perfect sound, like when you brush your teeth or do other things in the bathroom.”
Right now, the Sound Wave tub is available in Europe at a price of €600, plus the cost of the tub itself. Papenfuss told us that the technology is on its way to the U.S., and will likely sell at a similar price when it hits American shores.