Students create Bluetooth hub

Greg Zakharov, a fourth-year accounting student at Carleton, has developed an accessory that enables users to connect mobile devices to multiple Bluetooth speakers at once to improve surround sound quality.

Along with his associate, Thomas Keating, a fourth-year information systems student who Zakharov met in class, the pair has started Vostok-Air, a company that produces and sells the “Hu.B” device.

After receiving a second Bluetooth speaker from his brother for Christmas three years ago, Zakharov said he had an idea: why not place both speakers on either side of the room and enjoy a surround sound experience?

“Couldn’t do it. Bluetooth doesn’t allow you to do that,” he said.

Forgetting about the issue for a couple of years before starting university, Zakharov said he began to think about it again.

“I’m sitting in a coffee shop and I think, ‘maybe someone came up with an idea to solve this,’” he said. “I look it up. Nope.”

Six months ago, Zakharov said he decided he was tired of waiting for a product that could solve his surround sound problem to be created.

“I’m like, ‘that kind of sucks, why don’t I do it?’” Zakharov explained. “So I’m doing a business pitch and I hope to get some money.”

According to Vostok-Air’s Indiegogo campaign, the Hu.B is the world’s first patented Bluetooth speaker hub that will allow users to connect up to six sources to the device and individually customize each speaker’s sound. As of publication, the campaign has raised $81 of its $20,000 USD goal and has two months left to go to meet it.

Zakharov said the Hu.B is still fairly early in its development. He added that he has taken out a patent on the design of the product, but is still searching for capital to create a working prototype which they can show off to prospective investors.

Early Indiegogo backers will receive the Hu.B for as low as $49 USD if the campaign meets its goal and the devices are put into production.

Zakharov said they are also applying to meet a group of angel investors from the Capital Angel Network. He said relying on an Indiegogo page is essentially relying on viral marketing, which is extremely hard to accomplish.

“From my gathering, it’s not reasonable to rely on,” Zakharov said. “A lot of it is just getting the right person to view it, who has the influence to attract traffic to your page.”

Despite concerns, Keating said he is confident about the potential of the product and hopes that Vostok-Air will be able to enter the market with the Hu.B soon.

“I really believe that we can get money to make this thing,” Keating said. “The Hu.B can go on the [store] shelf and people will buy it.”

Photo by Meagan Casalino