18 Aug 2017 | 12.30 pm
Sonarc Makes Waves With Novel Plasma Speaker
Paul Gilligan's Sonarc speaker is now at the patent pending stage
18 Aug 2017 | 12.30 pm
Paul Gilligan has come up with a novel invention that he hopes will be music to the ears of audiophiles. Through his startup Sonarc Innovations, Gilligan says he has developed the world’s first full audio range speaker with no moving parts.
“This removes the limitations of existing speakers, such as restricted diaphragm motion and audio response,” he explains. “Where a normal speaker uses a vibrating cone to create sound, Sonarc uses a plasma (ionised gas) to create sound, which will enable smaller speakers with better audio and base response when compared to traditional designs.”
The inventor has a Masters in Advanced Engineering and his working experience spans a plasma physics startup, telemetry, and embedded systems and management. He was also involved in test automation, power and production line setup in China.
Gilligan (42) initially approached the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin with a proof of concept model to demonstrate the potential of the technology. “Our investment leader Fergus O’Dea and the rest of the NDRC team, worked closely with us over a number of months to refine our business idea,” says Gilligan.
Having completed the incubation phase, Sonarc Innovations competed for investment in the NDRC’s Investor Day competition, winning the Audience Choice award.
“NDRC has been great in terms of contacts and working with the other teams,” says Gilligan. “The priority now is to develop the business collateral and maintain the momentum. We are working on a demo version of the product to bring to consumer and innovation awards towards the end of year. Sourcing space for our machinery has been quite challenging. Most available industrial space is too big for us at this and my shed is getting a little crowded!”
Gilligan started building speakers when he was 12-years-old after inheriting my speakers from his grand-uncle. “I disappeared into the garage for days to figure out how they worked and my love for audio has grown since then.”
Gilligan created hundreds of prototypes before arriving at his current design. “Once I proved I could create low frequency notes using plasma, I knew everything else would fall into place,” he says.
Sonarc Innovations’ technology is now at the patent pending stage. “I found the patent offices in Kilkenny very helpful and our patent attorney was great, guiding me through the process. Startups need to know what their USP is and who will buy the product,” Gilligan advises.
“They also need to know why customers might buy the product and why no-one has done this before. Aside from that, entrepreneurs also need focus, determination, persistence and belief in yourself, your team and your product.”