ND students bring new speaker technology to the U.S.
Grace McDermott | Thursday, October 26, 2017
Two Notre Dame students recently created their own corporation, Flato, Inc., so that they could acquire an American patent for a new type of speaker technology from Korea. The final product, the Mini-O, is described as “pocket-sized and powerful.”
Junior Brian Cho and sophomore Peter Moeckel acquired the patent for the Flat Magnetic Speaker technology from Korean company HMLink in September. Cho said he and Moeckel worked with the company and to create their own corporation.
“For the past two summers, I worked at this start-up company in Korea and they had this patented technology,” Cho said. “They were looking for the U.S. partner and I met Peter while trying to start my own business in another area. I really wanted to try because I loved the idea when I was working there.”
To raise funds for the Mini-O project, the two finance majors launched a Kickstarter with a goal of raising $10,000. They have already surpassed the mark, raising over $12,000 so far.
Moeckel outlined the technology that makes the Flato speakers unique.
“The speaker technology basically rearranges the magnets in the speakers,” Moeckel said. “The cone-shaped diaphragm is in all your speakers right now, in your computer and phone, and it puts limitations on speaker size. Our technology allows speakers to be thinner and lighter and more affordable while still producing a high quality sound.”
However, both students made clear that the speaker production is a jumping-off point for what they hope will become a technology company that works across different industries.
“Right now, we’re producing these speakers, and that’s the consumer’s piece,” Moeckel said. “Long term, we want to expand the sphere to bigger companies.”
Cho spoke of the potential that the technology could have for other products and industries.
“We have the right to use the patent, and what we ultimately want to do is buy out the patent from [HMLink] and start a tech firm because there is so much potential,” Cho said. “We can use it for many different products — it can go into an automobile, it can go into anywhere.”
Cho and Moeckel expanded their team earlier this year to include two new members.
“We looked at people who were really interested, we really valued those who took initiative in talking to us,” Cho said.
When asked about what the near future holds for Flato, Cho said that they anticipate creating larger speakers within the next year.
“We’re getting larger dorm party speakers this December, which will show the drastic difference between our speakers and others,” Cho said.