Odd Prods
Woojer
Portable Woofer

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 29th, 2014

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Well, when I first heard about Woojer, I was somewhat skeptical. How could a tiny device that clicks to my clothes possibly make my games and music more immersive? Even as I opened the box sent by Woojer to check out their product, I was still a little doubtful. Well, folks, the body is a wondrous machine – and some intelligent people (I’m referring to the folks that developed Woojer) have figured out how to fool it, so that you really do feel like part of the action.

In a nutshell, Woojer is a silent, wearable device that emits low-frequency vibrations that are triggered by an audio signal. The matchbox-sized device has two 3.5mm audio jacks and acts as an audio pass-through of sorts (one port faces your audio source while the other faces your listening device). On the back of the unit is a clip that can be used to hook Woojer up to your belt; there is also an extremely strong magnet attached to the outside of the clip, so you can wear it on any article of your clothing that’s strong enough to hold it (you simply put the magnet on the inside of your clothes and clip Woojer to the outside). The device weighs a little bit (about 73 grams), so it will hang a little bit, depending on how elastic your clothes are – but it will stay in place.

Once turned on, Woojer takes the bass end of the signal from the audio source and translates it into a vibrational pulse, not unlike haptic feedback on many console controllers and smartphones. Since it emits no noise, Woojer cannot be heard by those around you – but once it is attached to you, it can certainly be felt. While the device can be placed anywhere, it is recommended to place it on one of two “hot spots”: directly in front of the sternum (attached to your shirt), or clipped to your belt at the back of your pants, directly opposite the spine.

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Box contents.

I decided to take Woojer for a spin, so I charged it up and once it was ready, I hooked it up to my chest and started playing music. Aside from the on/off switch, located on one side of the device, there is an “intensity” switch on the opposite side (with 3 settings). I cranked this up and played some bassy rap music and was instantly mystified. I changed over to the score from the first Hobbit film and closed my eyes, and I was instantly rewarded with the feeling that I was sitting next to the orchestra. Who knew that a small box that rumbled could fool the body into believing that it was being exposed to far more sound than it actually was?

Now that my curiosity had been properly piqued, I unplugged Woojer from my iPod Touch and inserted the connector into the audio port of my PS4’s DualShock 4 controller and placed Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor in the tray. As I snuck around Mordor, gentle vibrations began, reflecting some of the rumbling in the background from the landscape itself – the immersion was beginning. Eventually, I ran into a party of Uruks, and every deeply-spoken syllable – every sword-smashing impact – was captured, making me feel like the force feedback was being fed right into my skeleton. Again, my body was fooled into believing that it was experiencing a much bigger feeling than just audio from my headset (and the rumbling from the controller).

What really blew me away is how Woojer increased immersion by allowing me to feel the differences in the sound itself. The feeling of a sword clanging off of the skull of an enemy is far different from the vibrations from an automatic weapon. Having the rumbling feedback from my controller in my hands, coupled with the vibrations in my chest both worked hand in hand (in hand) with the audio from my headset to convey subtle differentiation between different sounds. It truly is remarkable – and with the ability to pump out the pulses for just over 3 hours (based on a full charge), it will more than last for a typical gaming session (and can be recharged via the USB port between the 3.5mm jacks).

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That clip is stronger than you think.

Like other niche products (like the Stinky Footboard), Woojer is somewhat pricy. At around $100, you will have to determine whether or not a higher level of immersion is for you or not. It’s also important to note that you will need a wired headset that you can plug into Woojer, since it requires a wired connection to the audio source. I know that most people favour wireless headsets – but a number of the better-quality ones have jacks for wired use. That being said, I’m trying to figure out if there is a way for me to fool my consoles (and I’ll get back to you if I can figure this out). One last thing to note; I was speaking with a friend of mine who had also experienced Woojer, and he mentioned that the effects of immersion increase with the quality of the bass on your headset. Indeed, this is the case. Trying Woojer with a pare of cheap earbuds is a lot different than wearing a pair of headphones with 45mm bass drivers. It makes sense – the body can only fill in so many gaps, after all.

If you are seeking a higher level of immersion from your music and games, Woojer is definitely a product worth thinking about. While it may be a bit on the expensive side (especially when you consider its size), this simple device does a fantastic job of supplementing the output from great headphones with that little something extra to convince your body that it is feeling a lot more than it actually is. Woojer ships with the device, a magnetic chest clip, an audio cable (male to male 3.5mm), a dual port USB charger (wall-plug), a USB-to-microUSB cable, a user guide and a carrying pouch. Why not check out Woojer’s web site, and you can see what it’s all about – and maybe you’ll be feeling what it’s all about shortly after.

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