Tech The Halls

Locals create hip, new technology, just in time for the gift-giving season

In Santa Cruz, we’re all about shopping local and supporting fellow community members in all of their creative endeavors. This holiday season, we have the opportunity to continue that tradition, by giving gifts created by talented area residents who are making waves in the tech world.

The Cuboid

Dathan Black, a Santa Cruz native, who joined the military at 18, and now works for the army in South Korea with his wife and three kids, designed and manufactures The Cuboid by Clarus Audio. 


The Cuboid is a sleek, rectangular portable speaker that fits nicely into the palm of your hand. It comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, and pink, to match each individual’s personality, and produces unbelievably high-quality sound thanks to its two internal speakers. Perhaps bigger is not always better.

Compatible with smart phones, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, micro-SD cards, USB drives and more, The Cuboid is the perfect gift for people on-the-go. Whether you are headed to the beach, going camping, or love a good flash-mob, this product is great for providing the soundtrack you crave, with strong projection. Plus, it comes with a FM receiver, so you can listen to the radio.

With only five buttons to maneuver on the front of the speaker, The Cuboid is extremely user-friendly—something both technophiles and the technologically challenged can appreciate. 

Each system comes with two lithium batteries and a charging cable. On average, it takes four hours to charge The Cuboid for the first time, then only one and a half hours thereafter. 

Compared to the Jawbone Jambox, The Cuboid is a less pricey option—it retails for $65, as opposed to $199.99—and is smaller in size. The one drawback, is that The Cuboid does not have Bluetooth capability, unlike its competitor. 

iLyte Charger

Alternatively, Geoffrey Nelson, a resident of the Tannery Arts Center, has recently released an iPhone dock, known as the iLyte Charger.

Made with aluminum and sand-blasted Lucite, the iLyte Charger is great for charging an iPhone during any time of the day, but it really comes to life in the dark with seven color-changing LEDs, which are embedded into the base of the dock. 


As the LEDs cycle through their light patterns, the iLyte Charger becomes a fun light show for all to enjoy, making it a great gift for Burning Man enthusiasts and families with young children.

While the stand itself is a bit heavy, and therefore, not very portable, it would be a great addition to a bedside table or a desk. The iLyte Charger comes with a power cord that plus into a USB outlet for charging through a computer, and it can also be ordered with an optional AC power cube that will connect directly into a wall outlet.

The stand is made in such a way that it’s easy to use the touch screen, while the iPhone sits on the dock, and the power cable that comes with it has a second 3.5mm outlet to plug into portable speakers for high quality sound. An added bonus: The iPhone case does not need to be removed to charge with the iLyte. 

We recommend combining the iLyte with a sound-activated app like Anemone, which transforms the charger into what Nelson calls “The Lava Lamp of the 21st Century.”

For more details or to purchase The Cuboid ($65), visit clarusaudio.com. For more details or to purchase The iLyte Charger ($69.90 with USB outlet only, $74.90 with USB/AC cube adapter), visit ilytedock.com.

To Top