Physics iPod Speaker Competition


Event Description: Teams of two or three people will build an iPod speaker designed to provide optimal loudness, audio quality, and style. Projects will be evaluated based on performance (45 pts), write-up (45 pts), and aesthetics (10 pts). The design activity will last one week. The write-up will be in the format of a formal lab report


  1. Provided materials are AWG 30 magnet wire, a 0.5” x 0.25” Neodymium magnet, and plastic cups.
  2. A mono audio jack (1/8”) is available in the classroom for testing.
  3. Additional materials are permitted. Procurement of any additional materials is the responsibility of the participants.

Procedural Guide:

  1. Your group should make a plan for evaluating speaker designs.  Speaker performance will vary dramatically based on the materials chosen as well as the shape and construction of the cone and enclosure.  A wise decision would be to plan for a variety of prototype designs to be constructed during the first phase so that they can be evaluated and a candidate group design chosen.  It will be up to your design group to self organize and determine what approach to this competition you wish to take.
  2. Construct and optimize your final speaker configuration, making note of step-by-step procedural instructions and diagrams.  Write up design report.


Design and Report:

Speakers will be evaluated based on their loudness, audio quality, and style.  The accompanying web links are designed to help educate you on speaker design fundamentals and perhaps inspire you to come up with a particularly innovative design.  You are welcome to use the instruments and tools in the classroom for construction and pre-testing of your speaker.  The use of manufactured speakers or speaker components is not allowed. 

Groups may consist of no more than three students.  You must submit individually a formal lab report consistent with the formal lab report guidelines laid out in class. Report must be at least five pages in length and include sketches of your design as well as a discussion about the theory behind your design and any difficulties you may have encountered.  Your entire lab report must be your own.


Speaker Project Scoring Guide

Performance   Max Score
  Speaker Built 9  
  Sound is Heard 9  
  Sound is Distinguishable 9  
  Words are Distinguishable 9  
  Loudness 9  
  Title Page Included 5  
  Introduction in Paragraph Form 5  
  Background and Theory Described (w/diagrams) 5  
  Materials List and Cost Estimate Included 5  
  Procedure Complete 5  
  Data Presented, Diagrams / Pictures Shown 5  
  Analysis Describes Designs Considered 5  
  Analysis Explains Why Final Design Chosen 5  
  Conclusions Describe Improvement Opportunities 5  
  Neatness 5  
  Style 5