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Sony, Audio Pixels team on low-cost MEMS speakers

Posted: 02 Aug 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS  digital speakers  speaker technology 

Sony Corp. and Australia's Audio Pixels Holdings Ltd team on developing low-cost MEMS digital speakers, which offer better performance than conventional speaker technologies, in an affordable, 1mm thick package.

The companies will be using Audio Pixel's patented MEMS digital speakers, while Sony will provide most of the funding for the project. The companies plan to transition the technology into a mass-manufacturable product.

Audio Pixels' patented technologies employ entirely new techniques to generate sound waves directly from a digital audio stream using low-cost MEMS rather than conventional loudspeaker elements.

Audio Pixels MEMS-based Digital Sound Reconstruction platform enables the market for audio speakers to follow the evolution of the video display market from large, heavy analogue tube based monitors to the digital flat panel displays of today. Driving the rationale for change in audio speakers is the ever-increasing demand for smaller, thinner, clearer sounding, more power-efficient speakers. Conventional speaker technologies remain deeply rooted in the original voice coil inventions of Alexander Graham Bell. The inherent limitations of such speakers prohibit the delivery of quality sound in smaller packages. Audio Pixels innovative patents in the fields of electromechanical structures, pressure generation, acoustic wave generation and control, signal processing and packaging, combine to forever change this paradigm.

Sony has already delivered the first batch of phase-one development chips for testing to Audio Pixels' Israel facility on June 17.

Once the development and testing phases are completed, both parties hope to extend the joint development agreement into a formal commercial licence agreement. Sony intends to transition into a mass-manufacturing partner where it will be able to supply the final product into its diverse range of consumer devices.

Upon achieving mass production capabilities Audio Pixels plans to sell and/or license its products to the manufacturers of speakers and consumer electronic devices worldwide. These manufacturers collectively consume billions of speaker units annually. Audio Pixels will produce and sell a single type of silicon chip that can be used either as a stand-alone speaker or cascaded in any multiples of the same chip in order to achieve the desired performance specifications.

- Jean-Pierre Joosting
   EE Times

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