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The world’s smallest loudspeaker is from Austria

2 March 2017

Austrian company USound is all set for an international launch. Its mini speakers and headphones boast top sound quality.

Founded in 2014, USound is the Graz-based startup behind the world’s thinnest loudspeaker, which is has developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute and the Austrian circuit board manufacturer AT&S.

The new loudspeaker works on a semi-conductor basis and measures just 5 x 7 x 2mm, making it particularly suitable for incorporation into smartphones, hearing aids and headphones. Its very compact dimensions were achieved through the use of MEMS technology (micro-electro-mechanical systems) - miniature components that interact as a digital system.

That means the new loudspeakers take up to 50% less space and use 80% less energy. While current smartphone speakers mostly generally cover a frequency range from 500 to 10,000 Hertz, USound quotes a frequency range for its in-ear headphones of 0Hz to 40kHz. The micro-loudspeakers featured measure 5 x 7 x 2mm and use the piezoelectric material PZT.

USound is also working on flatter MEMS loudspeakers (with a thickness of between 1 and 1.4mm) that could, for example, be used as efficient tweeters in smartphones. According to USound, they should cover a frequency range from 1.8kHz to an ultrasonic 40kHz.

Mass production of the first MEMS in-ear headphones and loudspeakers is just getting started. The loudspeakers are to be manufactured by an Austrian, a Swedish and a US supplier with production facilities in Austria. USound is in talks with large mobile phone corporations and the first customer orders have already come in.


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