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The world’s smallest loudspeaker is from Austria

March 2, 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.