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Kyocera develops wafer-thin piezo film speaker for TVs, PCs, tablets

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August 31, 2013

Kyocera's 'Smart Sonic Sound' lightweight piezo film speaker (the medium-size model pictur...

Kyocera's 'Smart Sonic Sound' lightweight piezo film speaker (the medium-size model pictured is 1mm thick and weighs just 7g)

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Japan's Kyocera Corporation has combined a piezoelectric actuator with a special resin film to produce a proprietary, piezo film speaker that is considerably thinner and lighter than conventional electromagnetic speakers, while boasting similar audio levels. The Smart Sonic Sound already provides the audio for LG's 55-inch curved-screen OLED TV and the company hopes it will give designers of future TVs, computers and tablets more scope to place speakers on the front face of products, enabling an overall size reduction and expanding design options.

Smart Sonic Sound comes in three different sizes. The large speaker measures 70 x 110 x 1.5 mm, weighs 23g, and has a frequency range of 200 Hz to 20 kHz. The medium version measures 35 x 65 x 1.0 mm, weighs 7g, and has a frequency range of 500 Hz to 20 kHz. The smallest speaker measures a diminutive 19.6 x 27.5 x 0.7 mm, weighs just 1g, and outputs a frequency of 600 Hz to 20 kHz.

Smart Sonic Sound are featured in LG's 55 inch curved-screen OLED TV (Photo: LG Electronic...

According to Kyocera, the directional projection of sound waves is more balanced than a traditional speaker as the piezo actuator and laminated film create sound through vibrations. The resultant sound quality and volume are delivered at almost equal levels within a 180 degree range creating a more precise audio representation. Kyocera says the Smart Sonic Sound is capable of reproducing “delicate and minute sounds such as raindrops and background effects, with greater clarity,” enhancing audio playback for a more true-to-life listening experience.

LG Electronics’s recently launched 55-inch curved-screen OLED TV is the first TV to use the Smart Sonic Sound piezo film speakers under license from Kyocera. The TV has an extremely thin edge thickness of 4.3 mm making it the ideal candidate with which to launch the new technology to the audio visual market.

Smart Sonic Sound is in fact the second piezoelectric actuator product brought to the digital arena by Kyocera. The Smart Sonic Receiver was introduced by the company in 2012 for smartphones sold in Japan and North America. It uses a ceramic actuator to send vibrations “via tissue conduction and traditional air conduction through display screens without the need for a traditional earpiece or loudspeaker.” The latest Smart Sonic Sound uses the same core technology but with “a different implementation that amplifies air conduction.”

In addition to the Smart Sonic Receiver and Smart Sonic Sound, Kyocera has developed a number of other piezo actuator products using the company’s fine ceramic and lamination technologies. Notable examples include actuators for diesel-engine vehicles and actuators used in the “world’s fastest” inkjet print head. Kyocera has big plans to further develop the use of its actuator technology in the automotive and digital device markets, particularly where size and weight restrictions are limiting design factors.

Sources: Kyocera, LG Electronics

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4 Comments

"According to Kyocera, the directional projection of sound waves is more balanced than a traditional speaker as the piezo actuator and laminated film create sound through vibrations."

Whoa! Now we are talking real novelty.

DonGateley
1st September, 2013 @ 04:18 pm PDT

With a frequency response starting at 200 Hz you will still need a woofer. To do bass you need to move air... lots of it and through a greater distance than higher frequencies. That's why woofers are large and tweeters are small and why tweeters don't appear to move but woofers move a lot. This device could be made with a large surface area to move a lot of air but its "excursion" is very small so it can't move it very far.

And there's the problem at low frequencies.

warren52nz
2nd September, 2013 @ 04:32 pm PDT

Never really understood why this hasn't been done on smart phones before now. After all, the concept of attaching piezo speakers to hard surfaces is not new, so why waste valuable space in the smart phone with conventional speakers (are they still moving coil?) and attach a piezo speaker to the back of the smart phones screen instead? Still got the base sound to worry about, though. MW

Martin Winlow
2nd September, 2013 @ 11:53 pm PDT

For those who like the bass, Subwoofers are not going away in this lifetime!

200 Hz is decent enough for small devices and mobile applications. Anything large should simply have an accompanying good 3 or 4 inch woofer to take it down to 85Hz or so. And then add the hidden away sub for the full range

3razer
3rd September, 2013 @ 02:43 am PDT
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