Smallest micro speaker uses PCB & MEMS technology

February 07, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Graz (Austria)-based start-up USound, in partnership with several Fraunhofer Institutes (IDMT, ISIT, IIS and IZM) and utilizing PCB technology together with system integration expertise from AT&S, has developed what is not only the world’s smallest speaker, but also the first based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

With dimensions of 5 x 7 x 2 mm, the micro-speaker has a frequency range of 2-15 kHz. Specialist PCB supplier AT&S is a technology partner of USound. Development of the MEMS micro-speaker uses innovations in materials, silicon integration and packaging. With advanced packaging solutions, the MEMS loudspeaker itself, its ASIC drive circuits and passive elements can be integrated into a tiny component with an extremely small form factor.

 

AT&S developed not only optimised PCB technology, but also special process engineering solutions for component and semiconductor packaging – from embedding passive components to complete System-in-Boards (SiB) and System-in-Packages (SiP).

 

While MEMS components are widely used as acceleration and tilt sensors, and as microphones, in smartphones, wearables and vehicles, MEMS-based speakers did not exist until now. By eliminating the coil and magnet found in conventional solutions, MEMS speakers achieve extremely small dimensions along with low power consumption and very good sound quality.

USound will transfer the presented technology into mass production. The new generation of speakers based on semiconductor technology is set to come to market in 2018. They will require only half as much space and 80% less power than their predecessors. USound is also aiming to create better sound quality with its MEMS speakers than with conventional speakers.

 

USound GmbH; www.usound.com

 

AT&S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik Aktiengesellschaft; www.ats.net