Kyocera Corp. has announced that it has developed an ultra-thin, lightweight (medium size 1mm, weight 7g) audio device which utilizes piezoelectric actuator combined with a special film to create a piezo film speaker. The technology is called Smart Sonic Sound.
The new product is based on the company’s long history of pioneering fine ceramic technology and utilizes a piezoelectric actuator combined with a special film to create a piezo film speaker. Smart Sonic Sound will not only contribute to making digital devices even thinner – such as flat-screen TVs, PCs and tablets – but also enhances audio quality for a much more realistic audio experience. Its low directivity characteristics broaden the sound projection range, providing 180-degree sound quality and bringing delicate and minute sounds to life.
The piezo actuator used in the new product was born from Kyocera’s proprietary fine ceramic material technology and lamination technology, combined with a special film. Smart Sonic Sound can create the same audio volume as conventional electromagnetic speakers in just a fraction of the width and weight. This allows for the speaker device to be built onto the front face of an end-product with ease — contributing to flexibility and enhancements in end-product designs.
As the new product’s piezo actuator and film create sound through vibrations, the directivity (directional projection of sound waves) is more balanced than a conventional speaker, meaning that sound quality and volume are delivered almost completely equally within a 180 degree range. Moreover, the high speed of responsivity in the Smart Sonic Sound is able to reproduce delicate and minute sounds such as raindrops and background effects with greater clarity, thus providing an even more realistic audio experience.
The piezo actuator audio technology is being utilized in a flat-screen television for the first time by LG Electronics in the company’s new 55” curved-screen OLED TV.
Currently there is a growing demand for further downsizing (thickness and weight) of flat-screen TVs, PCs and other digital devices. However, up until now there has been a limit to the achievable thinness of such devices due to the size of conventionally-used cone-shaped electromagnetic speakers, which has confined design and engineering layouts. Furthermore, as organic light-emitting displays (OLED) and 4K ultra-high-definition screens create a superior visual experience, it has become necessary for audio technology to rise to new heights as well.
Smart Sonic Sound comes in three different sizes (large, medium and small), and Kyocera plans to expand its use in a broad range of applications including digital devices and automotive applications with strict weight requirements.
This is the second audio innovation from Kyocera in recent years. The company launched the award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver in early 2012, revolutionizing how sounds are heard exclusively on Kyocera mobile phones for the Japan and U.S. markets. Smart Sonic Receiver 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, making it ideal for clear audio in exceptionally noisy environments. The new Smart Sonic Sound technology uses the same base technology but with a different implementation that amplifies air conduction.