LG Display has unveiled an innovative new “invisible” speaker technology for cars, featuring a flat-panel system that can be easily placed in car headrests and dashboard.
Developed to directly replace the traditional car speakers by the South Korean technological giant, the Thin actuator sound solution (opens in new tab) The system eliminates the protruding voice coils, cones and magnets found in most loudspeakers and instead uses a film-like exciter membrane.
They can vibrate into dashboards and various materials within the car’s interior, with LG claiming they can produce a “rich, immersive 3D sound experience”.
The panels measure just 5.9 x 3.5 inches and are just a tenth of an inch thick, with a light weight of 1.4 ounces, “without compromising on sound quality,” according to LG.
That slim design means the speakers can be situated almost anywhere in a vehicle’s interior, with the tech giant suggesting they could be hidden inside upholstery and pillars, as well as headrests and dashboards.
The flat speaker system appears to be based on the CSO (opens in new tab) (Cinematic Sound OLED), which LG Display showcased on an OLED TV where the display panel vibrates to generate audio without the need for dedicated speakers. A similar innovative vibrating panel system is also used in Sony’s high-end TVs, including the Sony A95K.
LG, however, claimed that the Thin Actuator Sound Solution was developed with an unnamed “global audio company”.
LG Display says it expects the speakers to start showing up in new car interiors in the first half of next year, with the general public ready to hear for the first time when the technology is shown off in January at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. .
Review: Nothing flat about this car audio innovation
On the heels of NTT’s recent announcement of their leak-free, open-back headphones, this new development from LG Display indicates that we’re entering a new era of how we’ll be able to consume audio.
If the speakers sound as good as LG claims, we’d expect automakers to quickly adopt the technology as the benefits seem crystal clear.
Manufacturers would have more room to play around in the cockpit and dash area, as well as freeing up space for thinner door frames in the passenger area, as they would no longer need to incorporate a conical speaker. Its lightweight structure would also provide significant weight savings and, in turn, efficiency for the vehicle.
The most exciting prospect for us is that the Thin Actuator Sound Solution may also allow for a greater number of speakers that can be freely positioned within the vehicle’s interior. While LG didn’t mention this at its launch, we’re really curious to find out whether the technology works when placed on the ceiling – if so, it could really open up some interesting multi-speaker support for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos.
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