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Advanced Micro-Speakers in 3D-Sound Headphones

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  • MEMS speakers developed by USound and manufactured by STMicroelectronics combine minuscule size, low profile, and high efficiency enabling multiple speakers in wearable form factors
  • Headphone demonstration shows how hardware-based 3D-audio, enabled by these tiny speaker units, boosts augmented/virtual reality

Geneva, Switzerland, and Graz, Austria, February 26, 2018 – STMicroelectronics is to host USound, which will present their tiny silicon micro-speakers in an immersive 3D-sound headphone demo at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

The demonstration presents over-the-ear headphones that contain 14 of the miniature, low-profile speakers to create lifelike 3D-audio effects. These allow wearers to localize events occurring to the right, left, behind, or elsewhere, in a sonic virtual or augmented reality, giving a rich and immersive user experience that could enhance visual AR and VR worlds. With their large bandwidth and high-quality bass, the speakers are capable of highly realistic sound reproduction.

“The demonstration at MWC 2018 shows how the tiny dimensions and good sound quality of these advanced speakers enable lifelike 3D sound,” said Anton Hofmeister, Vice President and GM of MEMS Microactuators Division, STMicroelectronics. “Thanks to our PeTra (Piezo-electric Transducer) Technology we are helping USound to target high volume markets and enable revolutionary new applications.”

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Ferruccio Bottoni, CEO of USound, added, “We already have a development kit available for these 3D headphones featuring our advanced silicon micro-speakers, to help customers create revolutionary audio products for gaming, general entertainment, leisure, and professional uses such as training or simulation.”

USound’s micro-speakers feature industry-unique, high-precision piezo-electric actuators, which simultaneously enable small size, low power consumption, low heat dissipation, and very high sound quality, unmatched by conventional electro-dynamic balanced-armature speakers. Audio equipment producers can take advantage of these attributes to create hardware-based wearable 3D-audio products that accurately recreate a real acoustic environment.

ST’s Piezo-electric Transducer technology (PeTra) and MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems) manufacturing processes provided the keys to realizing the manufacturing of such tiny speakers as market-ready products within an aggressive project timeline, leveraging proven techniques similar to conventional MEMS and CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) chip fabrication. The actuators are extremely small, reliable, and can be manufactured economically in high volumes.

The demonstration of USound’s silicon MEMS speakers takes place at the ST booth, Hall 7, Stand 7A61, Mobile World Congress, February 26 to March 1, 2018. For further information about development kits and speaker availability, please contact USound.


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