The invisible speakers created by LG could transform automobile audio: Flat panel systems that can be readily installed in headrests and car dashboards are the foundation of LG Display’s new “invisible” speaker technology for autos.
Developed as a direct replacement by the South Korean tech giant for traditional speakers in vehicles, the Thin Actuator Sound Solution(opens in new tab) system does away with the standard protruding voice coils, cones, and magnets seen in most speakers and instead uses a film-like exciter membrane.
These can vibrate off panels and various materials within the car interior with LG claiming it can generate a “rich, 3D immersive sound experience”.
The panels’ size is just 5.9 x 3.5 inches and importantly just a tenth of an inch thick, with a featherlight weight of 1.4 ounces, “without compromising sound quality,” according to LG.
That tiny form means the speakers could be put practically anywhere within the interior of a vehicle, with the tech giant saying they might be hidden inside headliners and pillars, as well as headrests and dashboards.
The flat speaker system looks to be based on the CSO(opens in new tab) (Cinematic Sound OLED), which LG Display has shown off in an OLED TV where the display panel vibrates to generate audio without the need for dedicated speakers. Sony’s high-end TVs, including the Sony A95K, make use of a similarly ingenious vibrating panel mechanism.
LG has however announced that Thin Actuator Sound Solution has been created with an undisclosed “global audio company”.
LG Display claims the speakers will first emerge in new vehicles somewhere in the first half of 2023, and that CES 2023 in Las Vegas will be where the general public gets its first chance to hear them.
This innovative car audio system is examined and found to be excellent.
Coming quick on the heels of NTT’s recent release of its leak-free, open-earphones, this new development from LG Display shows we’re moving towards a new era of how we’ll be able to consume audio.
If the speakers sound as fantastic as LG claims, then we’d expect car manufacturers to soon adopt the tech as the benefits look crystal evident.
Makers would have more freedom to experiment within the cockpit and dashboard area, while also freeing up room for smaller door frames in the passenger section as they would no longer have to contain a coned speaker. Their featherlight structure would also make for a huge saving in weight and in turn efficiency for the vehicle.
We find most promising the possibility that the Thin Actuator Sound Solution will make it possible to install more speakers in more strategic locations within the cabins of vehicles. While LG hasn’t addressed it in their release, we’re particularly keen to find out if the tech works when installed in the ceiling — if so it could really open up some intriguing multi-speaker support for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos.