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The Most advanced audio systems for personal applications based on MEMS technology

USound MEMS speakers - Ganymede Series

Techmezine interacted with Marco Rinaldi,Technical Sales Engineer,USound about MEMS Technology .

Marco Rinaldi - USound (1)

1. Please tell me about USound ?

USound is a fast-growing audio company based in Austria that is developing and producing the most advanced audio systems for personal applications based on MEMS technology. Founded in 2014 and now with more than 70 employees, USound is the first company to have launched MEMS loudspeakers on the market.

In fact, USound first generation loudspeakers, Adap UT-P2019 and Achelous UT-P2018, are currently the only available speakers on the market that are based on MEMS technology and can be purchased via Digi-Key and other distributors all over the world. During the last few years, a wide range of reference designs such as in-ear headphones (Megaclite) and audio modules for eyewear (Danube 5v0) have been designed in order to showcase how MEMS technology can be implemented in modern audio applications. USound will soon release a smart audio amplifier specifically designed to drive USound MEMS speakers and is currently developing the second generation of MEMS speakers which will soon be available as well on the market.

2. What is the technology behind MEMS ?

Our base technology relies on piezoelectricity and semiconductor processes. Materials exhibiting piezoelectric characteristics extend or shrink when an electric field is applied across the electrodes. In USound speakers, a system of cantilevers transfers this movement to a piston that gets pushed up and down.

This MEMS motor replaces the traditional moving coil in a magnetic field of electrodynamic speakers.

Since the piezoelectric layers can be created using semiconductor-processes there is no need for winding coils and using heavy magnets. This not only lowers the total weight but also strongly improves manufacturing tolerances, because semiconductor processes are highly controlled.

Finally, mounting a multi-layer diaphragm increases the effective area, leading to superior performance compared to other MEMS loudspeakers. The major resulting advantages from this technology are therefore a smaller size compared to other speakers, tighter tolerances due to a fully automated manufacturing process and the possibility of integrating the speaker in the system with a reflow soldering process.

It is also possible to produce MEMS speakers with this process without using ferromagnetic materials, which makes the use of these speakers inside MRI/fMRI-machines possible!

3. Please introduce Adap MEMS Speakers and its application focus?

Adap is a member of the Ganymede family of USound MEMS speakers. Unlike Achelous, Adap is optimized for acceleration, and a linear frequency response in free-field.
Due to its small size of just 6.7×4.7 mm and 1.6 mm thickness, it is used as a tweeter in micro-2-way systems, which combine small size and excellent audio performance. This miniaturization is particularly important in audio-eyewear and AR-/VR-glasses, where a micro-2-way system allows for a higher flexibility with the industrial design, since each part is smaller than a traditional large electrodynamic woofer.

4. Please introduce Achelous MEMS Speakers and its application focus?

Achelous is part of the Ganymede series of USound MEMS speakers. Unlike Adap, Achelous is optimized for excursion, and a linear frequency response in occluded-ear scenarios, like in in-ear headphones.
Due to its small size of just 6.7×4.7 mm and 1.6 mm thickness, it is used as a fullrange-speaker in USB-C and TWS earphones, where its small size allows the space to be used for other components, such as a larger battery or additional sensors.

5. Please introduce Conamara MEMS Speakers and its application focus?

Conamara is the 2nd generation of USound MEMS speakers, it consists of models with a diameter of 5 mm, 6 mm and 10 mm. The size has been reduced further, with the smallest speaker being only 1.3 mm thick. The MEMS motor has been completely redesigned, and now offers a higher force, higher resilience and more

accurate reproduction Due to the small size and circular shape, the main application will be USB-C and TWS

earphones where miniaturization of components is the most important factor.

6. Please share a few details around the company’s expansion and growth plans in Asia.

USound’s main focuses are currently TWS and AR/VR applications and in the last few years the market has seen a constant growth in demand for such devices, especially in Asia. Thus, it has been a natural step for USound to closely cooperate with asian companies from the very beginning. This led to having a constantly

expanding office in Shenzhen, a Sales team dedicated for asian customers and different distributors in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. At the moment USound is collaborating with several customers based in Asia on the development of both customized speakers and audio solutions for personal audio applications.

 

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