Wireless headphones with MEMS speakers for the Internet of Voice
Many users are now increasingly accepting voice-based Internet services as a central component of future data processing. For instance, in the car, on the smartphone, and in the living room. Renowned hardware and content providers are similarly focusing their business on those products which are also to be used in Internet-enabled mobile terminals worn directly in the ear. There are numerous voice-based services available today. Examples include simultaneous translators, payment services and marketing solutions. The vision of an Internet of Voice worn permanently in the ear is thus taking shape. The hearables which are predestined for this are increasingly laying claim to the legacy of smartphones and emancipating themselves from the less smart Bluetooth headsets.
In the future, hearables will contain not only audio technologies, but also powerful processors for data processing and will be directly connected to the Internet via wireless interfaces. Similar to the GPUs for smartphone displays, the processors (along with the wireless interfaces) will thus dominate the energy requirements of future hearables and, consequently, dominate their battery runtime. Since the space available in the ear and, therefore, the capacity of the battery is very limited, all other components will have to run on a very small energy budget in order to ensure sufficient battery life.
The Fraunhofer IPMS has developed a new, power-efficient acoustic transducer principle for a central core component of the hearables – the in-ear speaker – and has presented it in the Journal of Nature Microsystems and Nanoengineering. By publishing the scientific findings, reviewers agreed to the novelty and significance. This makes the innovative approach accessible to a broad expert audience.
Since submission of the results to the journal at the beginning of the year, the work has continued intensively. The improved next generation MEMS speaker is already in the laboratory. In addition to further improved linearity and higher sound pressure levels, the control voltage, and consequently the power consumption, has been further reduced in this speaker.
Apart from increasing the characteristic values further, the focus of work at IPMS is now moving increasingly towards integration, especially with control electronics.
You can look forward to further news on innovations of the future and are welcome to contact us!