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07-26-2017

Screens become speakers, smartphones can lose micro-speakers

Graham Prophet

eeDesignNewsEurope

Redux (London UK) has followed earlier announcements of its surface-wave-based haptics technology with a version specifically targeted at the smartphone, with which it aspires to “kill off smartphone micro-speakers”.

The company’s surface audio tech from Redux transforms a smartphone screen into a loudspeaker, and also provides haptic feedback. This will, Redux believes, open new design options for phones and change the way users currently interact with mobile devices.

Screens become speakers, smartphones can lose micro-speakers

Redux’s ‘bending-wave' technology vibrates the screen of a smartphone to turn it into a high-quality loudspeaker – removing the need for low-quality micro-speakers. The same technology also delivers haptic sensations exceeding what consumers are used to with existing haptics. Redux’s approach gives the feeling of pressing a mechanical button or moving a slider control underneath your fingertips on the screen with button click effects coming directly from the display.

Redux adds, “Together, these technologies unlock a whole host of design opportunities that have, until today, been impossible. Currently when it comes to design, smartphone manufacturers are restricted by the limitations of the internal components, for example the sheer size of the micro-speaker, the need to cut the front glass for the earpiece speaker and the practical limitations of where to put buttons. This technology enables smartphone manufacturers to completely remove all physical buttons and microspeakers, which in turn will open up new design possibilities – from the exterior design to UX/UI enhancements.

“In addition, the ability to get rid of buttons and the micro-speakers will enable manufacturers to make fully waterproof phones for the first time. As manufacturers look to create totally sealed devices with wireless charging and headphone connections, users will finally be able to use their phones anywhere where there’s water – without worrying about damage.

The technology can also pave the way to better smartphone battery life, as Redux CEO Nedko Ivanov explains: “Our technology enables smartphone manufacturers to reclaim valuable space within phones, which could be filled by a bigger battery. Moreover, our surface audio technology is more power efficient than traditional microspeakers, which means people can play music and watch videos on their phones for longer between charges.” Redux expects the technology to be designed into smartphones in 2018.

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