Home Technology LG Display announces vibrating panel that turns parts of a car interior into speakers

LG Display announces vibrating panel that turns parts of a car interior into speakers

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In brief: We’ve already seen TVs that use vibrating panels instead of traditional speaker setups to produce sound. Now LG Display has transferred the technology to a new area: vehicles. The company has announced the Thin Actuator Sound Solution, which it says will usher in a new era of vehicle infotainment.

LG Display writes that the solution uses its film-type exciter technology, which creates sounds by vibrating display panels and various materials in the body to enable a rich, immersive 3D sound experience.

Developed in collaboration with an unnamed global audio company, the vibrating panel is only about the size of a passport (150mm x 90mm) and its 2.5mm thickness is about the same as two coins stuck together. At 40g, it is about 30% the weight and 10% the thickness of a conventional car speaker, which is often large and heavy due to components such as the voice coil, cone, and magnet.

That small size means the device can be installed in locations in the car such as the dashboard, headliner, pillar and headrests. LG Display also promotes the eco-friendly properties of its solution: it excludes the use of rare earth metals such as neodymium (Nd) typically used in conventional loudspeakers.

It’s often the case that such technologies are closer to concepts with no specific release date, but LG Display says it plans to launch production of the Thin Actuator Sound Solution for cars in the first half of next year, so we could see it show up in commercial vehicles sooner than you might expect.

The company will demonstrate its technology at CES 2023 in Las Vegas in January. The Thin Actuator Sound Solution has already received the event’s Innovation Award (‘In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety’ category) from the Consumer Technology Association in recognition of its space efficiency, design innovation, sound experience innovation and environmental friendliness.

Back in August, LG unveiled a 97-inch OLED panel that creates “cinematic” 5.1 sound using a thin-film exciter on the back to vibrate the screen. The same technology is also part of the Sony Bravia AG9 OLED TV, which is loved by several YouTube tech outlets, including Linus Sebastian.

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