Audio and Video

CES 2024: xMEMS gears up to demonstrate solid-state MEMS micro speaker

14 November 2023
The micro speaker replaces traditional coil-and-magnet speakers in audio devices for higher levels of bass and quality of sound. Source: xMEMS Labs

Looking to replace traditional coil-and-magnet speakers in audio devices, chipmaker xMEMS Labs has introduced a solid-state, all-silicon microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) micro speaker for next-generation noise canceling, true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds.

Called Cypress, the technology will be demonstrated at the upcoming CES 2024 show in Las Vegas. xMEMS Labs will show how the ultrasonic modulation turns ultrasonic air pulses into detailed, bass-heavy sound. The 100% solid-state device means every part of the speaker is all-silicon, which xMEMS claims is unlike other designs on the market.

“Some have chosen to take a hybrid approach, where only the actuator is MEMS,” said Mike Housholder, VP of marketing and business development at xMEMS Labs. “The rest of the speaker uses legacy, non-solid-state methods to implement the framing, suspension and diaphragm. It is part MEMS and part legacy speaker. This hybrid approach does not deliver all the benefits, performance and scalability of a true, all-silicon, solid-state MEMS speaker.”

The technology generates an amplitude-modulated ultrasonic wave that follows the amplitude of the intended audio signal and a demodulator to synchronously demodulate the ultrasonic wave. This transfers the acoustic energy down to the baseband to produce audible sound as a result.

Solid benefits

Cypress uses xMEMS existing solid-state speaker architecture. This technology has benefits that include:

  • Faster mechanical response
  • Near-zero phase shift
  • Part-to-part phase consistency
  • Silicon diaphragms to eliminate speaker breakup
  • Non-magnetic
  • Reliability and part-to-part uniformity

What’s next

Housholder said the Cypress MEMS devices are designed to serve personal audio applications like earbuds, headphones, hearing aids and smart glasses that are inside the ear because an inside or near the ear approach allows the company to move quickly to market and generate revenue.

However, “It is xMEMS’ long-term goal to scale our technology to serve free-air loudspeaker applications for mobile, home and automotive,” Housholder said.

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