The time to retire those clunky outdated in-car speaker systems has finally arrived, as LG Display has unveiled a new ultraslim sound technology that the company is advertising as an “invisible” speaker solution for automobiles. Speaker systems in vehicles have mostly remained the same, despite all the advancements in the in-car infotainment space and the car industry itself. LG is now ready to overhaul this with its newly developed Thin Actuator Sound Solution (TASS), which basically wraps up all the bulky parts that constitute a conventional speaker (drivers, magnets, cones, voice coils) into a superslim passport-sized vibrating panel to render sound. Thus, “ushering in a new era of vehicle infotainment.”
These invisible speakers use LG Display’s “film-type exciter technology” that “allows the device to vibrate off display panels and various materials inside the car body to enable a rich, 3D immersive sound experience.” The Thin Actuator Sound Solution aka the invisible speakers is truly a smart innovation, that if executed rightly, can change the car speaker industry as we know it. Traditionally, car speakers have always been heavy, space-consuming, and can only be fitted in just certain areas. But that’s just not the case with LG’s so-called invisible speakers.
The TASS measures just 150mm x 90mm in size and has a thickness of 2.5mm, meaning it can be installed in places like the dashboard, headliner, pillar, headrests, or any other surface that can be used for sound. It even eliminates the need for speaker grills, all thanks to TASS’s built-in nature. The panel weighs merely 40gms, “making it just 30 per cent of the weight and 10 per cent of the thickness of a conventional car speaker,” explains LG. Owing to its slim design, the speaker can open up a lot of free space which is usually occupied by traditional speakers “without compromising sound quality.”
What’s more, is that the TASS refrains from using rare earth elements, that are widely used in traditional speaker systems. Thus, presenting users with a more eco-friendly solution. During the reveal of LG’s invisible speakers, Yeo Chun-ho, vice president and head of the Business Development Division at LG Display, said, “We have transformed the conventionally heavy and bulky speaker into a high-quality ‘invisible’ sound solution by using our cutting-edge technology to elevate space, design, and eco-friendly factors and provide a next-level sound experience like none before.”
The Thin Actuator Sound Solution has been developed by LG in partnership with an unnamed global audio company. LG Display says it plans to commercialize production of the invisible speaker for cars in the first half of 2023, but we’ll get to see/hear how these actually stack up in January at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
This concept of rendering sound via vibrating panels isn’t entirely new and the tech is used in several high-end OLED TVs. But beyond that, we haven’t seen much of these. What will be interesting to see is how LG intends to make this Thin Actuator Sound Solution technology readily available to the masses at large, while simultaneously ensuring the superb sound quality that we are used to hearing.