LG Display has developed a new “invisible” speaker technology for vehicles that uses a passport-sized vibrating panel to generate sound. It was developed with an unnamed “global audio company” and is expected to be ready for car interiors next year for installation in places like the dashboard and headliner.
The south-Korean tech giant’s Thin Actuator Sound Solution is being promoted as a replacement for traditional speaker systems within cars and other vehicles. Unlike current in-car speaker systems that use heavy components like voice coils, cones, and magnets, the Thin Actuator Sound Solution uses LG Display’s film-type exciter technology to generate sound by vibrating off display panels and various materials within the vehicle, which LG Display claims results in a “rich, 3D immersive sound experience.”
The panel itself is 2.5-mm thick (that’s about two coins stacked) and measures 150mm x 90mm (5.9 x 3.5 inches), enabling it to be installed in unconventional locations such as the dashboard, headliner, pillar, and headrests. The panel also weighs 40g (1.4 ounces) — making it just 30 percent of the weight and 10 percent of the thickness of a conventional car speaker, according to LG Display.
Both LG Display and Sony have used similar vibrating panels in OLED TVs, but while the technology itself isn’t a completely new innovation we’ve yet to see it adopted as a widespread replacement for traditional sound systems. LG Display says it plans to commercialize production of the Thin Actuator Sound Solution for cars in the first half of next year, but we’ll get to hear how it actually performs in January at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.