New tech set to kill off smartphone micro-speakers
Published: 20 April 2017 - 12:00 - Amy Wallington
In a world-first technological breakthrough, Redux has announced the launch of its new surface audio and high-fidelity haptic tech specifically for smartphones. The breakthrough will pave the way for new design options for phones and change the way users currently interact with mobile devices.
Redux’s ‘bending-wave' technology vibrates the screen of a smartphone to turn it into a high-quality loudspeaker — removing the need for tinny, low-quality micro-speakers. The same technology also delivers the world’s most realistic haptic sensations going way beyond 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.
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. But Redux’s tech 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.”
The breakthrough in making the technology available today has come off the back of more than 20 years of research and development yielding over 150 granted patents, as Nedko continues: “We’d successfully made the technology available for PCs and automotive infotainment screens prior to today, and the next challenge for us was to make it available for smartphones, where there’s a huge opportunity to enhance the user experience with better sound and touch.”
Redux expects the technology to be designed into smartphones in 2018.