NXT showcased their flat-panel loudspeaker technology today at the 2001 SAE World Congress. NXT hopes to revolutionize in-vehicle audio systems with a technology that allows manufacturers greater freedom with interior vehicle design. NXT’s SurfaceSound high-fidelity loudspeakers require a minimum thickness of 1/64" (0.3mm) and can blend into a vehicle’s interior. They can be incorporated into sun visors and headrests or molded into the dashboard, door panels and interior components.
Sound quality is also a key advantage over traditional cone-type speakers. The patented SurfaceSound technology offers greater range and a smoother sound compared to standard speakers by using a thin, light, rigid panel driven by a small exciter element. This allows sound to vibrate over the vehicle’s entire panel surface. An NXT official says their research has indicated comparable cost savings and weight savings up to 50% over standard speakers.
DaimlerChrysler has incorporated SurfaceSound technology into its Mercedes-Benz S-Class demonstrator car and General Motors Corp. is utilizing the flat-panel speaker technology in its latest concept vehicles: the Buick Bengal, GMC Terracross and Pontiac REV.
The technology was developed at NXT’s research and development facility near Cambridge, England, and is based on a patented theory by The British Ministry of Defense, which exclusively licensed the technology to NXT.