The first speakerless car stereo systemCompact Cars, Bridgend
The first speakerless car stereo system
As the sound systems in our cars become ever more sophisticated and advanced, so does the need for additional peripherals such as speakers. While car speakers might provide the surround-sound experience that we all crave, they also take up valuable space and add weight to the vehicle.
However, speakers could soon be consigned to the pages of history, if the latest invention from car technology specialists Continental is anything to go by.
Boffins at Continental have just unveiled the world’s first speakerless car stereo system, which uses surfaces such as the dashboard, roof and seats to transmit sound. They recently showcased the technology in a standard Mercedes C-Class, in which the speakers had been replaced by sound actuators. These create sound by causing vibrations on different surfaces of the vehicle.
Conventional speakers have a magnet and a coil that cause a membrane to vibrate and transmit sound. The speakerless system uses the same principle, but instead of the membrane, it uses the various surfaces of the vehicle. In effect, this means that your whole car is turned into a speaker on wheels.
Different components of a car are better suited to different sound frequencies. For example, the A-pillars suit high frequencies, while the roof panel makes a perfect subwoofer.
The future in car audio?
So, will we all be driving along in rolling speakers in the years to come? Continental’s Director of Engineering Services, Dimitrios Patsouras, thinks that this is possible. He commented that the technology is 90 per cent lighter than existing technology and also consumes less energy, making it a win/win from a fuel efficiency perspective.
However, he warned that despite the positive sounds from the prototype, it will be several more years before the product will be fully developed for general production.