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February 23, 1999

NEW TECHNOLOGY LETS COMPUTER SCREEN DOUBLE AS SPEAKER

By CBR Staff Writer

A UK company has developed a new technology that will enable computer screens to act as loudspeakers — removing the need for a separate device. NXT Plc, a developer of flat panel speakers, says it has found a way to resonate the material in a screen to provide good quality sound without any reduction in the quality of picture on the screen. They believe the new technology, called SoundVu, will be of particular advantage to mobile products such as communications handsets and personal organizers, which will benefit from the space- and weight-saving advantages. NXTÆs basic technology creates sound from flat surfaces, but traditionally the exciter – which causes the surface to vibrate, creating sound – has been in the middle of the surface. To make it work with computer screens, the exciter had to be positioned at the edge of the screen, which, according to the company, involved some highly-complicated mathematics. NXT reckons it will be 18 months before its see-through speaker will make its way into products and the company plans to collaborate with screen manufacturers to perfect the technique. NXT claims that no other loudspeaker technology, typically involving bulky enclosures or complicated sandwich laminates, will ever be able to compete with SoundVu. Apart from other advantages, NXT says the technology could prove more efficient in its translation of electrical energy to acoustic energy and hence prolong battery life. In the long term, NXT sees the separate loudspeaker disappearing from computers but that scenario could a be a fair distance down the road, as the company’s technology is only three weeks out of the lab. Following the announcement of the news, NXT shares promptly climbed 12.6% to 485 pence.

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