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October 10, 1999

NXT Signs Ericsson, Predicts End to Traditional Loudspeakers

By CBR Staff Writer

A small UK company has forecast that its technology will bring an end to the traditional box-type loudspeaker and it forecasts that before long we will look back on the current mostly silent internet in the same way that we look back on the silent movie era. London, UK-based NXT Plc has just added mobile phone company LM Ericsson Telefon AB to its 139 worldwide licensees for a revolutionary technology that enables flat surfaces such as computer or mobile phone screens to double as loudspeakers and transmit stereophonic sound.

NXT made its name with flat loudspeakers for the audio industry. But such is the company’s ambitions that chairman Farad Azima now questions the long-term survival, other than in limited applications, of the conventional box loudspeaker. As its technology develops, NXT claims it will surpass the cost/performance ratios of conventional loudspeakers and outperform them in terms of high fidelity. To work on a see-through screen with its SoundVu technology, NXT had to devise a way to the position the exciter – which causes the surface to vibrate, creating sound – at the edge of the screen.

While NXT says that it has been granted 400 of the 1,000 worldwide patents it has filed, the company says that it has revived interest in flat loudspeakers, judging by new patent applications from companies such as Sony. But NXT says that it is not aware on any new invention comparable with its own.

With cost and power advantages over traditional technology, NXT sees a huge opportunity as sound becomes a significant force on the internet and in rapidly-expanding new fields, such as voice activated devices in automobiles.

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