Fostex Company has prototyped a vibration speaker system that uses tabletops and other such surfaces on which it is placed, instead of diaphragms, to render sound. The company aims to launch it onto the market in the first half of 2006. The prototype was presented at the company's booth at "the International Broadcast Equipment Exhibition (Inter BEE) 2005" being held at Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan, from November 16, 2005.
The cone-shaped speaker system is 95 mm in diameter and 90 mm high. It features an actuator using a super magnetostrictor that extends and shrinks in line with magnetic field changes. The actuator converts input sound into the vibration and conveys it to the tabletop thus rendering sound. To ensure the conveyance of vibration, the system itself is as heavy as 1.8 kg. TDK Corp. developed the super magnetostrictor used in this prototype.
Excluding some materials including glass and concrete, this system can use any material as an audio speaker. Since sound is heard from the whole tabletop the system is on, it gives listeners a strange feeling that they are "unable to specify where the sound comes from." Fostex will initially target "background music speakers for personal use" (Junichi Kondo, Sales Department, Fostex) as the key application, planning to commercialize the system within the first six months of 2006. The company is also considering broadening the application to background music speakers for use at shops.
Takeyoshi Yamada, Nikkei Electronics