Space is at a premium in a car’s passenger compartment and interior designers have to find ways to install the various features and equipment. It doesn’t help that over the years, more and more equipment has been introduced and with audio equipment, the number of speakers has increased for what used to be just two to a double-digit number. For example, a Mercedes-Maybach with a Burmester system can have up to 27 speakers.
The specialist audio system companies have been constantly advancing their technologies as well as the designs so the dimensions of speakers have become more compact, allowing them to be more easily and discreetly integrated in panels around the cabin.
However, weight is still an issue and while each speaker is not really heavy, a number of them (especially with magnets) can add weight. Ten speakers could add up to 40 kgs, although tweeters might be insignificant in this respect. And there is still the physical thickness which needs to be accommodated but this too could see a reduction in future.
Engineers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in America have now developed a loudspeaker that can turn any surface into an active audio source. About the size of a hand, it is paper-thin and weighs about as much as a coin! It will generate high-quality sound no matter what surface the film is bonded to, while using a fraction of the energy required by a traditional loudspeaker.