Andrea Rusconi Clerici is Co-founder and CTO of USound GmbH, a pioneer in designing a new loudspeaker technology based in MEMS.
Rusconi has 20 years of experience in the MEMS industry involved in technology R&D, product design, manufacturing engineering, and operations, ranging from new technology IP development to mass production. He has experience in research at the Fraunhofer Institute, STMicroelectronics, Maxim Integrated and Sensordynamics. In 2014, he founded USound together with Ferruccio Bottoni and Jörg Schönbacher and, with a team of exceptional engineers, designed the first MEMS speaker in the market. In 2019, USound launched its first product to the market, audio glasses, under the brand Fauna Audio GmbH.
MEMS Speakers – Technology, Challenges and Applications
At USound we are aiming to disrupt the audio industry by developing a speaker technology that will enable radical innovation in next-generation portable audio products. Despite in the last decades the consumer electronics industry has been able to shrink and digitize most components and functions, the speakers are still bulky, heavy, and difficult to integrate; we are challenging the status quo by developing and commercializing a radically new generation of Micro Speakers based on Silicon. Audio is a key function in consumer electronics and the essential building blocks of audio systems are facing key technology and integration challenges to meet the new market requirements in the era of the virtual assistants and the Metaverse. Compared to legacy voice coil technologies, MEMS speakers are a perfect fit because of their thin form factor, light weight, low power consumption, scalability and hardware integrability (SMT); these are the same key advantages at the core of MEMS microphones overwhelming market success. MEMS speakers are well suited for in-ear headphones in both full range or tweeter configurations; for wearables like Smart Glasses and TWS; for array arrangement in Smart Speakers; for 3D sound array arrangement in Headphones and Cars. This is possible thanks to the availability of piezo thin films on silicon that allow for the design of large force, large displacement, linear actuators. In particular, PZT can generate enough energy per unit area and thus mechanical force and elongation to compete with voice coil transducers; the MEMS motor is realized on silicon using multiple piezoelectric actuators connected together to realize a precise vertical out-of-plane movement. The piezo linear motor is faster and more precise than traditional technology, this in the case of earphones produces deep and precise bass and crisp and clear treble with a single, very small transducer.
USound is a fabless audio company offering high-performance silicon speakers and high-quality sound solutions based on MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology. It is our vision to inspire music enthusiasts and acoustic professionals with crisp, natural sound for a fantastic hearing experience. With our headquarters in Graz and Vienna (Austria), as well as an office in Shenzhen, we serve international customers, enabling them to create smart audio applications with our MEMS speakers. Our products are smart components designed to fit seamlessly into earphones, headphones, hearables, wearables, and smartphones. Our micro speakers are power-management friendly and programmable for the best efficiency in a wide range of working conditions. We imagine a future where speakers and microphones are connected together into smart audio systems. With the introduction of innovative MEMS technology, we are setting new standards in terms of audio experience and low power consumption.
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