Glass as a Speaker: The Car Audio Invention of the Century!

February 18th, 2011

No more need for subwoofers?

Every once in a while I hear an idea that makes so much sense I slap my palm against my forehead and wonder why I didn’t think of it first.

Today that idea comes from Magna International, the Canadian auto parts supplier that attempted to acquire the Saturn brand from General Motors. While it didn’t succeed in that endeavor, the company just might change the way car audio works.

Magna has just launched a new technology that transforms your back window into a subwoofer. It’s such a crazy idea that it just might work…

The new technology, which Magna calls AcoustiVision, uses a vehicle’s rear glass to create an in-car subwoofer. Two exciters are placed at the base of the window and are fed by a trunk-mounted amplifier that boosts the stereo signal from 12 volts to 200. The rear glass, which has a sealant that allows it to vibrate up and down with the throbbing bass, acts as the membrane of the speaker. Cool, huh?

The rear window as a subwoofer?

Magna product director Greg Rizzo says,

It is a whole new way to generate sound in a car. There are still tweeters up front but the glass replaces a big subwoofer in the trunk.

Yeah, it sounds directly out of a high-concept futuristic car, but the technology could have a real place in the automotive world very soon. AcoustiVision can cut vehicle weight since it eliminates the need for a bulky subwoofer and the system uses less energy than a conventional speaker.

In addition to acting as an audio speaker, the glass provides noise cancellation so music isn’t audible outside the cabin. Are you kidding? A life without pounding bass coming from the teen in the Acura Integra next to me? Screw electronic traction control, make AcoustiVision required equipment on all cars!

Since Magna’s technology is easily adaptable to almost any vehicle, it will surely land many lucrative contracts with automakers across the world. The technology could be ready for production within four years.

Should music loud enough to be heard outside a car’s cabin be outlawed?

-tgriffith

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