Sunday, November 1, 2009

ITRI paper-thin flexible loudspeaker won Wall Street Journal's Technology Innovation Awards

The Wall Street Journal announced the winners of its 2009 global Technology Innovation Awards on September 14. Taiwan’s ITRI, which paper-thin flexible loudspeaker (fleXpeaker) technology project was supported by Ministry of Economic Affairs, won in the consumer-electronics category. ITRI stood out from over 500 first rate competitors across the world, beating internationally-reputed conglomerates including HP, Livescribe, Motorola, etc. and carried back the grand award.
This is the first time Taiwan’s technology won recognition in research and development from the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal points out “Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute, or ITRI, won in the consumer-electronics category for its work developing a paper-thin, flexible speaker. Researchers at ITRI, devised a way to create arrays of tiny speaker that can be combined to produce high-fidelity speaker systems of almost any size. Because the FleXpeaker is lightweight and consumes little power, it could be attractive for use in cellphones or in car sound systems. Other possible applications include giant banners that could be used to deliver public-service announcements in train stations or advertising messages in shopping malls. ITRI is seeking to license the technology or create a spinoff company to commercialize the product.”
The Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards has all along been highly acclaimed internationally. Since its commencement in 2001, this year is its 9th annual award and there have been numerous competitors every year. At this annual award, 16 judges came from various nations from across the world including reputed research institutes of various fields, joint venture companies and experts and scholars of reputed enterprises. The award not only stresses innovation of technology itself, but also application and commercialization and market potential which are indices of extreme importance for the examination board. Like the low-price automobile of India’s Tata Motors selected by Wall Street Journal and widely acclaimed on the market 2 years later after its debut.
ITRI President Dr. Johnsee Lee says, “ITRI commenced with R&D of the paper-thin flexible loudspeaker in 2006 through the team led by General Director Dr. Yi-Jen Chan in Electronic & Optoelectronic Research Laboratories. Presently, ITRI has applied for 45 global patents for its 17 projects. Applications for this technology are rather extensive and with enormous industry potential. Aside from currently using in family stereo automobile hi-fi equipment, it can also be used in earphone or for industrial anti-noise purpose. The papers of this technology have been published at the largest display exhibition in the world—the US Display Consortium (USDC), the Society For Information Display (SID), and also adopted by the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America in 2009.”
The paper-thin flexible loudspeaker utilized paper and metal layer as the material and printing for production. It will pioneer a new era in speakers and the electronic sound industry. Aside from upgrading traditional speaker industry, it can be extended to the revolutionary Memo card, thin-sheet MP3 innovative applications, and can be integrated into energy-saving buildings, electric vehicle, entertainment and medical application. Coupled with the needs of humanized, mobilized and personalized for daily living, it will also bring along with new type of technology products. In recent years, ITRI has successively been affirmed internationally for its innovative R&D and application capability.
The Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovation Awards is the third international award won by ITRI in 2009. Earlier this year, ITRI also won the R&D 100 awards for its high safety STOBA lithium battery. The innovative material STOBA can effectively enhance the safety of the lithium battery and massively reduced of the explosion rate of lithium battery. It is the only technology in the world which fundamentally resolved safety of the lithium battery from the material end. Furthermore, this year’s international industrial design award—the Red Dot Best Design Award was also won by the innovative application Portable Broadcast developed from the paper-thin flexible loudspeaker (refer to the attached photo). Now the same technology has won the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards.


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