DIY – surface sound speaker

NXT-Surface-sound_moduleWe receive frequently emails from the wearable electronic community asking about speakers suitable to be integrated into garments or bags.

My first choice for doing this would be the surface sound technology from NXT which is used for the soft, magical sound in backpacks like the one from Spyder or Reebock.

NXT, the inventor of the surface sound technology uses a module called Exciter, a unit when attached to a surface excites this surface, brings it to vibrate according to the audio signal fed into the Exciter unit. This vibrations generate the sound waves through the surrounding air.

The achievable sound quality varies with the kind of material the Exciter unit is attached too and the size of the area. Larger areas will generate a richer sound than small areas. Very stiff areas will generate less low frequencies than semi stiff.

Do not expect full range HiFi sound quality but for some application this surface sound technology can create a surprising effect when integrated in unsuspecting objects like clothing or bags that contain semi hard areas made for example from EVA or cardboard material.

While is was very difficult in the past to get hands on to this Exciter modules, Parts Express, a supplier of audio, video, and speaker building components for home and professional installations offers now via their online shop NXT exciter modules under its Dayton Audio® brand.

The Surface Transducer shown in the image above is from my experience the most suitable one with legs that makes the module look like a frog. These legs offer a lot of flexibility without danger of break the unit from its attachment surface. The price for this particular model is just $3.- making it a perfect component to play around and experiment with surface sound.

Check out the other Sound Exiter modules as well as you might have different ideas and needs for your garment sound project.

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