ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute), Taiwan’s largest and one of the world’s leading high-tech research and development institutions, accepted the 2009 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award in Consumer Electronics Tuesday evening in San Francisco for its FleXpeaker, paper-thin flexible speaker technology, besting more than 500 companies including HP, Livescribe and Motorola. This breakthrough will allow consumer electronic products of the future to become even lighter and slimmer.
Mr. John M. Leger, the Editor of The Wall Street Journal, indicated that “FleXpeaker is a revolutionary technology. The Judges believe that this looks like a significant breakthrough in speaker design. They haven't seen anything like this before. It has many potential applications although it is too early to be commercialized. They would be happy to see a few contracts though.”
“To be recognized by an organization as prestigious and well-respected as The Wall Street Journal is a great honor,” said Yi-Jen Chan, vice president and general director of the Electronics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratories at ITRI. “I am very proud of our team who developed this groundbreaking technology and am pleased they earned such recognition.”
With support from the technology project of Taiwan’s Department of Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R&D of the paper-thin flexible speakers commenced in 2006. The team, led by Dr. Chan, devised a way to create arrays of tiny, bendable speakers that can be combined to produce high-fidelity speaker systems of almost any size using standard printing, making it the world’s thinnest, lightest and most flexible speaker. This technology will effectively reduce the price of speakers and is an effective, adaptable solution, for wired and wireless products alike, with extensive and enormous potential across a wide range of industries.
Because FleXpeaker is flexible in size, lightweight and consumes little power, this disruptive technology can be used in car audio systems, flat-screen televisions, thin-sheet MP3 innovative applications, advertising (such as on billboards and in shopping malls) and public announcement systems in locations such as train stations. Additionally, it can be integrated into and extended to energy-saving buildings, electric vehicles, and entertainment and medical applications. Through special integration technology, FleXpeaker can also be incorporated into wearable clothing and consumer packaging, and can be cut with scissors into any shape.
In its 9th year, the 2009 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards received more than 500 entries spanning 12 categories, 180 of which were sent to a team of 16 judges from research institutions, venture-capital firms, and experts and scholars from other reputed companies. Judges were instructed to consider the technology’s application, commercialization and market potential in addition to its innovation. The award winners were pre-announced on September 14 and were honored at a ceremony and dinner on October 13 in San Francisco.