Had an interesting conversation about car technology today. The discussion was quite varied, and touched on some really interesting sub-topics. So expect to see us taking a detailed look at how our cars are becoming more computerized with each successive model year – it’s a topic that deserves a continued dialog. Because let’s face it, cars and technology go together like bread and PB&J.
In the not-so-advanced technology department, I’m intrigued by what our neighbors in the great white north are doing in terms of sound technology. I’m talking about Manga International, Inc. and their new subwoofer.
First, you do remember Magna, right? They’re a huge OEM auto parts supplier, with operations spanning the globe – their operations are spread over five continents on this pale blue dot. They also made a failed bid to acquire the Saturn brand from General Motors.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – a subwoofer? Why do I care about an ugly box in my trunk or under my seats? Only this subwoofer isn’t in an ugly box in your trunk or under your seats. And speaker? Well, let’s just say Magna has taken a crystal clear look at a way of thinking – and sounding – outside of the box. And into a car’s rear window.
Dubbed AcoustiVision, Manga has demonstrated a working version of this product, that uses a normal automotive rear glass – almost, as it has been coated in both internal and external sealants – as the membrane of a subwoofer.
Sounds like a winning technology right on the surface. It ought to save money, but that’s not the only impact it has. It also means less weight in your car, lower energy consumption levels, and no increased packaging is needed to make the system work.
I must note – this is yet another example of proof that Mark Twain was one of the wisest of all time. When he said “Name the greatest of all inventors. Accidents,” he spoke pure wisdom. This subwoofer application came as an accidental outgrowth of previous work on trying to keep low frequency noises from coming into the interior of a car.
One tasteful irony is that the same technology now not only is being used to bring low frequency noises into the interior of a car, it can also keep them from escaping the car as well. Just imagine – never having to hear the irritating booms emanating from cars sitting beside you at a stop light. Two thumbs up from me!
Magna is quick to point out a few things about AcoustiVision. They want you to know they invented it and plan on being first to market, projected for the 2015 model year. The system only produces low frequency sound, so traditional mid-range and tweeters are still required.
It will be interesting to see if automakers adopt this technology. On the surface, it sounds like one they should all be taking a serious look at. Stay tuned.