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H2020

MOON-MEMS speaker Report Summary

Project ID: 735980

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOON-MEMS speaker (Development of the most advanced audio systems enabling the production of a revolutionarygeneration of MEMS micro speakers that will be deployed in the world's top mobile applications)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Players in the highly competitive Micro Electronic-Acoustics market face the global challenge of a constantly rising number of users of smartphones, tablets and smart ear-worn devices with an increasing demand for improved sound quality, miniaturization, low power consumption and low power distortion. Thus, future devices will need to be as small as possible thereby delivering more and more functions to satisfy customer needs. The Austrian start-up company USound addresses these needs by developing a cutting-edge piezoelectric MEMS technology with the purpose to provide Micro Electronic-Acoustic devices that will expand the functionalities of earphones and headphones and will provide exceptional audio performances improving the customer experience well beyond the limits of the current technology. With its outstanding technology, which is the result of a close cooperation between European scientific partners delivering basic research and European industry partners delivering application knowhow, USound will have the opportunity to take over a leading role in the field of MEMS technology for the global Micro Electronic-Acoustics market, thereby building up unique know-how protected by patents and fostering Europe’s position as a high class R&D location, creating new jobs and ensuring competitiveness towards competition from the US and Asian markets. The overall objectives of USound are to bring to market components for audio devices that deliver the following USPs:
• Smaller form factor allowing optimized miniaturization of devices
• Design flexibility enabling higher integration
• Low power consumption
• Outstanding sound quality

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the SME instrument phase 1 USound has carried out a feasibility study to evaluate and confirm the potential of the portable audio market along providing a thorough and accurate analysis of the technical and economical requirements and boundaries associated with the technology platform developed by USound. The phase 1 feasibility laid out in detail the potential of USound’s audio system as well as the risks and challenges to overcome for a successful market introduction. USound was able to identify the support needed to develop the business further and the tasks that have to be performed in the next months and years.

USound has elaborated its business strategy further with a focus on its sourcing model. The findings of phase 1 have been considered in the update of USound’s business and financial plan. USound was able to broaden its business network substantially and establish new contacts to potential clients as well as engage in concrete negotiations with already confirmed pilot costumers about first projects.

To assess the technical performance USound has conducted a variety of tests to benchmark its product against commercially available high-end products. Regarding reliability and audio quality all test results are excellent and underline the high quality of the product. These achievements are extraordinary and illustrate the success of the project’s progress so far.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Since the company’s foundation in 2014 USound was able to continually grow and establish the relevant infrastructure and recruit expert staff. USound has already hired 30 people and is constantly looking for further experts in the audio field; the company expects to employ up to over 80 people in the next 3 years. USound’s business case is so convincing that the start-up company was able to fund its activities through private investors and public funding. USound is expecting first sales and substantial revenue after the project’s completion. This will allow USound to maintain the jobs established and create new jobs and take over a leading role as technology developer for the global Micro Electronic-Acoustics market. As a European company USound will support Europe’s position as a high class R&D location towards competition from the US and Asian markets.

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