A company in California has announced the first all-silicon monolithic speaker ever devised. It is a micro-electrical-mechanical system (MEMS) device made on a chip fabrication process.Translation: it is tiny enough for ear buds, it is made on a chip fab and when ramped up it will be dirt cheap. No word on how it sounds, but would it be worse than existing earbuds? Doubtful.
The manufacturing of xMEMS' pure silicon speaker is very different to that of a conventional speaker. As the speaker is essentially just one monolithic piece manufactured via your typical lithography manufacturing process, much like how other silicon chips are designed. Due to this monolithic design aspect, the manufacturing line has significantly less complexity versus voice coil designs which have a plethora of components that need to be precision assembled – a task that is quoted to require thousands of factory workers.