Sounds Of Silence Spell Success
A New Zealand company is helping a global giant suppress cabin noise in planes and the kiwi-built innovative technology will see aircraft travel become quieter and in-flight entertainment systems vastly improved.
SLAB DSP Limited, the signal processing division of Auckland research and development company, SLAB Technology, has just announced a new strategic undertaking with Matsushita Avionics Systems Corporation (MASC), the US-based avionics branch of Japanese giant MEI.. Slab DSP’s noise cancellation and surround sound systems will become part of MASC’s in-flight entertainment product offering to airlines around the world.
That technology will see aircraft travel become quieter and in-flight entertainment sound systems improve to theatre standard. It is also likely to increase SLAB Technologies’ revenues significantly.
Headsets and noise cancellation hardware launched at the WAEA conference in California last month, a premier showcase for the in-flight entertainment industry, has introduced New Zealand’s technology to the world’s leading airline managers.
The MASC alliance provides an excellent opportunity for a New Zealand company to deliver state-of-the-art technologies to a global leader in electronics, says SLAB Technology CEO Chris Lock.
“Supplying our systems to a number of major airlines will not only provide us with excellent exposure on the world stage, but will also accelerate the expansion of our technologies into multimedia, home theatre and the commercial environments.”
SLAB DSP has invested significantly in the development of its noise reduction technologies, initially creating analogue solutions but more recently investigating a variety of digital approaches. The company will complete development of its own integrated circuits by July 2001.
The motivation to develop audio product for in-flight entertainment arose initially from the presentation of SLAB’s innovative flat panel speakers at Comdex 98 in Las Vegas.
“Companies were quick to see that our speakers’ lightweight and hugely flexible construction could be adapted for aircraft use. We quickly identified an opportunity here to combine our patented transducer technology with effective active noise reduction techniques,” says Lock. “We simply didn’t have the manpower to do it at that time but since then we have invested heavily in expanding our engineering expertise to support our product development programmes.
This commercial opportunity may see several parts of SLAB DSP move to the United States to support the development and integration of the company’s technologies with MASC’s current and emerging in-flight entertainment solutions.
SLAB Technology comprises several divisions involved in developing innovative audio technologies for defence, aircraft avionics, industrial, vehicle and general consumer applications. SLAB DSP is concerned with the research, development and commercialisation of innovative and advanced signal processing technologies for audio enhancement and noise reduction.
For more information: *John Corey, Managing Director, SLAB DSP Limited, 09 827 1220 * Visit the SLAB website …www.soundlab.co.nz for photographs and technical information.
Prepared for SLAB Technology by Jan Sedgwick, Carrara Communications 09 579 7270
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